DOGMA OR PRINCIPLE

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Perhaps it would do the “straight” segment of the profession good to stop for a moment and understand how the “broad scope practitioners” view the “straights” and, more importantly, why. Not so much because we really care what they think of us but because we should represent the clearest, most intelligent image of the straight chiropractic profession. To begin with, the straights appear to be against educational improvements and opposed to a standardization of the educational requirements
After all, if the educational requirements that they (“the mixers”) have established are of the highest quality, and they must assume that they are, it logically follows in their minds that the standards that the straights and their academic arm wish to perpetuate are of a lesser quality. The straight chiropractor does not wish to diagnose, do orthopedic or neurological tests, take blood, or treat diseases. All of this translates in the mind of the mixer as being an indication of clinical incompetence. He views us as the little boy who cannot put the jigsaw puzzle together and in a rage he throws the thousand pieces on the floor and says “jigsaw puzzles are stupid, who wants to do them anyway?!” The mixer believes we don’t perform those procedures because we are either too stupid to learn or too lazy.
Unfortunately, we always seem to fall back on one phrase to justify our position. The catch all for why we don’t do everything that we don’t do is “It’s not chiropractic.” Why is it not chiropractic? Because chiropractic is the correction of vertebral subluxation only! The mixer looks at us and says “that’s a circular argument. Why shouldn’t chiropractors treat disease as well as correct vertebral subluxation?” Disease is present, there is plenty of it around. The M.D.’s do not seem to be doing such an allfired great job in eliminating it. What’s wrong with the chiropractors getting in on the act? We (the straights) appear to the rest of the profession to have a position that is based entirely on dogma adhered to with a fervor that borders on religious fanaticism. If you want to accept your role as a chiropractor and delineate your scope of practice on such reasoning as: “that’s what the discoverer and developer of chiropractic defined it as,” or “that’s the school’s definition,” or “it’s non-duplicative,” that is fine. However, the average, intelligent mixer is not going to be satisfied with that as an answer. In fact, the average intelligent student of the straight school is not satisfied with that answer. As a result, far too many of them never become straight chiropractors or they “stray from the path” before very long in practice. They end up at best not supporting their straight alma mater or at worst joining the mixer organizations. Frankly, the students of chiropractic colleges are sick of having the philosophy rammed down their throats in the form of catechismic doctrine. Those in the straight chiropractic, academic community unfortunately tend to present chiropractic in that manner. Students are not satisfied with our “that’s the way it is” answer with regard to the chiropractic philosophy. We tell them that if they cannot accept our straight chiropractic philosophy then they should go to another school or they should not have come to a straight school in the first place. Unfortunately, they are given this information after they get there, having expended great sums of money in getting to that point. They have probably invested considerable time and money in their straight education which is nonrefundable and nontransferrable before getting to the point of realizing that they must accept the philosophy because “that’s the way it is.” It’s “too late” for many of them by that time therefore, they go along with the program and do whatever they want after they graduate. But, many have come, however, to the school expecting the straight philosophy to be explained and presented to them in an intelligent, logical, and sound manner. To a great degree they have not gotten it! Not every student needs it. Some have accepted the chiropractic philosophy long before they got to school. They are satisfied with the above answers and reasons for what we do. These are the ones who, if they had never taken a philosophy course in chiropractic school, would still turn out to be straight chiropractors. But these are few and far between.
We are accused by the mixers of practicing a pseudoreligion. There is a lot of truth in that charge. Most ,( straight chiropractors do not practice chiropractic based upon deductive, intellectual reasoning but on a few simple philosophical concepts. The sad part is that the simple, philosophical concepts are correct, however, chiropractic is so much more and needs to be explained in more than simple philosophical concepts. May I draw an analogy here to religion. The new convert is as much a “member of the faith” as a seminary graduate with a doctorate in theology. However, the Th.D. should be more knowledgeable and be better able to explain why he believes what he believes. There is less likelihood of “falling away” the more you know. Our chiropractic college graduates often have only a “new convert knowledge” and too many of them are falling away. It can be argued that there will always be a few sheep in wolves clothing who will come into the school with no intention or desire to investigate and examine the straight chiropractic philosophy. (Straights don’t have a corner on closemindedness). But the real problem is that we are not presenting enough of the philosophy in an intelligent enough manner. As a result, we are not attracting the students that we should and not turning out as many straight chiropractors as we should. The answer is not in making the philosophy more scientific as some have tried. Some have suggested that we need more philosophy courses in chiropractic college. Unfortunately the courses tend to be nothing but a rehash of the same old stuff. Six quarters of first quarter philosophy only serves the purpose of turning off the students that might be otherwise stimulated into thinking more about the intelligence of the straight approach. We need to make a change in out educational presentation of the philosophy of chiropractic and I don’t mean by making it more scientific. We need to do it within the deductive framework. We must recognize that we have a big problem. It’s difficult for the straight field chiropractor to identify with the student’s problem. He has accepted the philosophy, understands it, and realizes “it’s as simple as that.” but he forgets that BJ wrote dozens of books to explain the simplicity of the philosophy. The more you understand the philosophy the simpler and clearer it becomes. But we must break through the barriers of pseudo-intellectualism to allow the clear simplicity of the chiropractic philosophy to enter the mind and the thinking of the student. This cannot be done without some major changes in the presentation of our philosophy. Without these changes, we are going to lose too great a percentage of our graduates to mixing. In addition, we will continue to perpetuate the view that the mixers have of us: ignorant pseudo-religious fanatics.   V2n3

 

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