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Mr. Rand and I are watching the series “Victoria” on PBS and have reached the episode where the Queen is pregnant for the first time. She is terrified of dying in childbirth and is the recipient of a wealth of medical advice, most of it abysmal.
Mr. Rand, who’s now spent quite a few years around the baby birthing business in a variety of nursing capacities, most recently as a CRNA providing anesthesia care in a poor Catholic community hospital to, among others, laboring mothers, noticed and pointed out that our Medicaid patients on the South Side of Chicago now get vastly better medical care than Queen Victoria did in her day.
His observation got me thinking. That fact is due almost entirely to capitalism – to the profit motive and the research and innovation it encourages, and the concern for client/customer/patient outcomes and satisfaction that it engenders.
It is too easy to take for granted what we have — to assume our level of progress was inevitable. And it is too easy, in our short and harried lives, to fail to look back even a couple of generations, which is all that is necessary to see how staggeringly far we’ve come.
That is the test of a civilization – does it go from the first whiffs of ether to safe and painless outpatient surgery in 100 years, or from the telegraph to the iPhone in 150, or from a terrifying risk of dying in childbirth for a queen, who has all the care money can buy, to routine uncomplicated births for the poorest of the poor in 175.
Socialism is not progress. It is the death of that real progress we are so fortunate to be living freer, more productive, and yes more leisurely lives as a result of.Published in