CHIROPRACTIC CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

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There is a thought that is surfacing in a few straight chiropractic publications which appears to be antithetical to our chiropractic philosophy. It goes by various names but the concept is clear: straight chiropractic colleges, students, graduates, and doctors are being treated unfairly and it is time for the straight chiropractic movement to fight back with what amounts to civil disobedience.
The Declaration of Independence and numerous idealistic and high sounding phrases and concepts are put forth to support this argument.
No one would question the unfairness of the situation in chiropractic today regarding the straight movement. This publication has strongly attacked the evil that denies graduates of two colleges the right to practice where they choose. But, the evil is due to people, not the system. Civil disobedience is an attack upon the system. It is true that the straights have achieved very little relief in the courts. As one proponent of the idea has said it does “drain away precious time and energy in costly political campaigns and courtroom encounters.” The system that we live under is far from perfect. That imperfection has been felt more by the straight chiropractic profession than any other group in the last ten years with perhaps the exception of the victims of crime.
There are a few points that must be made with regard to the present situation of the straight movement. First, and most important we (the straights) are responsible for our position today. We are the ones who were building large successful practices while the other side was doing political groundwork. We have ignored the steady encroachment of our profession upon the practice of medicine. We have chosen freely to jump into the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners Education Department Regional Accrediting Agency National Accrediting Agency game. We knew the rules when we got into the game. Because the referee starts making calls against your team you don’t decide to change the rules on the spot, or worse yet, ignore them. You can ,ÿ3 choose to walk off the field, quit the game and go home. But the other two choices, ignoring the rules or changing them on the spot, are not viable options.
A second point with regard to free choice is that these students knew the situation they were getting into when they freely chose to attend a straight college. They were told, or should have been, that they were putting their professional future on the line if they aligned themselves with the straight chiropractic movement. Now, four years later, they must truly sacrifice for what they have been giving lipservice to and apparently some don’t want to. The other possibility is that the colleges were not truly honest with prospective students when recruiting them.
There are errors that should be addressed regarding chiropractic civil disobedience. The first is of an historical nature. The Declaration of Independence, which seems to be the basis for the argument, and the subsequent War (incorrectly called a revolution) was not an act of civil disobedience. Granted there were acts of civil disobedience prior to the Declaration. But a just cause does not justify illegal acts nor does it legitimize them. Dumping someone’s property in Boston Harbor is wrong. When a colony believes it has the ability and the right to govern itself, it may declare its independence. That is what the colonies did. They did not try to remove King George from the throne of Great Britain. That would have been a revolution.
Civil disobedience is opposing legitimate authority. Once the colonies declared their independence, England was no longer a legitimate authority. One proponent has suggested that chiropractic civil disobedience today would be a “Second Wave.” I assume he is referring to chiropractors practicing without a license and subsequent jail sentences that are a part of our chiropractic history. However, I see a difference. What our chiropractic forefathers were doing was declaring their independence from medicine. They were saying “chiropractic is not the practice of medicine. It has a different name and different objectives, therefore we should not be restricted by the yoke of medicine.” Their so-called crime was “practicing medicine without a license” not practicing chiropractic without a license. If straight chiropractors want to follow the lead of our ancestors then we need to maintain the integrity they had. We need to call what we are doing something other than chiropractic. Develop new objectives. Be willing to be licensed and regulated under the banner ,( of this new profession. Our chiropractic ancestors were not advocating anarchy or ignoring laws which they felt were “unjust.” They were asserting their independence in establishing a new system of thought which would govern their actions, just as the American colonists declared a new system of government that would guide their lives.
This brings us to the second point. Chiropractic is based upon law, the Law of Life. Its objective is to bring about order and harmony. It acknowledges and respects the authority of the universe and the authority of the body. It seems to me to be counter productive for us to “ignore or refuse to acknowledge that which is unjust.” You may argue that you did not vote for the individuals making the unjust laws. But you voted for someone. By voting, you are saying “I, of my own free will, agree to abide by the decision of the majority.” You may argue that you did not even vote. But you chose of your own free will to live in a country that follows a certain system that places power in the hands of a few elected officials (hopefully of high integrity). You are in fact saying “I agree to obey the laws of state boards and accrediting agencies created by those elected officials.”
We need to change laws that are unfair to the practice of straight chiropractic. But we must also realize that by living in this society, we are acknowledging that our government, right or wrong, is our government and if we cannot change it then we are obligated to abide by its laws. That is a principle just as vital to the perpetuation of the human race as any chiropractic principle. Civil disobedience creates disorder. It causes disharmony among the cells of a society. It leads to the breakdown of a system and as such is in conflict with our chiropractic philosophy. v3n3

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