Why Live and Let Live Organization Will Not Work

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           The idea or principle of live and let live which has been presented to both factions of the chiropractic profession may or may not have merit.  but whether it does or not, the idea of having local, state or national organizations that espouse it and attempt to work toward it will simple not work, for many reasons.  We often fail to realize that principles or ideas must be carried out by people and that is what limits their effectiveness no matter how good they may or may not be.

          By analogy, the principle of chiropractic is perfect.  But limitations of matter with in the human body cause it to not always be expressed perfectly.

          The first problem is that for a live and let live philosophy to work it has to be embraced by persons who simple do not care how the other chiropractor down the street practices chiropractic.  Is there anyone out there who really does not care how their neighbor practices chiropractic?  The way every chiropractor practices reflects upon every other chiropractor.  In principle, I should not be judged by other chiropractors’ actions.  In reality I am.  It’s called prejudice and it exists.  Consequently I am embarrassed by the chiropractors in my area who rip off patients, rip off insurance companies, pretend to be diagnosticians and present chiropractic as an alternative treatment of disease.  I’m sure they also do not care for the way I practice.  Chiropractic tends to attract strong personalities.  People in chiropractic have strong feelings one way or another. No one is ambivalent or practically no one.  Those that don’t care are not likely candidates for any organization.  If they do not care how chiropractic is practiced, they sure do not care enough to join an organization made up of people who don’t care.  Hardly anyone will fight for an issue that doesn’t matter.  Even fewer will fight for an issue when the issue is “it doesn’t matter”.  The extreme ends of the profession are the ones who really care.  The silent majority just doesn’t care.  You will never organize or motivate them.

          The second problem with a live and let live organization is that its members have virtually nothing in common except ambivalence and that’s not much of a rallying point.  Those other extreme ends of the profession realize they have nothing in common with the other side, that’s why they have their own organization.  A live and let live organization is like setting up a blind date for two people who have nothing in common and are totally mismatched.  You would have to be terribly stupid or cruel to try to get them together.  Like it or not the profession is getting more and more polarized every day.  The more polarized we become the more the middle is pulled in one or the other direction.  That is not necessarily bad.  The desire by one extreme in the profession to prescribe drugs has awakened some in the middle to sit up and say “hey, where is this profession headed?”  There are many joining the straight movement who have realized where the profession is logically going if we adopt a disease-treating objective of for that matter relate to disease in any way.  Eventually the middle will disappear.  Even now we are hard pressed to find something in common.  The very fact that a convention was created with programs of mixers and separate ones for straight means the membership has nothing in common.  How can you have an organization built on that!

          The third problem is one of priorities.  A reason for these organizations is to protect the freedom of individuals to practice as they wish, straight or mixed.  Frankly, that is not a high priority on anybody’s list.  History has taught us that we are little concerned about others’ freedom.  Paster Niemoller, the Hitler-era, German-Protestant minister’s famous Declaration of Guilt has taught us that.  Those in the media who are concerned about freedom of the press use that very vehicle to try to take away others’ freedom to own guns.  Right or wrong, another’s freedom is not a priority.  It is especially not a priority when as a straight you truly believe that mixing the medical objective with chiropractic is an abuse of your freedom and in fact infringes upon the prior rights of the therapeutic field. 

The law says chiropractors can do medical procedures.  I believe that law is wrong.  While changing it is not high on my priority list at this time neither is trying to stop someone who would like t change it.  Perhaps that makes me a “hate straight”.  But frankly when you practice according to a principle it is rather difficult to embrace people without a principle or people with a principle in conflict with yours.  In Pennsylvania recently when the physical therapists tried to prevent chiropractors from practicing physical therapy, the straight organization in a spirit of live and let live went to the aid of the mixers.  When the straights tried to get a law passed to allow Pennsylvania Straight students to be licensed until the accreditation problem is solved, the mixers opposed it.  So much for live and let live by the other side!

          There is going to be an increased attraction for live and let live organizations in the near future because on paper we are becoming more like one profession.  Events and circumstances appear to be drawing us together.  There is the governmental threat to economic chiropractic  which seems to transcend straight/mixing lines.  There is the possibility of only one accrediting agency.  We cannot allow these issues to draw us together.

          I am not anti-live and let live any more than I am anti-mixer.  But that is the real issue, being pro-straight.  The straight chiropractic movement is in its most desperate state in twenty years.  It needs the support, the energy, the money and the help of every straight chiropractor.  What’s more, we cannot or should not expect anyone else, medical or mixer to help us.  It is not their fight.  It is not their principle.  To truly support something in a way that it deserves you need to understand it.  No one but a straight truly understands what we are all about.  Unless you have internalized the above down inside out philosophy of chiropractic and practice, live and teach it every day of your life, you cannot get excited about promoting and or defending it.  If mixers truly understood our principle, we wouldn’t need their help as mixers; they would to longer be mixers.  If you do understand it, then you can do nothing else but support it with every fiber of your being.  Every straight chiropractor and student who wants to see this movement survive and flourish needs to commit himself or herself to supporting it and its organizations to the exclusion of every other organization.  That is the only way we can possibly survive. v9n4

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