Choice, Equality and Cost
Chapter 7: The public
There is individualism: it maintains that the patient alone can recognise a healthy mind in a healthy body. There is professionalism: it insists that the doctor must have clinical freedom since the clinician alone can identify a need. Then there is social-ism. Social-ists believe that the patient and the doctor are only cells in an organism, atoms in a structure. The patient and the doctor are only parts. The truth is the whole. Social-ists situate the I in the context of the We. They believe that the embedding collectivity is an entity sui generis. They believe that the social cake is qualitatively different from the discrete ingredients that mix and meld. Social-ists argue that the internalised norms, the shared mores and the common conventions add up to mutual constraint by agreement and consensus: ‘We may say that what is moral is everything that is a source of solidarity, everything that forces man to take account of other people’ (Durkheim, 1984 : 331). The mapped coordinates emancipate the unrooted and the homeless from meaningless egotism and anomic detachment. It is their function to integrate the rudderless self in meaningful interdependence with its teammates and its fellows. They are, Durkheim says, the sine qua non if the Hobbesian bellum is to be kept at bay: ‘Cause all social life to vanish, and moral life would vanish at the same time, having no object to cling to’ (Durkheim, 1984 : 331).
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