Let Us Remain Philosophical in Defeat

DrRich | February 15th, 2010 - 10:42 am

DrRich wishes to congratulate Bob Doherty of the ACP Advocate Blog for his victory over the Covert Rationing Blog in the 2009 Weblog Award Competition, in the category of Best Health Policy/Ethics Blog. As DrRich has said before, Doherty is a gentleman and a fine writer, and anyone who has read his blog will see right away that he is a worthy victor.

And now DrRich must turn to his loyal readers, to try to assuage what must be their bitter disappointment. We are, many of us, surprised, if not stunned, by the outcome of this vote. After all, the Covert Rationing Blog led the voting by a reasonably substantial margin throughout most of the two-and-a-half-week voting period, and indeed remained with a comfortable lead when most of us retired last night (Sunday, Feb. 14). Then upon awakening this morning, we find that our worthy competitor had received a truly impressive onslaught of last-minute votes, in the few hours before the polls closed at midnight, to secure the win.

DrRich cannot, of course, completely wipe out the disappointment for most of you. The pain, understandably, must be far too deep for mere words to vanquish. But allow DrRich to leave you with some thoughts to ponder as you work to resolve your frustration.

1) This election result merely reflects modern American political reality. While it is commonly said that, in elections, the winning strategy is to “Vote early and vote often,” the more assured path to victory is, “He who tabulates his votes last votes best.” That is, don’t let the opposition know how many votes you have until you yourself know how many votes you need. This rule was established by Mayor Daley (the original one) in the presidential election of 1960, and it has held up very nicely for 50 years. The ACP, which is largely a political organization, may be aware of this axiom.

2) For those who believe that the last-minute, stroke-of-midnight outpouring of support for the ACP (on a Sunday! on Valentine’s Day!) seems suspicious, remember who you are dealing with here. This may be difficult for readers of the Covert Rationing Blog – who tend to be salt-of-the-earth, red-blooded, lusty folks, who (no doubt) spent the last few hours of Valentine’s Day with their loved ones doing, well, Valentine-y things – to understand. But you’re dealing with doctors here, and not with the let’s-just-go-cut-the-damned-thing-out surgery types, either. You’re dealing with internal medicine specialists. These are the guys (and girls) you knew in college who looked forward to football Saturdays because the library would always be so much quieter. It is not so unreasonable to visualize the ACP membership entering into their Blackberries a few weeks ago a notice to vote for the ACP at 11:59 PM on February 14. They knew they would probably be logged on to their computers at that moment anyway, reading the latest research on the complement cascade.

3) It would have been greatly embarrassing for the ACP to lose in this vote, while it was not at all embarrassing for the Covert Rationing Blog to lose. DrRich took great pains to make it so, what with his loud, persistent (and, if you’re the ACP, annoying) challenge to the New Ethics promulgated by the ACP. Especially when the ACP made a fairly ineffective and dismissive early effort to respond to DrRich, and then assiduously ignored him thereafter, DrRich did not think for a moment that this large and influential organization would allow this embarrassment to happen. Anyway, by virtue of the ACP’s victory, there is much less embarrassment in the universe today than otherwise would have been the case. And that’s a good thing.

4) DrRich never really believed he would be able to beat the mighty ACP in this competition. Their resources are simply too great. His only chance of victory, he understood from the beginning, would have been to remain entirely silent about the Weblog award, and hope the ACP did not take much notice of it. But instead, DrRich decided to use the fortuitous occasion of being named a co-finalist with the ACP in a medical ethics competition to call them out on medical ethics. By relentlessly poking away at what might otherwise have remained a sleeping giant, DrRich assured his own loss. But, dear readers, getting the ACP to respond publicly to this challenge was far more rewarding, and far more important, than winning a Weblog award. DrRich, for one, feels more firmly now than ever (based on that anemic response) about the ethical bankruptcy of the New Ethics.

In this process, DrRich hopes he was able to call the dangers of the New Ethics to the attention of at least a few of his readers – especially some of the patients who have become entirely marginalized by the New Ethics, and some of the doctors who are considering extricating themselves from the quagmire, and re-establishing the doctor-patient relationship outside the traditional system. If so, the experience will have been very worthwhile and very satisfying.

DrRich would like to thank the people at medGadget for selecting him as a finalist, and especially for selecting the ACP as a co-finalist; and he would particularly like to thank all the hundreds of people who went out of their way to vote for the Covert Rationing Blog. The magnitude of your support – which (judging from the evidence) may have required an extraordinary last-minute effort on the part of the mighty ACP to eke out a face-saving victory – is truly humbling.

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