The Medicalization of Morality
Claudewell S. Thomas, MD, MPH, DLFAPA, is an established psychiatrist who is currently retired. He received his medical degree in 1956 at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and specializes in social psychiatry, public health psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry. Dr. Thomas was board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry... more
As mortality from gun violence increases in the USA (and worldwide), and the Ukraine invasion by Russia continues, some of us are pushed to wonder about the nature of man. Homo sapiens is the surviving species of the primate genus, but have we survived only temporarily? Tennyson's ‘Nature Red in Tooth and Claw’ adopted by Spencer as social Darwinism, says no. Or are we circling the drain of extinction following the pipedream of Darwin's ‘survival of the fittest’? The notion of God doesn't seem to help because Nietzsche's superman is in transition to God-like status and knows that the world's "trash people" worship false Gods. We are left with a game of power and the only palpable defense within it is something called 'The Rule of Law', which unfortunately itself is vulnerable to the play of power.
All this indicates why the American Democracy is unique and in trouble. The issues involving care and feeding of the poor and minority are broader than medical issues and doctors, nurses, dentists, and health care workers, nor are we necessarily more moral than anyone else. The fear of nuclear extinction doesn't seem to substitute for moral concern. This may be because it fails to address the issue of evil. So, the power game goes on, masking, de-masking, COVID-19, pandemic, epidemic, and mortality rates, are all issues demanding a moral view as well as a power-driven jurisdictional view. Since we are not about to return to the bishoprics of the 12th century, maybe we need to have a contest between labeled robots, "Shall we play a game?"