The Parable of the Lame, the Halt and the Blind

By C. B. WARNER, A. M., D.D.S. Biloxi, Mississippi


This parable is written for the further information of those well wishers who constantly write me concerning my articles which appeared in the July and September issues of Oral Hygiene Magazine, and in the October issue of Nutrition and Dental Health. To answer their good letters personally is too large a contract.

Strange to say, there has been only one adverse criticism that I know of although there is likely plenty in the offing. My original article did not offer much room for complaint. Since it was only a marshaling of facts, which everyone knew, and those facts spoke more clearly than any language which I could use.

The one apologist for the present regime, who has come forth in print, is Dr. S. T. Adams who says, in September Oral Hygiene Magazine, “Dr. Warner is wrong, free clinics do not limit the field of private practice…” He states that those who come to the clinics in the main can not pay for dental services anyway. That it is the 75% who cannot pay nominal fees which limits the practice. This illustration demonstrates its own weakness. One-half of my article, which Dr. Adams ignores, was devoted to urging the Government to come to the aid of the dental poor the same needing farm supplies. Nothing was said that all the limitation in dental practice came from free clinics as Dr. Adams would have you believe.

The false premise of free service was exploded years ago. It is wrong commercially, economically and morally. If it were sound commercially we would find telephones and electric lights in the homes of those who could not pay. In free service, we find that it is contrary to the economic basic principle of the Iron Law of Wages, and in the long run does more harm to the poor that it does good. Morally, it is a crime to divert the energy of the profession in trying inadequately to remedy an effect, when it should devote all its powers in fighting the cause.

The Parable

And it came to pass as Christian approached the City of the Nation, a guide appeared and called his attention to an imposing building with marble columns and heavy bronze door. “All of the building in this city,” he said, “are privately owned but largely supported

by The Government. You will not that they are in constant alteration to fit the times. This building is our largest and is the Bank. Through a series of enabling law as it has been given control of the financial structure of the nation. Can you see that sign at the top? ‘Over sixty per cent of the national debt is already due us. Courage, brother, we will soon own it all.’ These boys have a method of collecting that the poor, or any else, cannot wiggle out of.”

“Who are those men huddled together in that corner room?” asked Christina. “Those are lawyers, banker, economists and lobbyists, who have brought this immense power to have banks and are now laying plans for further raids.”

“The large building adjoining it is called Industry,” continued the guide, “the strong beams supporting it are marked tariff. The Government annually spends millions of dollars providing consuls for promoting trade. Sometimes we have found it necessary to send a small army to a weak nation to compel them to give concessions, or pay their debts to our manufacturers. You can see for yourself that The Government loves Industry.

“We now come to the building of Agriculture, which also receives large gifts from the national treasury, not only in billion dollar subsidies, but also in the support annually of an army of workers to help the farmer grow more crops.

“These helpers extend all the way from the large groups housed in Washington, down through the State Agricultural Departments and Colleges to the Country Agents. The recent farm legislation, so it is reported, added another quarter million helpers.”

Christian asked, “Have they not burned corn, ploughed under cotton and destroyed vast quantities of citrus fruits? Why do they need to many helpers?” “It is a matter difficult to understand but I believe it is because The Government loves the farmer. The next building is that of Labor. While it is not as big as the others it will soon be much larger.” “Does The Government love it too, and give it huge sums of money?” “No, it is the other way around. Labor gave a half million dollars for the last election. Now it has what is worth much more –new legislation which indirectly forces every factory worker into a union. Within the past two years it has quadrupled its membership and it is freely predicted that soon there will be twenty million dues paying union men. With that strength labor can win any election.” “I have heard that this new legislation enable labor to boost wages until they overtop, in many instances, the income of the average dentists.” “That is so and they have no expensive education, equipment, office expense or collections to contend with.”

As they descended from the top of the hill they passed various buildings such as Stores, Railroads, Mines and Shipping and Christian asked, “Do you not have any slums? I recall ThePresident mentioned that one-third of your population were under nourished.” The guide replied, “Of course those on the hill, who The Government loves, receive huge benefits, but all are not so favored by any mean.” They soon reached the swampy level ground and there they behold the disinherited, with thin arms stretched towards the Heavens. Their cries were loud, but they were so far away that those on the hill could not hear them.

Nearby, on shifting sands, were two imposing white buildings marked Medicine and Dentistry. Uniformed attendants were busy leading the unfortunates into these houses but it was plain to be seen that only one out of five were lucky enough to receive attention and many toothless, pain racked souls were dying. It was a type of mass murder but occurring under the pleasant title of malnutrition.

“So,” remarked Christian, “all is not greed. Look at these doctors wearing their own lives away doing good. Many of them look as though they were underfed”. “Yes, their hearts are all right but they are weak in their heads.” “What!” “Yes, that is so. They are spending their energy trying to combat an effect so they have no strength to fight the cause. As weak as they are they have no business making an effort to do the work that belongs to The Government. As a matter of fact they do much more harm than they do good by such methods. Those institutions on the hill through high prices, rents, interest and mortgages have pushed these people into the mud. Now they are forgotten, knowing that the doctors will look after them.” “But what can these doctors do? Have they no hight priced lawyers, economists, and lobbyists like those on the hill?” The guide turned and stared at Christian in surprise. “You look like an intelligent man but you make me laugh. Those doctors thing that they are so smart that they can do their own economic work. Blind leaders of the lame and halt! They know well enough that an economist cannot fill a tooth, but they do not dream that the same rule works both ways. They do not have brains enough to protect themselves, let alone others. See where those on the hills have pushed them –down on those shifting sands in the swamp.” “But the Government’s billions. Can they not get some of that for these suffering dying people?” “Well they did get a few million in the CWA but that soon panned out. They do not understand that this is an economic war and those who are the best prepared win out. These doctors have no intestinal fortitude and they take everything The Government hands out with a polite “Thank you’ and those on the hill see that all that comes to them is the leavings. They have the right on their side and could call the bluff, but they prefer to go the easy way.”

“Have they no advisers?” “A few prophets have arisen from time to time but, like others in history, they are told that everything is all right and please do not disturb them.” “Well, “ remarked Christian, “they are so busy in their profession that they cannot take the time. They leave everything to their leaders and their leaders leave everything to their Government, and those on the hill control the Government. Anyway, they at least have some fine building.”

The guide stepped up to the dental building and tore off a piece of wood. As he crushed it to powder in his fingers he replied, “Do not fool yourself, Brother, you can see that this structure is all undermined by secret boring from within; some call it termites, or white ants, others call it the free public clinic. While every thing looks all right on the surface, it will soon be eaten away and half of the dentists will join the group out yonder! That rotten flooring marked free government service would not be allowed in any of those buildings on the hill. Look there comes a carpenter from the Manufacturers Building bearing a plank marked ‘Free Dental Clinic for Textile Workers.’ Now watch those doctors. See, how they go out and examine the plank and then nail the wormy board on their own building.” “Do they really do that?” “Always, any new free clinic termite they gladly adopt.” “But their building will soon be destroyed!” “It is nearly that way not, but I have not told all the story. Look at those clouds marked ‘thirty seven billion dollars national debt.’ Some day there may be a storm that will wipe out all of the city. Now look below where the dental building slants, it is on quicksand marked socialism and will be the first to be sucked under.” “But the health of this country is so important that their brother on the hill will not allow them to perish.” The guide smiles as he pointed to the Medical Building. There was a man from the Labor Building who was dumping sand from a wheelbarrow against the foundation. It was labeled, “Union labor votes in favor of socialized medicine.”

Christian turned pale. “All of this suffering, the moaning and this blindness makes me sick. War is war. Even war which kills quickly is not so loathsome as this deadly inaction and distress. You are right –all hear but no head –Lead me, I pray thee, out of this city into clean, wholesome air where I may continue my Pilgrims Progress.”

Quint Bldg.

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