[This a special guest post from Jared Rhoads highlighting the work he's done for The Lucidicus Project. I hope other Objectivists find this as informative and inspiring as I did. -- Paul]
NoodleFoodler Paul Hsieh recently invited me to write about the healthcare activism that I do under the banner of The Lucidicus Project.
For those who haven’t heard of it before, The Lucidicus Project is a small educational initiative that I started back in 2005. Our mission is to help med students learn more about the moral and economic case for capitalism.
(This, of course, is done with the selfish hope that they will go on to become better defenders of their own rights — and in so doing, help create a freer system in which they can deliver the type of high-quality care and innovative treatments from which everyone can benefit.)
We engage in a variety of activism, including publishing editorials on Lucidicus.org, getting involved in Tea Parties, writing LTEs, and so on. But by far what we enjoy most is sending out our “self-defense kit” to med students.
The kit we have put together contains an assortment of pro-capitalism books and materials, including Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand’s article “How Not to Fight Against Socialized Medicine.”
One of the biggest hits with recipients is the audio CD of Dr. Peikoff’s Ford Hall Forum speech, “Medicine: Death of a Profession.” It’s a very stirring overview, and it’s perfect for busy med students to listen to on the go. It also demonstrates the power of thinking in principles, since it was delivered nearly 25 years ago yet every word is still relevant today.
On January 2nd, we awarded our 50th kit. It’s a proud achievement for a grassroots project with such a niche focus. As you can imagine, med students are about as challenging a demographic as one can choose. For starters, there are relatively few of them and they are extremely busy with courses, labs, and rotations. Many are not interested in politics. Some believe that philosophy is nothing more than the hogwash that their freshman-year humanities professor taught.
To make matters worse, the culture in med school is thoroughly altruistic; the desire “to help people” and “to serve others” is often pushed as the only valid reason for entering medicine.
Despite the challenges, though, each med student we reach represents a potentially tremendous gain. Imagine how beneficial it would be to have 100, 200, or 1,000 doctors stand up and defend their right to practice medicine free of coercion, controls, and social welfare programs. Big-government advocates pushing socialized medicine wouldn’t stand a chance.
So that’s what we’re shooting for. Chipping away at the unearned guilt; ending the sanction of the victim.
I’m thrilled that there are multiple groups out there with similar values and goals — namely AFCM, FIRM, the Ayn Rand Institute, and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. We have lots of different angles covered, including different niches, issues, geographies, you-name-it. In a world where conservatives don’t know what they believe, and the Tea Party movement is at risk of drifting away, we need all the help we can get.
Lately our focus has been on health reform. We’ve been writing letters to Congress, LTEs to newspapers, Tweeting, and more. Typically we concentrate on long-term philosophy rather than narrow politics, but these health reform bills are not your average pieces of legislation. In 2010, we’ll be getting back to our core focus on getting more kits out to med students.
Please — if you’re interested in healthcare as an issue — get involved. There are lots of ways to do so.
If you have the time and can put pen to paper, consider writing a guest editorial for Lucidicus.org. If you don’t have the time, but have the money, consider making a donation. (In case you’re curious, it costs us roughly $37 to send out a kit, but donations of any size are always a big help.) If you have neither time nor money, but have a blog, then give us a link and send some traffic our way.
Or go solo. Or help out with one of the other organizations mentioned above. The point is, if you enjoy doing it and if you think it makes a difference, then give it a shot. More people are listening than you think.