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Drug Indulgences

CHAPTER XLV

   The prevalent habit of drug taking is a potent cause of disease. Not only do drugs cause disease, but their use causes a neglect of the primary causes of disease. Hygienists have, to use the words of Dr. G. H. Taylor, all along questioned "the morality of even attempting to annul or obscure the penalties of wrong-doing." How, other than by their consequences, are we impelled to correct the causes of suffering? The first instinct, even of the most stupid, when pain is felt, is to avoid it by avoiding its cause; but if we can cure it or annul the consequence of our wrong actions, there is no lesson taught, no need to avoid cause. We partake of a seductive sweet, unconscious, it may be, that concealed within the sugar-coating is a deadly poison. "This, then, is medicine," said Taylor, "a savior from the consequences of sin--conveying implied immunity by accepting its grace, and receiving a professional benediction."

   Let us consider this matter rationally. Disease is the legitimate result of false living. If a man eats a third more food each day than he needs, secures inadequate sleep, smokes tobacco habitually, drinks beer or soft drinks or coffee regularly, omits to take even moderate exercise in the open air--if such a man becomes sick, as he surely will eventually, what number and kinds of drugs will it be necessary for him to take in order to get well while continuing these same habits? Yet this is the precise state of things that regularly exists--man is taught that he can continually violate all the laws of his being and drugs will restore him to health in spite of his violations.

   When pepsin was first employed, it was presented to the public as an antidote to "excesses in eating and the too free use of ardent spirits. It almost reconciles," it was said, "health with intemperance." In 1855 one patent medicine man who promoted pepsin as a sure-cure for digestive troubles advertised that the people could eat and drink whatever they desired and yet could safely and cheaply escape the consequences of their mistakes by taking pepsin. His was a direct invitation to gluttony and intemperance. Today's gluttons and topers can rely upon Alkaseltzer for the same services. Such offers to sell indulgences to the sot and epicure is very pleasing to those who want to live riotous lives.

   Organs not functionally used lose their functioning powers--hence the mischievousness of substituting gland extracts for the normal secretions of the patient's own glands. When pepsin is administered to digestive cripples, their own pepsin-secreting glands cease to function. But we cannot dispense with their services. If the gastric juice can be profitably dispensed with, would it not probably prove even more desirable to dispense entirely with the services of the digestive system?

   Instead of teaching moderation in eating, temperance in all normal things, abstinence from all intoxicating liquors and obedience to the laws of life, the knavish profit-gathers preach (by inference, if not overtly) all manners of dissipations and licentious indulgences, the consequences of which can all be prevented or erased by paying a few dollars for drugs.

   G. W. Arnold, M.D., entered the College of Hygeo-Therapy and graduated therefrom. In his paper, read at the graduation exercises upon the occasion of his own graduation, he said: "Ignorant of the physiology and laws of their being, they (the people) trample upon and trangress them, and being overtaken with the penalty, they cast themselves into the hands of the physician with the ignorant confidence in his power to absolve them from physical sin. . ."

   The physician's pretense that he can absolve man from the effects of transgressions of natural law and issue him exemption from all harm, while the law breaking is continued, merely by a few cabalistic characters which he inscribes upon a piece of paper, to be taken to the apothecary shop to be exchanged for a bottle of poison which, "when taken, must be well shaken," is too absurd even for the most gullible to swallow. These deeds of absolution will not be accepted by nature.

   Just as far as the physician and his remedies tend to lead the patient to think that he and his remedy can relieve him of all obligation to respect the laws of life, inasmuch as he affirms that for the results of his violations science has provided a specific remedy, he and his remedies are enemies of mankind. It should take the intelligent and thoughtful man but a moment's reflection to realize that in the very nature of the case no specific remedy can be provided and that this belief in specifics is but another phase of the general delusion under which mankind now labors in respect to the laws of life.

   The profession long taught that its medicines had specific relations to the diseases of man. Perhaps homeopaths were louder in proclaiming this delusion than were allopaths. Because of this alleged specific relation to disease, poisons could be used as specific remedies.

   It is so stupid to believe that against all the penalties that are attached to violations of the laws of life, a specific can be found, that it is remarkable that the delusion has held mankind in slavery for so long; for the idea, when reduced to its essence, is simply this: a drug can be found that will set aside the law of cause and effect and thus erase the natural consequences of our actions. If we think again of the act of putting our hand into the fire, we know that we get burned at once--right then and there. The consequence is not later; it is not dependent upon some third thing, but is inherent in and concurrent with the act. How, then, can we find a specific to remedy the burning? But if we cannot find a specific that will remedy the burning, can we logically expect to discover a specific that will remedy the results of any other violation of the laws and conditions of life?

   It is like shaking one's fist in the face of law and order. It is like remedying the tire following work or exercise while we continue the activity. It is like trying to restore potency to the sensualist while he continues to practice excessive venery. It is like trying to sober up a drunk man while he continues to drink. If one develops colic from gorging at meals, all one needs to do is swallow a specific. Then one may gorge again. Instead of permitting his patient to fast, the physician will insist upon him eating and smothering the resulting discomforts with his drugs.

   Just in proportion to the strength with which we believe in the power of specifics to relieve us of the results of our violations of the laws of life are we, in our own minds, relieved of all obligation to obey the laws of being. In morals we would regard such a philosophy as sublimated Devilism. Why, in the sphere of health and disease, do we regard it so highly?

   So far as knowledge extends, medicine makes no effort to remove the cause of disease, but vainly endeavors to cure effects while cause remains. An excellent statement of this fact was made by Alva Curtis, M.D., the leading light of the physio-medicalists, who contended that it is well known that the world would never obey the laws of life and that "they will need, and God has certainly provided for their cure, other remedies . . . ," by which he meant herbal remedies. This means that God himself, knowing that man would not behave himself, provided in advance means for man to escape the consequences of his misbehavior.

   Well did Trall say: "There is nothing so absurd in relation to food, drink or medicine that, a physician may not advocate. Indeed, the medical profession is chargeable with the prevailing errors on these subjects. The ordinary habits of the people, which are inducing their diseases, hurrying them to their graves and deteriorating the race, are but the practical doctrines of the medical schools."

 


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