June 30, 2012

A physician's epiphany: "I was not, as I had imagined, a professional, but an employee."

In the wee hours today, our commenter Pogo wrote:
Can't sleep.

A little over ten years ago, I had an epiphany at work. I was struggling until I suddenly realized that I was not, as I had imagined, a professional, but an employee.

And my eyes opened, and I understood.
The employee game is an easy one to play, unless you don't know you're playing it.

So with the ACA ruling came a similarly uncomfortable epiphany.

I was the rube.
I was the patsy.
Shit!

Like the die-hard Cubs fan, always waiting for the conservatives to win, I hoped.

But then Roberts ruled, and my eyes opened, and I understood.

All that kabuki about conservative undercurrents in Washington was complete and utter bullshit. It was all of a piece, just different players jockeying for position.

And I was the idiot, believing there was some chance of reversion to ancient times.

Instead of a professional, I am an employee.
Instead of a citizen, I am a serf.
And the serf game is an easy one; its rules are old and easily learned. Bow and scrape, basically. Get yours.

My apologies for having misled anyone otherwise.

79 comments:

David said...

Serin' Safarai, Pogo. Get up and dance.

America's Politico said...

I too cannot sleep, as I am a top-notch K-street consultant. I cannot wait till the Nov. election when the greatest POTUS wins the another term. Last night at the Oval Room, we cheered for the Supreme Court's support to our Affordable Health Care Act. We cried as we now know that we will defeat the GOP in every-where. The blonde, my GF, has plans to write a memoir: My 8-years in the WH. She is now shopping for an agent. We are so happy, so happy, and so happy.

We are so sorry for the GOP. You know you are doing to lose, badly lose, very badly lose. We sympathize your loss. The trouble is that you are messing with the wrong POTUS. We simply do not know how to lose. Therefore, we will win again and again and again.

Cheerio friends!

AllieOop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

Our modern serfdom assumes we will all be in animated gif of a Bruegel painting. Ain't all this tech grand!

David said...

While we are at it, do people ever wonder why they are getting zero, zip, nada return on their savings. All you savers can't earn a dime without quite a bit of risk. Meanwhile we are bailing out borrowers, from huge banks down to stupid borrowers who stepped into the deep end when they did not know how to swim.

So to prop up the economy and paper over the mistakes of the politicians the Federal Reserve is running a negative interest rate (after inflation) bazaar. And who gets fucked--you do, you prudent little drones. Pay up, drones. If you had any sense, you would be in Washington or New York or LA feeding at one of the many government provided troughs.

AllieOop said...

I feel his pain, that's how some of us felt after it became painfully clear that Obama was not the hope and change wevwere looking for, that he along with the majority of those we elected on both sides of the aisle are corruptible and are not the true leaders of this country, we elected them to be. Our country is being run by forces that bypassed our democratic system with money and the influence it buys.

As I said in the Cafe thread, identify the kings, unite to defeat them, find honorable and incorruptible men to lead us, a daunting task but one that is still possible in a Democracy.

Recognize that they have us where they want us, divided and conquered. Fighting amongst ourselves, while they become more powerful by the year.

David said...

Someones gonna string you up AP. (Metaphorically of course).

Mogget said...

Instead of a professional, I am an employee.
Instead of a citizen, I am a serf.


And I am a serf who aims to misbehave...

Calypso Facto said...

"I was always astonished at the extraordinary good nature and lack of malice with which men... spoke of their beatings." Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Lots of sheep in this society, apparently, willing to be herded, and fattened, and "protected" by the hungry, self-enriching shepherd of Big Gov't.

edutcher said...

God, I'm getting sick of the whining.

OK, you lost a round, you've got another you can win.

You go again.

Anybody who thinks SCOTUS makes good law has never sat down and looked at most of the stuff that comes out of the place.

Lawrence and Kelo were good law?

School prayer was good law?

Roe was good law?

Stolen Valor and flag burning are good law?

They all go in the same wastebasket as Dred Scott and Plessy.

Everybody knew this could happen and that we'd have another shot with repeal. Since it's been defined as a tax, we don't have to fight a filibuster.

Suck it up and keep fighting.

FWIW, the news that 28 state governors have no intention of implementing this monstrosity indicates we have more than one front on which to fight.

PS The Blonde had the same "epiphany" about the time we met when it was clear the hospital for which she worked was more interested in profit that care. She just kept doing what she was doing and did the best she could.

And fought the system every damned day.

JZ said...

I look forward to the day when the country's doctors wear white smocks with the words "U.S. Health Corps" embroidered over a pocket.

garage mahal said...

A justice appointed by George Bush sided with a Heritage Foundation plan endorsed and also signed by Mitt Romney. But it now has Obama's name on it, so we know what that means.

Hang in there Pogo!

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

AllieOop said...

As I said in the Cafe thread, identify the kings, unite to defeat them, find honorable and incorruptible men to lead us, a daunting task but one that is still possible in a Democracy.

Yes, dear, we know.

Occupy.

Eat the rich.

Their money belongs to us.

Last I heard, that nonsense killed 40 million people in Russia and 66 million in Red China, but what are a few dead compared to Glorious World Socialist Workers Revolution?

somefeller said...

Yawn. More drama from a drama queen.

Curious George said...

.
Recalling your post from the other day...UNIONIZE!

And then live by the adage of workers in the old USSR: "If they are going to pretend to pay us, then we will pretend to work"

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ndspinelli said...

It's the duopoly, stupid.

AllieOop said...

Ed, you are dupe, an average American with a average wage, like most of us, a serf to the ruling class, nor do you have any power whatsoever to be anything but be a serf who thinks he's a king. You no longer have the power or ability to elevate yourself in society, you just think you do.

Wake up and smell the coffee all you folks who still have your sense of smell, because something is rotting in Washington.

MadisonMan said...

You can wallow in despair, or you can adapt to the current present (I guess that's redundant).

Eric Idle said it best.

Every change that the government imposes is an opportunity to make money. Learn how to game the system.

But then I'm cynical.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

Yawn. More drama from a drama queen.

Yes, our rulers love it when the serfs are cowed.

Hagar said...

Whatever you, or anyone else, think "the mandate" is, in the 2013 Senate it will be a tax and not subject to filibuster.

Maguro said...

No worries, Obama has appointed top men to plan and oversee the healthcare sector. Top. Men.

AllieOop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

I think Henry Fonda could have played this Mr. Roberts too.

deborah said...

"Whatever you, or anyone else, think "the mandate" is, in the 2013 Senate it will be a tax and not subject to filibuster."

What will the bill contain? Will Romney sign it?

somefeller said...

Yes, our rulers love it when the serfs are cowed.

Yes, we do. Now bring me a glass of claret! And if you spill it again I'll have you flogged again!

Tim said...

Pogo my man, de Tocqueville told you (told all of us) this was coming:

"“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

― Alexis de Tocqueville

AllieOop's complaint is that Congress's bribe is so low.

In the end, the answer you are looking for has been stated before:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."


The problem isn't Washington.

It's the people who sent them there.

Once the people figured out they could rob their neighbor through the state's police power to tax, the game was up.

Since then, it is simple a matter of how long does it take for the parasite to kill the host?

Patrick said...

Pogo,

You need to snap out of the funk at some point. You're not a serf, or anything like it. Serfs had a short miserable life. Serfs had no say in their existence at all. They owned nothing and had no hope of owning anything. Yet, they escaped serfdom.

As long as government exists in a democracy, people will use it to their own ends, intruding on the freedoms of others. It looks bleak, but it could be worse. There is nothing - nothing! that is irreversible except death. The US has not died, the Constitution has not died. Democracy has not died.

Don't take it lying down. Resist it at the polls, get involved. Run for Congress or the State assembly. Write your Congressman. Weak tea? Only if no one does it.

Take heart. The US has been through much, much worse.

The day may come when the American spirit fails, that is not this day.

Celebrate July 4th. Go to a military graveyard. Think about whether those guys would give up.

This is the day the Lord has made. Enjoy it.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

Yes, our rulers love it when the serfs are cowed.

Yes, we do. Now bring me a glass of claret! And if you spill it again I'll have you flogged again!


As I say, let them indulge themselves enjoying the sound of their own voice and they'll tell you who they really are.

AllieOop said...

Tim, are there no more honorable amongst us?

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

"And then live by the adage of workers in the old USSR: "If they are going to pretend to pay us, then we will pretend to work"

I have had a couple of years off from teaching but will go back in August. It will be interesting to see what medical students are thinking these days. For a while I was an advisor to the student group in gavor of a national single payer program. Not that I agreed with the idea but to help students learn the facts and make up their own minds.

They are very smart but have almost no experience other than as students. When I was a medical student in the early 1960s, many of us had been working in some other field and half the class was married. That is unusual now. My lab partner had a PhD in P-chem and was one of two guys who had developed the solid fuel rocket motor at Rocketdyne. He would go back there to work summers.

Now, I doubt medicine draws those people who have good careers in other fields.

garage mahal said...

I think a "It Gets Better" video project series is in order for our grieving right wing friends.

"Dear friend, let me start by telling you that I too am very scared of ObamaCare. Terrified! No, I don't know you at all. I might have passed you at the mall or caught a glimpse of you driving down the road, but chances are you live far away from me. Even though we are distant, we are not so different, you and I.

Just remember, we can change the world in November, you and I, by electing as President the creator of ObamaCare!"

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

Now, I might add that there are no labs in medical school anymore. The lab facilities have been dismantled. The anatomy course is abbreviated and dissection is mostly optional unless you are going into surgery. Then it is another course. We actually made slides and cultures. Not any more. Maybe it was unnecessary but it removes the physical contact. Nobody uses a microscope anymore. It's all laptops now.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LilyBart said...

I am yearning to breathe free.

...the majority of those we elected on both sides of the aisle are corruptible and are not the true leaders of this country, we elected them to be. Our country is being run by forces that bypassed our democratic system with money and the influence it buys

That's the nature of big government. Its not a matter of electing the 'right guys' to run things for you, you need to keep government small and run things for yourselves (and help you own neighbors where you can).

somefeller said...

phx - good poem, but if you're trying to give someone who's down in the dumps a little pep talk, I always go with Rudyard Kipling. Pogo, go read "If" twice and call me in the morning.

Anthony said...

Government is corrupt, period. It's a feature, not a bug. Once you realize that, so many things become clear.

Paddy O said...

I like Pogo. I respect Pogo. He's one of the great commenters on this site, one of the reasons I keep coming back.

That being said, I'm not sure I agree with him here. Maybe I do, but maybe its that I don't have a lot of sympathy for his profession (even as I respect it and its practitioners just about more than any other profession).

Here's why: Doctors are a little like school administrators. The medical establishment, like the educational establishment, has become entirely bloated and shamefully expensive. Doctors make good money at that game, however. So, the system was pumped up and continued. The medical profession in general encourages this attitude by doctors by keeping far too many restrictions on who can become a doctor and by making it so outlandishly expensive to do so.

A lot of loans needs a big salary, after all.

Then we have the big Pharm companies, who do amazing research but their profits are often not simply about research but about getting what they can.

So, the whole medical world became about maximizing the money. Making it entirely unwieldy to get sick without having to have insurance, since otherwise getting sick would cost the same as a new car. Indeed, if we had to pay the hospital for our recent baby delivery, it would have easily cost the same as a new car.

There was no incentive to change the system, however, because big Pharm was getting paid, doctors were getting paid, medical schools were getting paid. Most everyone either had insurance or could get it, and everyone could get medical care of some kind for anything significant.

So, by not reforming the system from within, there was all kinds of outrage about what must be done and all the usual suspects were trotted out to show their suffering beneath such a system.

The sad reality is that big Pharm and the medical establishment will continue to thrive--they have too much power to actually be affected--but its doctors like Pogo who will feel the hurt. It's their system, however, and those within their system should have led for reform and still should lead for reform so that such overarching and overreaching solutions don't have to become such big political battles.

LilyBart said...

I blame my fellow citizens for turning me into a surf more than I blame the Obama-types. And I hate you all for it.

Tim said...

AllieOop said...

"Tim, are there no more honorable amongst us?"

There is no honor, none at all, in voting for politicians who tell you they will use the police powers of the state to rob your neighbor to enrich you.

None at all.

Chip Ahoy said...

Oh ye of little faith.

Be of good cheer.


You say penalty we say tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax you say vote for us, we say bye.

AllieOop said...

Lily Bart, so let's forgive one another and promise to sin no more. Let's clean house in Washington, is it possible? I want to think it is, or are we truly screwed as I sometimes think we are.

Can Americans get together and quit fighting with each other long enough to bring back our country from the brink?

AllieOop said...

Tim, do you believe Romney is not such a man? What about Romneycare, and please don't say it's a state thing, do the citizens of Massachusetts not deserve to keep their own money too?

Bah, back to partisan politics and believing in "saviors".

ricpic said...

Knowing Pogo, he did and does a professional job even in the demoted status of employee.

Paddy O said...

"I blame my fellow citizens for turning me into a surf more than I blame the Obama-types. And I hate you all for it."

Well, be patient. The tide always changes before too long.

Michael Haz said...

Allie Oop said Let's clean house in Washington, is it possible?

Which of the four Republican candidates for the US Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl will you be working for?

Tim said...

AllieOop said...

"Tim, do you believe Romney is not such a man? What about Romneycare, and please don't say it's a state thing, do the citizens of Massachusetts not deserve to keep their own money too?

Bah, back to partisan politics and believing in "saviors""


For me, Romney is no "savior," only better than the joker we have right now.

Besides which, the larger problem isn't Romney, or even Obama - its an American electorate that wants to steal property from others under the color of law.

If any candidate ran on a platform of eliminating all transfer payments save for a safety net, that candidate would get no more than 15, 20% of the vote.

The proclivity for legalized theft is so ingrained in the political culture, it will outlive the nation its kills.

And, if you don't see that happening, you either aren't paying attention, or are to dumb to understand the nation's fiscal situation.

And no, it has nothing to do with the "Bush Tax Cuts."

AllieOop said...

Michael H, are Republicans any cleaner than Democrats?

Ross said...

If it makes you guys feel better, the people living in the 1890s thought Washington was super corrupt. I guess some things never change.

LilyBart said...

If it makes you guys feel better, the people living in the 1890s thought Washington was super corrupt. I guess some things never change.

True, but government was much smaller then and could do less damage.

Michael Haz said...

Allie - do your own research.

Who wants to take more of what you earn from you, liberals or conservatives?

Who wants more to take your wealth before what remains is transferred to your children, liberals or conservatives?

sleepless nights said...

Yeah, I had that epiphany in 2008. I probably knew earlier in my heart of hearts, but my idealism and spirit of 1776 got in the way. Things look much different after you've fully realized the inevitability of it.

I am currently trying to educate a relative who sees the Bill of Rights as a dangerous step on the slippery slope to Socialism.

The. Freaking. Bill. Of. Rights.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
A justice appointed by George Bush sided with a Heritage Foundation plan endorsed and also signed by Mitt Romney.


Yes!

Because this mythical "Heritage Foundation Plan" (which you can not name and have no idea what it said) totally contained employer mandated birth control coverage, was 2,800 pages mandating 44 new major rules and 21 tax increases.

It did!

Really!

Idiot.

Colonel Angus said...

I believe Pogo is aptly illustrating that the welfare state that the American left wants to impose on us is dependent on a significant portion of the population that is willing to be productive and innovative while the Federal government is handing out swag bags.

Colonel Angus said...

Tim, are there no more honorable amongst us?

What honorable person wants to run for office when teenage antics from 40 years past are dredged up as 'evidence' of unfitness for office or if your downs syndrome infant is really yours.

John said...

AllieOop said: find honorable and incorruptible men to lead us, a daunting task but one that is still possible in a Democracy.

That's exactly the crux of the matter: There is no such thing as an incorruptible man (or woman). All human beings are corruptible--some more so, some less. But all will eventually succumb to the lure of power, even if their intention is to do good.

Milton Friedman had it right: The idea is not to elect the right people (for there are none), but rather to make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.

Gahrie said...

I am currently trying to educate a relative who sees the Bill of Rights as a dangerous step on the slippery slope to Socialism.

I can see that argument being made. In my opinion, the Bill of Rights fundamentally hamstrung the Constitution from the start. The whole idea of the Constitution was to create a limited government, of enumerated powers. The Bill of Rights encouraged a shift in thinking to our present state of affairs, an all powerful government who can do anything it wants, as long as it does not violate our enumerated rights (at least according to the opinion of 9 people).

X said...

get over it Pogo. they're only stealing your career, or a chunk of it. you didn't see any of these lefties whine when Scott Walker adjusted their pension contributions and they worked just as hard as you did when they got their liberal arts degrees. so get to work and fuck you that's why.

Lem said...

I probably don't have to say this but.. Pogo's are my sentiments exactly.

Astro said...

To paraphrase Drew Carey:

“Oh, you hate your government? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”

Beta Rube said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beta Rube said...

Dear Dr. Pogo, you are correct. Secondly, if you want Garage and his ilk to like you (a terrifying prospect), grab the kiddies, go to the Capitol, and sing hippie songs and yell shame, shame, shame.

They are sick of Conservatives who are upset that Government control of our lives just expanded by a huge meaure, but they thought 18 months of whining and screaming was pretty cool.

God said...

Pogo, let me introduce you to Mr. Dylan.

He even mentions your profession explicitly:

They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

Blue@9 said...

It doesn't matter the type of government, the culture, or the era in history: there is always a political class whose primary interest is the attainment and retention of power.

The best that can be said of our system is that they fight amongst themselves somewhat peaceably instead of raising private armies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You need to snap out of the funk at some point. You're not a serf, or anything like it. Serfs had a short miserable life. Serfs had no say in their existence at all. They owned nothing and had no hope of owning anything. Yet, they escaped serfdom.

And how did they do that. It wasn't by asking nicely. It took a revolution.

We are serfs. Some of us are too stupid to know it. Some are comfortable as serfs.

hombre said...

Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. Heinlein

Penny said...

And DBQ? Some of us "serf" the waves.

Penny said...

I suppose I could hide a gun in my bikini top?

But then I'd be expected to USE it! And that would hurt.

YOU, more than me.

You'd be crying about how bad a shot I was!

Followed by some bitching about how you had to live another day.

Penny said...

BALANCE, woman.

You need some.

Penny said...

And oh by the way.... It's really hard to serf and wink at the same time.

Hoping to teach Pogo though.

We have an election to attend.

Unknown said...

So crucial it needed to be posted again............................


AllieOop said: find honorable and incorruptible men to lead us, a daunting task but one that is still possible in a Democracy.

That's exactly the crux of the matter: There is no such thing as an incorruptible man (or woman). All human beings are corruptible--some more so, some less. But all will eventually succumb to the lure of power, even if their intention is to do good.

....................

That is what our forefathers tried to do. To stop those who would over reach with three separate branches. Where the legislature would write laws about immigration and the executive branch would enforce all of them (I'm going to do my own personal dream act). Where the Supreme Court would defend the Constitution, not help the legislature write law ('psst legislature, its really a tax').

If we want to be more than serfs we need to drive out the ones that are seizing power.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I suppose I could hide a gun in my bikini top?

I suppose you could, but those triple E's will require some ski hook supports to hide a weapon of any significance.


I suppose you think this is funny. I assure you it is not.

hombre said...

AllieOop wrote: "find honorable and incorruptible men to lead us, a daunting task but one that is still possible in a Democracy."

We can agree on the sentiment, but can we agree on the definitions?

AllieOop wrote: "are Republicans any cleaner than Democrats?"

I'm not a Republican, but in a word, "Yes."

AllieOop wrote: "do you believe Romney is not such a man?"

If Romney is true to his faith and eschews the moral relativism of most pols, he may be a step in the right direction.

RonF said...

"... and flag burning [is] good law?"

That one? Yes. I very much do not want either Congress, the President or the Supreme Court deciding that a flag is sacred and cannot be burned in protest. That would be a crack in the First Amendment wall I do not want opened up. And I speak to you as a 20-year Scouter who has personally taught over 100 children hands-on flag respect - how to raise it, lower it, fold it, store it and even retire it through burning it properly. THAT, I submit, is the proper remedy if you see someone doing something you don't like to an American flag.

gregq said...

So, a question for all those who, like Pogo, are horribly upset by this decision:

What has Roberts actually given the Democrats?

ObamaCare will continue in effect from now until Jan 21, 2013. Fine. How much does that actually get the Democrats?

Serious question. IIRC, it gets them some tax money, and a chance to auction off waivers in exchange for campaign donations.

Now, what does the decision get the country?

It gives everyone the sure and certain knowledge that if Barack Obama wins re-election, or the Democrats retain control of the Senate, then ObamaCare will remain the law of the land, and the individual mandate will come into effect in 2014.

No ifs, and, buts, or maybes: if you don't want the Individual Mandate, you need to vote straight Republican.

Who does that help? I'll give you a hint, it doesn't help the Democrats.

Just ask Clair McCaskill, D, MO. That is, if you can find her. It seems she's hiding out, trying to avoid having to comment on the continued existence of ObamaCare and the Individual Mandate.

I think it's pretty clear that President Obama does not consider himself bound by the law, by the Courts, by anything but his own will and desires.

So, what's more important for the US Constitution? Passing a ruling that will be completely ignored once the left-wing "Justices" get a 5th vote?

Or making it far more likely that President Obama will lose re-election, and have no chance of making that 5th appointment?

Do I think Roberts decision was a legally good decision? No. Do I think it was the correct decision? No.

Do I feel that conservatives were "betrayed" by the decision? No.

Was I incandescent with rage when I first read what the decision was? Yes. But on further consideration, I've changed my mind.

The Supreme Court will not rescue voters from the consequences of the voters choices. Translation: If you don't want the Democrat big-government decision forced on you, don't vote Democrat.

Come Nov 6, we'll see what the voters want. And if they really want ObamaCare, then I think they deserve it. _I_ don't, but it's a democracy, not the dictatorship of Greg. If the majority of voters really do want to be subjects of the government, they're going to get their way.

That is as it should be.