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Writing in June 1861, Dr. M. Augusta Fairchild said: "The Hygienic physician will labor in the cause, even if starvation stares him in the face." She says that when she left college, it was her "determination to teach and practice hygienic truth, let the results be what they would ... such is the beauty, the adaptations of the hygienic practice to the organic needs of the people . . . we will undoubtedly triumph over obstacles which cause other physicians to stumble and fall."
There are Hygienists and "hygienists." We put the latter group in quotation marks because we name them in mockery. They may and may not be learned in their respective professions and callings and successful or not in their businesses, but they lack any genuine understanding of the basic principles of Hygiene and the all-sufficiency of its practices. To use a description long employed to set apart the pseudo from the genuine article, they are "jackasses posing as owls" in the Hygienic movement. Mouthing phrases they do not understand and parading a learning they do not possess, they are a serious threat to the uninformed neophyte who enters the movement in all good faith and is seeking diligently for an understanding of its principles and practices. They do the movement more harm than good, usually removing themselves from the current of Hygiene in time to avoid being thrown overboard to the fishes.
Whoever aspires to become expert in the art of preserving or restoring health should empty his mind, as far as possible, of all preconceived notions and be prepared to enter upon a study of Hygienic truth with as little bias and prejudice as possible. All men and all systems of thought find their level; for, after their kind, things tend to a common center. The practitioner who is ruled by a reluctance to commit himself unambiguously to a Hygienic practice, either as a practitioner or as a man, has no place in the Hygienic movement. Unfortunately, there are those who call themselves Hygienists when they are not. It is impossible to make them so without robbing the movement of all that is valuable. Men who, on cardinal points, are apart and not together (however cunning the bonds of association which seem to fraternize them while they are thus apart), are inadequate to bring opposing systems together, even seemingly, without sacrificing the truths of Hygiene enough to give the pseudo-Hygienists a decided advantage. Truth and error cannot compromise without truth losing and taking all the loss and error receiving all the gain.
The effort has been made from the beginning to clutter up Hygiene by mixing it with the various forms of therapeutics. Trall repeatedly referred to those who sought to combine the methods of Hygiene with those of the regular schools of drugging as mongrels and said that many such "have appeared upon the stage of action, made a brief flourish, and disappeared again, to be known no more forever." It is characteristic of such adventurers that they always parade lustily for a "rational medicine." They are opposed to all extremes. They are in favor of Hygiene considerably and drugs occasionally. They believe in using Hygiene whenever it will best agree with the constitutions of their patients, as they understand constitutions, and druggery when this would agree best. In this they are eclectics.
They do not believe in Hygiene. In fact, they cannot have faith in it, for they do not know what it is. They never dreamed that there is a true philosophy in it and a complete and consistent system about it, ample and universal, including all the truly useful means and conditions in existence.
We have had many of these rational Hygienists today who have sought to combine Hygiene with the various schools of practice that now exist but now, as in Trall's day, they have not survived. We may see, as Trall said, all over the country, so far as our information extends, a heavy mortality prevails among them. We cannot name one who has, before the public, a position of respect or influence, nor who is doing the least thing toward enlightening the people on the great subject of health, nor who is not manifestly in a rapid decline. We predict that it will not be many years before the people will very generally reach the conclusion, not only that the most rational Hygiene is that which has the least to do with drug poisons, under the misnomer of medicines, but which also has the least to do with non-drug therapeutics.
Hygiene cannot accept any mish-mash of conflicting theories and therapeutic modalities. Nor shall the Hygienic Arab permit the nose of the camel of therapeutics to be sheltered in his tent, lest he find himself out in the storm and the camel occupying the tent. If we do not make that first step into therapeutics, we will not be compelled to make that thousand mile journey to the abyss into which all therapeutic systems are ultimately dumped.
Either the principles that underlie Hygiene are correct and we should adhere to them, else they are false and we should abandon them. There can be no middle ground here. It is not possible, for example, for the principles and practices of Hygiene to be true and those of hydropathy to also be true. If the etiological hypothesis that underlies the "adjusting" practices of chiropractic is true, Hygiene is false and its principles are the merest illusions. The man who is so devoid of reasoning power that he fails to comprehend that there can be no such thing as two correct systems of care, these necessarily based on different and antagonistic principles, is like a weather-cock--unstable and carried about by every wind of doctrine. Two systems, antagonistic to each other, cannot both be based on correct principles.
As Hygienists, we should refrain from supporting all methods, measures and movements that tend to take the cause of Hygiene off its feet by maiming it. We should be radical, not rational Hygienists, not eclectics searching among the therapeutic devices of the schools of healing for adjuncts to our Hygiene.
It is admittedly true that many who consider themselves Hygienists take over some of the practices of the killing arts of the so-called schools of healing in order to secure popularity and greater incomes.
They argue that there is not virtue enough in Hygiene to insure financial success, but it is our humble opinion that the lack of virtue is in these Hygienists and not in Hygiene. The fault lies, not with the Hygienic System, but with those who forsake its principles--if they ever properly embraced them. One who compromises with error is not for but against us. The Hygienist can never rise above the excellence which belongs to his calling; he cannot rise above the innate dignity that springs from it.
It is a common error that radical Hygienists cannot secure favor and patronage; hence, the unstable seek a refuge in therapeutics. Various modalities suit a weak-minded practitioner and, as a natural consequence, pseudo-Hygienists desert our cause for something more suitable to their mental capacity. Writing in the Journal, November 1859, of the system of Hygienic medication and of the employment of Hygienic agencies, Trall said: "We assume that our system is true; that, being true, all persons who understand it will believe in it; and that any person who does not believe it, wholly and exclusively, does not understand it. The person, be he layman or physician, who says he believes a great deal in hygeio-therapy, and yet believes that a little medicine is necessary sometimes, is perfectly and profoundly ignorant of the philosophy, the rationale, and even the fundamental premises of hygienic medication. No such person can even state what its principles are."
Trall further says: "Many physicians and many hydropaths who also employ drugs have become convinced that the whole system of poisoning, from Alpha to Omega, is wrong. 'But,' they say, 'the people demand medicine. We know that hygienic appliances, without anything in the shape of a drug, are best in all cases. But if we tell people so, they will not employ us. They will send for a physician who will give drugs."'
"Such reasoning," said Trall, "is conclusive with the majority as human nature is now constituted. It is the sordid argument of the opium dealer, the infernal reasonings of the rum seller, the damnable logic of the tobacco-trader. It is a conscience salve of the peculating demagogue who says: 'The public is a goose; if I do not pluck its feathers, somebody else will.' It is the conclusion of the robber, whose creed is every man for himself, so that he keeps out of the halter."
When a medical man, a chiropractor, a spiritual healer or other cure-monger, undertakes to say that Hygiene is not adapted to certain constitutions, and that drugs or some form of therapeutics are best adapted to some persons or to some diseases, we say in reply that he or she knows very little about the Hygienic System. We do not hesitate to say that we consider him or her as either an ignoramus or a humbug.
Institutions have sprung up all through the years offering to provide the sick with Hygienic care that were and are such in name only. The heads of these institutions have not been and are not Hygienists and their institutions do not deserve the name, because they do not illustrate the principles of genuine Hygiene. They do not put themselves into harmony with it; they do not yield themselves gratefully and with full understanding of and confidence in Hygiene. They do not believe in Hygiene enough to live by it, to stand by it and to rely upon it. Belief in Hygiene is the life of Hygiene. They do not give themselves up to Hygiene and are not controlled by it. In mapping out their course of action, the pseudo-Hygienists follow a course exactly the contrary of that pursued by the genuine Hygienist. Only if the man reflects Hygiene in all that he does and there are no half-way measures and no compromises, is he worthy of the designation, Hygienist. The disciples of Hygiene must wear its badge. They must be marked men and women who have a home within its precincts and feel, in their principles and means of care, both of the well and the sick, confidence and enthusiasm.
All great revolutions (and Hygiene is the greatest revolution in human history) have been beset by these same types of conservatives, who seek to take care of the new idea and save it from destruction. They pose as wise friends, who seek to save the new movement from the destructiveness of extremism. They are afraid of extremes. They do not know that TRUTH is as much at home on the border of her empire as at its heart. Her empire ends only at the line of demarcation between truth and fallacy. It is not at the heart of the empire of truth, but at its extremes that the egg is laid that hatches into treason. Truth does not live on or between extremes, but in or at extremes.
It is a misnomer to call a journal Hygienic that is organized and published to advocate therapeutics in any form. It is a misnomer to call an institution Hygienic that is conducted on therapeutic principles and administers therapeutic modalities. It is a misnomer to call a man a Hygienist if he practices any mode of therapeutics. These things are more than misnomers--they are hypocritical. It is like "stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in" to take the name of a system of mind-body care, that is doing so much good and growing so rapidly in popularity and that is bettering the lives of people everywhere, and use it for the purpose of covering up and glossing over a system that is incompatible with it.
Professionally, the eclectic is everywhere and nowhere; he is everything by turns and nothing long. These half-and-half copies of Hygienists are not always agreed in regards to the merits of the curative measures that should be brought along from the practices of the cure-mongering schools--whether herbs, chemical drugs, vitamins, chiropractic, hypnotism, spiritual healing, or other "aids to nature."
As we understand the various medical sects, no one of the multitudinous variety of medical isms contains sufficient truth to cement it into a system, much less to assure its permanence. They are all transient, yet serve a purpose, either in exposing the weakness of other isms or of revealing the folly of the whole curing practice.
In justice to Hygiene, those practitioners who are only half converted and who wish, whatever their reasons therefor, to employ the therapeutic modalities of their school, should not call themselves Hygienists. As the Hygienic revolution incorporates within it vitalities sufficient to make it independent of the schools of medicine, it is only fair that we demand of those who wear its mantle and set themselves up as its disciples, that they should separate themselves from the schools of curing and hold unquiveringly the Hygienic standard to the breeze. A radical system, like Hygiene, must have this course on the part of its standard-bearers or be lost. There can be no standing still for the Hygienist. If he advances far enough to attain his doctorate, he must continue to advance if he would be true to himself and to Hygiene.
The man who insists upon practicing some of the so-called healing arts should take his proper place with the school of healing whose arts he employs and should not call himself a Hygienist. As a Hygienist, he is sailing under false colors. Drugs and Hygiene! Poison and wholesomeness! Filth and purity! Destruction and conservation! Health and disease in co-partnership! Is it not laughable, the complacency that can combine the two in practice and call the practice Hygiene?
What can we expect of the poor suffering patient, when told by the professed Hygienist, that by the use of drugs or by the aid of some drugless modality, he hopes and expects to make Hygiene more effective or to lend it much needed assistance? Certainly, he will think that there must be some inherent deficiency in Hygiene that can be supplied only by drugs or by treatments. He must conclude that, while Hygiene is good, by itself it is not good enough. As all the forces of his past education have been on the side of drugs and treatments and against Hygiene, it is almost inevitable that this shall be his conclusion. Let such a patient recover health under the hygeio-druggist and go abroad and in a subsequent illness he will turn to drugs as naturally as he takes food when he is hungry.
The practitioner who thinks that his treatments, whether they are drugs or physical measures, and Hygiene are natural allies, and who, in contemplating results, raises the very natural questions-whether the Hygiene or the treatments aid the patient, or whether both operate conjointly, Hygienically and harmoniously, or whether the patient gets well in virtue of the treatment despite the Hygiene, or, lastly, whether the patient gets well in virtue of the Hygiene in spite of the treatmentis unable to provide a satisfactory answer to such questions. Practices that are all too easily rationalized or dismissed, or even turned inside out, emerging as ends in themselves, can have no appeal to the intelligent man.
We can imagine no worse evil to imperil the whole system of Natural Hygiene than an alliance with some of the treating systems. Between one system of treatment and another there is about the same difference as that between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They are all antagonistic to life, all violate the laws of life, all are diametrically opposite to Hygienic principles--the delusion is a very strange one that the combination of Hygiene with the treating systems will benefit Hygiene. Those who entertain this delusion have not made an acquaintance with the first principle nor the first letter of the alphabet of the system of Hygiene.
We believe it utterly impossible for any man to make sense and consistency the predominating qualities of his work when his leading idea is to reconcile the unreconcilable. Like all those who propose wrong practices without a knowledge of right principles, he endeavors to compromise wherever he can find a safe position. These pseudo-Hygienists cannot believe in Hygiene because they do not know what it is and do not understand it. They do not dream that it is a complete and consistent system with principles of its own, which principles are true; that it is ample and universal in its application and includes all the truly remedial appliances in the world. They are likely to accuse us of being too radical and too dogmatic about Hygienic fundamentals. Count us as happy to be counted in the ranks of genuine Hygienists. We fear an emasculated Hygiene almost as much as we fear the lighter forms of drugging.
Outstanding among the pseudo-Hygienists was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek fame. Almost immediately after graduating from the Hygeio-Therapeutic College, where he also taught chemistry, Kellogg assumed editorship of the Health Reformer and became medical director of the institution founded by the Whites in Battle Creek for the Hygienic care of the sick. Mr. and Mrs. White, who also founded the Adventist Church, had learned their Hygiene from Graham, Trall and Jackson. Trall was a regular contributor to the Health Reformer. Before making it known that he had become editor of the Health Reformer, Kellogg challenged Trall to a discussion of a minor issue. Accepting the challenge, Trall threshed the daylights out of Kellogg and was repaid for his trouble by being denounced as too radical and excluded from the pages of the Health Reformer.
Kellogg subsequently graduated from an allopathic school of medicine, repudiated his degree from the Hygeio-Therapeutic College, saying that he never wanted it anyway (a fact which did not prevent him from accepting it), and went his own way with what he called "rational medicine." With the support of the Adventist Church, he built the little institution founded by Mr. and Mrs. White into a large institution of world-renown, at the same time, slowly leading the Adventists away from Hygiene. The name of the Health Reformer was changed to Good Health and continued to be published well into this century with Kellogg as its editor. It continued to carry on its mast-head the legend that it was a Hygienic publication, but it deviated severely from the primary principles of Hygiene. All of this desertion of Hygiene and devotion to hydropathy with the administering of some drugging was an effort on the part of Kellogg to get the favor of the medical profession.
Like all those who pretend to reconcile drug treatment with Hygienic care, and the care of the sick with and without drugs at the same time, he used a medley of inconsistencies. Kellogg was an intelligent man, much too enlightened, I think, not to have perceived the contradictions in his own presentation of the case for drugs. One can only wonder how he reconciled in his own mind his compromises and expediencies.
It is axiomatic that reform and compromise are due to outright reaction and even to betrayal. If and when Hygienists become "good fellows" and seek by compromise and piece-meal reform to woo the forces of medicine (of whatever school), they are certain to become hopelessly embroiled in medical issues and problems and in the therapeutic and practical contradictions of medicine generally. The problems of the medical profession will become theirs and those of the Hygienists and of the people will be shoved into the background. Sooner or later the Hygienist reformer will become either an out-and-out medical man or will wear himself out trying to make the medical profession reform itself for the benefit of its patients.
Almost from its origin there have been eclectics in the medical profession. As the various schools of medicine arose and competed with each other for popular favor and acceptance, there were men who advocated selecting the best from each system. Lacking any valid principles to guide them in their selection, the selections of different men differed greatly. What one man selected as the best in a system, another man totally rejected. What one man regarded as good, another man regarded as bad. As there was no good in any of the medical systems, there was really no best to select.
In his Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare says that between rotten apples there is little to choose. The same principle is true when we attempt to choose between the different systems of medicine that have risen and flourished during the past 2,500 years. As most of these schools of healing have already passed to oblivion, we have no choice to make so far as they are concerned. In this country, at present, there may be a bagatelle of eclectic physicians still in practice; but their schools are all closed and no new eclectic physicians are being turned out. The same facts are true of the homeopaths, so far as this country is concerned. We have left only the allopathic or self-styled scientific school and an aggregation of herbalists, who struggle to keep alive the ancient practice of dosing the sick with what they call "natural medicines." In addition to these drugging practices, there are a number of schools that are more or less drugless, such as the osteopaths, the mechano-therapists, the chiropractors, the naturopaths, the naprapaths and the physio-therapists.
These schools of practice are all based on different principles or theoretical foundations and their practices are as wide apart as their foundations. It is impossible that any two of them shall be right. If one of them is right, all the others must be wrong. Any selecting that is done will simply mean a muddying of the waters. Instead of fortifying the school that borrows from the other school, its principles are compromised, its practices confused and its practitioners stultified.
Lacking any valid principle to guide him in his choice of the "best" in all systems, the eclectic is forced to rely upon what he calls his experience. He merely accepts from the other systems certain elements which appeal to his imagination or to his intelligence and adopts them in his practice. If they do not kill his patients, his experience convinces him that they are good and that he has made wise choices. Eclectics have been relying upon their experience ever since the first eclectic began the practice and their choosings have been as varied, as contradictory and as confusing as anything can conceivably be. Experience has proved to be a very unreliable guide.
Popularly it is accepted as a fact that the utility of any mode of caring for the sick is shown by its results. But results very obscurely indicate the value of the mode of treatment. In such a test, the varying powers of the living system, upon which the whole result depends, are never taken into account. By this test, all kinds of treatments have been shown to be highly efficacious--the properties of medicines and the properties of the living system have been confounded. The seeming has not been distinguished from the reality. The apparent and superficial occupy, in popular estimation, the place of the true and demonstrable; hence, the contendings of medical men about the value of valueless nostrums is interminable and the people join in the unprofitable wrangling.
Was not Trall right when he declared that man's experience "is not worth a straw. A man's experience tells him what he likes best, and this is always what his appetites have been most accustomed to, not what is best for him." No man's experience is worth anything if it conflicts with known principles. Unless interpreted in the light of correct principles, experience may be a very misleading guide. Experience is simply a groping in the dark--a feeling our way over obscure paths or trackless wildernesses, and wither she has led us, history has partially recorded. Not until correct principles strip the mists from our eyes and interpret our experiences can knowledge become systematic and reliable.
We do not want to be understood as disparaging the importance of human experience. It is the ultimate measure of truth, the basis of human knowledge, and yet it is valuable only when tested in the light of truth already established. Experience has been the recourse of the ignorant in all ages and every absurdity within the imagination of man has been practiced in obedience to its teachings. Experience teaches men that their bad habits do not hurt them, even that they are means of preserving health and prolonging life. Experience, except when interpreted in the light of sound principles, has always proved itself an idle tale and utterly untrustworthy. In its name every conceivable falsehood has been propagated, and under its guidance almost every woe that afflicts humanity has been practiced. Principles, on the other hand, are the keys to universal knowledge and, consequently, of universal power.
It is commonly contended that the experience of an educated man is entirely safe. We suggest that this depends upon the kind of education he has received. No man is so confirmed in falsehood as he who has been educated into it; no experience is so unreliable as that of the man who has been educated to falsely interpret that experience. Instead of a man's judgment being safe because of having been educated in medical wisdom, it is all the more unsafe on this subject because of his education. Nothing perverts the judgment like a false education and that medical education is largely education in fallacy is proved by the uncertainties and changeability of the system. It is forever changing its practices and modifying its theories. What was considered superlative wisdom yesterday is denounced today as false and absurd. What is now held to be absolutely curative is being daily proved to be just as certainly destructive.
An excellent example of what happens when systems are indiscriminately mixed is provided by the debacle that the "nature cure" system finds itself in all over the world today. At its origin, naturopathy possessed a few Hygienic principles and practices. Its present plight is the result of having repudiated these principles and of having assumed the despicable role of Mr. Looking-both-ways. It has just about selected and compromised itself out of existence. Its practitioners are all medically orientated; its lay followers are hopelessly befuddled. All naturopaths stand for progress and unity, but none of them are for the things that bring about progress and unity. They are loud in their protestations of their love of health, but none of them are for the things that produce health.
Almost from the beginning, there have been those who would select the best from the various systems and incorporate this best into Hygienic practice. We have those among us who insist upon taking a "realistic" view. They do not want to be visionary. But nobody wins in this "realistic" game that seems to appeal to so many people. There are too many things in modern life to get us "off the beam." We easily lose our ideals and descend to mere money grabbing. When we do this, we soon lose our self-respect and our will to accomplish. When love of money becomes uppermost in our lives, all the worthwhile things flee away. To toss away our vision and our aspirations, to discard our principles and act without principle, to live and perform on the basis of immediate personal gain, to resort to mere expediencies in our care of the sick, to ride each wave of popular treatment only because there is money in it-well, life can be lived that way and a practice can be conducted in this manner; but it is a stupid way and it is an unsatisfying way of life.
The Hygienist rejects all poisons and employs only beneficial substances and conditions to aid the healing processes of the body. Some drugs are worse than others, but they are all bad and we reject them all as not only useless, but always and necessarily injurious. In this matter we can make no compromises. There can be no such thing as selecting the lesser of two evils. So long as there is truth in the world, it is folly to choose the lesser of two evils. We should choose the good and reject the evil.
Eclecticism is a hodge-podge. We take the position, so well stated by Dr. Nichols, that "the only eclecticism an honest man can practice is to choose the good and reject the bad." It is too easy to take the "easy way." The fact that a man took the "easy way" at the outset of his career is a sure guarantee that he will continue to take the "easy way." When he discovers that the "easy way" is to drug and dose his victims and to cut and slash them in the time-honored way, and that it will be difficult for him to care for his patients Hygienically, he will abandon Hygiene and stick with the "respectable" elements of society. He may even become a worse foe of Hygiene than the medical man who never made any pretense of being a Hygienist. In the same way, the pseudo-Hygienist who tries to enter Hygiene through a knot hole in the back door will have to prove his loyalty to the "respectable" profession of medicine by the strenuousness of his opposition to all medical heresy.
Of the many schools of so-called healing now in existence, it must be recognized that they have their origin outside the camps of Hygiene and that each was captained and crewed by opportunists and reformers who sought, so they declared, to save the new and vitally important truths from wreck and ruin by the radicals. We must offer increasing resistance to the reformist and Hygienic-faker elements that seek to get into the movement and who attempt to sway it in non-Hygienic ways.
All men and all philosophies find their level; for after their kind, things tend to flock together. Ours is an age of compromise, of half measures. We choose the "lesser of two evils" instead of seeking for radical solutions of the problems that confront us. We seek reforms instead of revolutions. We deride and despise the visionary and exalt the practical man. He rules our lives. The poverty of present-day vision is appalling.
Today we tend to exalt liberalism. The very essence of liberalism is to want to abolish the evils of a system while striving to maintain the base of the evils it would destroy. Thus, while those medical reformers who write learnedly about the evils and shortcomings of present-day medicine have not the vaguest urge to see the abolition of the system, they are quite voluble with their suggestions for reform. They are visibly agitated over the growing evils of the side effects of drugs and the increasing incidence of iatrogenic disease; but their reformist zeal to attain an apparent solution to a problem that, however submerged at times, will remain with us so long as the poisoning practice remains, betrays them.
We have people write us and express admiration for some respects of the Review and who say they would subscribe to it if we would rely upon the intrinsic merits of Hygiene and let medicine alone. But we cannot agree to let medicine alone on any condition whatever. We neither seek nor expect the patronage of medical men. Our aim is to break up, overthrow, destroy, not only their evil practice, but also their false theories. We cannot be silent so long as the practice of dosing the sick with poisons is continued. How can we compromise with a system that prescribes and administers such substances and agencies as wear out and destroy instead of building up and strengthening the forces and structures of life? It is all very well to feed milk to babies, but those who have dealt out doses of death and have removed essential organs from the body need something more than a light diet. We have a world of facts attesting to the soundness of our position. When the medical profession lays down its knives and saws and its vials of poison and retreats from the field, we shall let them alone and devote our attention exclusively to the presentation of Hygiene. Till then we must fight with the weapons we have at hand, with all the knowledge we have and all that we acquire as we go along.
Writing editorially (March 1855), Trall said: "So far as the common doctrines--the pretended philosophy of medical science--are concerned, we plead guilty of the extremist heresy and the most ultra infidelity. We believe the popular medical system is radically wrong, and its principles essentially false. So believing, we could not be honest nor humanitarian--we could not recognize a 'higher law,' without seeking to reform, or rather, to overthrow it." This well expresses our present position towards the profession of medicine. He who "halts between two opinions" and seeks to combine two opposing modes of practice, who sacrifices principles for popularity, such a person will inevitably become obfuscated. He is neither fish nor fowl, neither cold nor hot, and will be spewed out by an enlightened public.
Trall noted that all the schools of healing were willing to compromise with Hygiene. They were willing to accept some Hygiene if the Hygienists would accept some of their theories and practices. They were as ready and willing to make compromises as are politicians, but the real Hygienists took the position well expressed by Dr. Nichols, when he said: "Truth is always the loser, and fallacy always the gainer by compromises."
The principles of Hygiene are either true or false. If true, they will have to be accepted; if false, they will have to be exposed. They cannot be destroyed by ridicule, slander, misrepresentation, denunciation, vile epithets, cunningly-devised falsehoods, cowardly dodges and subterfuges, nor by hiding behind popular prejudices and superstitions and poisoning the popular mind against them. They have to be met squarely, openly, candidly, honestly and with fairness and decency.
The philosophy of him who would compromise involves a highly skillful effort to reconcile conflicting systems, opposite principles and conflicting modes of practice. At one time he is a shrewd Hygienist, attacking the curing professions for their antiquated ideas and practices; at another he is a therapist attacking the Hygienists for the "inadequacies" of their principles and practices and demanding that the need for "aids to nature" be recognized. He lacks that scientific humility that would enable him to surrender to a principle of nature in its inexplicable integrity.
Truth is never in either extreme, but always halfway between the two extremes, is the popular but false doctrine. They who hold to it are continually trying to reconcile Yes and No. Ifs and buts and excepts are their delights. They have such great faith in "the judicious mean" that they would scarcely believe an oracle, if it uttered a full-length principle. Were you to inquire of them whether the earth turns on its axis from East to West, or from West to East, you might almost expect the reply--"a little of both," or "not exactly either." It is doubtful whether they would assent to the axiom that the whole is greater than its parts without making some qualifications. They have a passion for compromises. To meet their taste, Truth must always be spiced with a little Error. They cannot conceive of a pure, definite, entire and unlimited law. These are the people who, in discussions such as the present one, are always petitioning for limitations--always wishing to abate, modify and moderate--ever protesting against doctrines being pursued to their ultimate consequences.
The platitude that nobody has a monopoly on truth has been repeated so often that it has worn threadbare--indeed, it has become a dogma that we begin to suspect. Those so-called friends of Hygiene who class themselves as liberals and who pound their chests and say they will not accept Hygiene as infallible are but parading their own assumed infallibility. Hygienists are well aware of their many shortcomings and mistakes; if the liberals can do no better than to remind them of these, their criticism is in vain. All too often the liberal position is but a camouflage for commercialism.
In terms of sacrifice of the individual's character, the price of "success" can be high. Conformity is the first requisite of "success" in almost all societies. If one does not conform, one speedily becomes an outcast. This is the reason that so many begin life as rebels and end as conservatives, even in some instances being more strict conformists than those who have never rebelled. The cultural pressures towards conformity are often stronger than legislative enactments. The conventions of society are chains about the necks of its members. These conventions may be social, political, religious or medical, they may exist in almost any sphere of human activity-wherever they are, they stand in the way of change, advancement and the discovery of truth.
The position of the Hygienist is a peculiar one in our society. He is in opposition to many things. No sooner than he gets through denouncing the evils of modern scientific medicine, its terroristic methods and its effort to coerce the people into patronizing it, than he is forced to take up the cudgels against some proponent of some stupid new scheme of curing that, although it may not be as damaging as drugs, is equally as unfounded and ineffectual. But, if we are not willing to stand up and be counted, no matter what the cost, if we surrender to the group pressures that bear upon us from all sides, we are certain to be lost. Only the courageous can ever hope to stand out in this herd-minded society of ours.
Man's best qualities are tested and tried in the crucible of struggle. Man is developed by opposition, not by herd acceptance. Mass culture tends to reinforce existing low standards rather than elevate the general level. It is an observed fact that when everybody is exposed to education, only a small fraction of them are genuinely improved.
Henry David Thoreau declared:
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches
Of evil to one who is striking at the root."
The true radical applies his axe to the root of the great tree of evil; he is a revolutionist, not a reformer. He is a true conservative, not in the sense that he seeks to preserve outmoded institutions and special privileges, but in the sense that he seeks to preserve the integrity of life itself. The radical is the man who would abolish the slave system; the reformer is the man who would eliminate some of its worst features to the end that slavery may be made more bearable. The true radical in the field of health-disease is the man who would abolish the false systems of cure and substitute for them a system of mind-body care based on the laws of life; the medical reformer would abolish the worst evils of the older systems and make them less deadly. He would abandon some of the more destructive drugs, lessen the size of the dose of others, give the drug less often, and otherwise make the evil more tolerable. These reformers seek merely to make old-school medicine feel more comfortable than it now feels.