Community For Better Health Care

Vol VIII, No 5, June 9, 2009


In This Issue:

1.                  Featured Article: We are fortunate to be living in these times.

2.                  In the News: The Arthur Laffer Curve: Logic Strikes Again

3.                  International Medicine: Where is the lowest mortality for Coronary Artery Bypass?

4.                  Medicare: Massachusetts "Universal" Health Care Spends $820 Million to Save $250 Million

5.                  Medical Gluttony: Health Insurance for outpatient doctor's visits compared to cash

6.                  Medical Myths: Massachusetts Single Payer was supposed to save money.

7.                  Overheard in the Medical Staff Lounge: The Health Care Safety Net in the United States

8.                  Voices of Medicine: The Shame of Medicine: The Case of Alan Turing

9.                  The Bookshelf: A Doctor Comes of Age

10.              Hippocrates & His Kin: The Obama Tax Pyramid

11.              Related Organizations: Restoring Accountability in HealthCare, Government and Society

Words of Wisdom, Recent Postings, In Memoriam . . .

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The Annual World Health Care Congress, a market of ideas, co-sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, is the most prestigious meeting of chief and senior executives from all sectors of health care. Renowned authorities and practitioners assemble to present recent results and to develop innovative strategies that foster the creation of a cost-effective and accountable U.S. health-care system. The extraordinary conference agenda includes compelling keynote panel discussions, authoritative industry speakers, international best practices, and recently released case-study data. The 3rd annual conference was held April 17-19, 2006, in Washington, D.C. One of the regular attendees told me that the first Congress was approximately 90 percent pro-government medicine. The third year it was about half, indicating open forums such as these are critically important. The 4th Annual World Health Congress was held April 22-24, 2007, in Washington, D.C. That year many of the world leaders in healthcare concluded that top down reforming of health care, whether by government or insurance carrier, is not and will not work. We have to get the physicians out of the trenches because reform will require physician involvement. The 5th Annual World Health Care Congress was held April 21-23, 2008, in Washington, D.C. Physicians were present on almost all the platforms and panels. It was the industry leaders that gave the most innovated mechanisms to bring health care spending under control. The solution to our health care problems is emerging at this ambitious Congress. The 6th Annual World Health Care Congress was held April 14-16, 2009, in Washington, D.C. The 5th Annual World Health Care Congress – Europe 2009, was held in Brussels, May 13-14, 2009. The 7th Annual World Health Care Congress will be held April 12-14, 2010 in Washington D.C. For more information, visit The future is occurring NOW. 

To read our reports of the 2008 Congress, please go to the archives at and click on June 10, 2008 and July 15, 2008 Newsletters.

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1.      Featured Article: We are fortunate to be living in these times.

Money and Our Future, Mises Daily by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.,| 1/27/2009

[This talk was given at the 2009 Jeremy Davis Mises Circle in Houston.
An MP3 audio file of this talk is available for download.]

We are fortunate to be living in these times, for we are seeing the unfolding of events long explained and predicted by the Austrian tradition.

Maybe that sounds implausible. What is fortunate about our times? The economy is tanking, stocks have been pummeled, unemployment is rising, and Washington is pursuing the worst combination of economic policies since Hoover and FDR. Nor does the new guy in charge seem to have a clue about the limits of what government can do.

Consider what it means to live through our times in the light of economic understanding. Even in the face of calamity, there is no mystery, and hence fear is reduced.

You look at department stores going belly-up, and you know why. You see parking lots empty, and you know the reason. You have friends losing their jobs, and there is clarity concerning the cause. You see depositors in failing banks lose their money, and you are not surprised. Prices behave in ways that shock and surprise everyone else, but you know what's what.

In many ways, it is like watching the movement of stars and planets with the scientific knowledge provided by astronomy — or observing the effects of a plague with medical knowledge.

Without the understanding, the events look mysterious, like a curse from the gods, and their patterns appear random. With the knowledge, with the understanding, we can make sense of the events. Patterns of cause and effect emerge. You see events before they happen, like turning the page of a script before the movie catches up to you. This gives you a sense of intellectual coherence and inner peace — even in the midst of calamity.

If you read what Mises wrote during the Great Depression and World War Two, you can see firmness of conviction and steadfast calm, even as the whole world was going nuts. Intellectual clarity is the key to seeing the right things and doing the right things. It is a matter of knowing the shape of things even before the things take shape.

Knowledge provides a means of curing the ill. It provides a way out, an answer that gives hope. This is a major reason why people with an Austrian understanding in the midst of financial meltdown keep their wits about them.

Yes, it is more than frustrating to see people in Washington spending trillions in a futile effort to repeal economic law. It is sheer madness that they are creating vast quantities of new dollars by means of the Fed's power, even with evidence from the whole of human history that new money only waters down the value of the old, and does nothing to provide a long-term boost to the economy, and much to further distort economic structures. . .

It's like watching as barbers bleed patients in the name of curing them, or bringing in the witch doctors to cast out demons from people with the flu. But even if our knowledge of events cannot stop what these people are doing for now, it provides us with a sense of solace in the face of disaster. We can keep our heads, even as others run around as if theirs had been cut off

If you look at the short run, it seems that it worked. But looking at the long run, we can see that the attempt to forestall recession only ended up creating a bigger disaster down the line. . .

Arguably the last time that a recession was permitted to run its course was following the crack-up boom in the end of the Carter years, as a result of Nixon's inflation. Reagan came to power, with Carter's choice of Volcker at the Fed. Reagan ignored the crying from Congress and the press. He let interest rates rise; the federal-funds rate was 20% and prime was at 21.5% in 1982. Unemployment reached nearly 11%. Inflation fell from 13.5% in 1980 to 3.2% in 1983. . .

In order to understand events, there is no substitute for doing what the media and most economists refuse to do, which is to look at the big picture and the long view, over decades. It is a matter of applying the rule that Henry Hazlitt brings home so clearly in Economics in One Lesson: economics consists in looking at the effects of policies not on one group but on all groups, not only in the short run but also in the long run . . .

In the months ahead, we are going to witness more of these ridiculously futile attempts to patch up a failing economy, and we are going to pay a big price this time. It won't be like 2001 or 1992. We will be lucky if it ends up like 1978–1982. More likely, it is going to be worse — and how much worse depends on just how stupid the Obama administration is going to be. It is hard to imagine that these people will be worse than Bush, but it could happen.

We all must deal with the possible death of the dollar. Many plans have been proposed through the years that would restore the gold dollar, and many have merit. They all provide a means to go back to gold. While they are not lacking in technical detail, they are lacking in something that they can't provide: the political will to do the right thing. They are all premised on the idea that our leaders might be interested in doing the right thing. But the same people that would be in charge of implementing the reform are the very ones who got us into this mess.

If we want to look back even further to find better examples of how to handle recession, we can look at 1920 and 1921. The less the government did, the better the results long term. Murray Rothbard's own dissertation on the Panic of 1819 is an interesting case. He took a look at a pure case in which nothing was done to fix a problem. The problem went away. What was notable about this panic is precisely that it never made the history books. It didn't because the government didn't make it worse.

It is hard enough in the course of regular life to get anyone to admit an error and reverse course. In politics, it virtually never happens. Even in the case of egregiously immoral effects, the political class persists in error, mainly because it is more interested in saving itself than saving society. Guido Hülsmann points out in his new book, The Ethics of Money Production, that "governments inflate the money supply because they gain revenue from inflation." . . .

In the face of this, it is time to deal with political reality that no one in Washington (except Ron Paul) is even slightly interested in: an orderly plan to restore sound money. And yet the problems of fiat money and financial collapse cannot go unaddressed. What's more, the institutions of fiat money are failing, and this fact will be undeniably obvious to everyone in a matter of years.

The techniques are different today, but the incentive and moral result are the same. . . 

We will look back on the end of the Bush administration as an economic disaster, a capstone of many years of horrible foreign policy moved to domestic policy. They will be disgraced, as will the new administration that pursued all the wrong policy measures as a response. The new messiah will face the same reality that the old one did. No amount of bluster, political will, determined speeches, and money flowing from the printing press can get around the problem of economic reality.

In an essay written at the end of his career, and recently brought back to life by the Mises Institute, F.A. Hayek discusses the only serious means of reform that is open to us. We must completely abolish the central bank. Money itself must be wholly untied from the state. It must be restored as a private good, privately produced for private markets. Government must have no role at all in monetary affairs. Money should be produced by private enterprise alone. Banks must exist only as free-enterprise institutions, with no privileges from the state. This plan has also been advanced by Ron Paul. . .

What is further striking about the Hayek, Hülsmann, and Paul idea here is that they offer no plan for restoring a gold dollar. It's not that they would disagree with the idea, but they have fully confronted the reality that the idea of converting the existing currency from fiat money to sound money is essentially a 19th-century ideal that presupposes an enlightened class of political managers. This condition is not met today. . .

A free-market monetary system of the future will not be a policy option in this sense. It is not something we want the government to adopt as its own. In fact, we don't want the government to adopt any particular policy but rather abandon the policy option altogether. There should be no policy at all in the sense that this word is routinely used today.

In this way, a path forward in money and banking is no different from the path forward in agriculture, labor, health care, education, or any other sector. The right policy is no policy. The job of the government is to stop interfering altogether.

Now, I'm aware that this is a big intellectual leap these days. But you only need to consider the myriad ways in which government fails at everything it attempts, whereas the market succeeds. There is nothing about the structure of the universe that confers upon money and banking any special status that requires the government to regulate it, to serve as a lender of last resort, the marker of money, the guarantor of stability, or anything else. A free market in money would work the same as a free market in everything else.

And consider: We are not asking Congress to intervene with a plan. No one is demanding that the Fed adopt this policy as versus that policy. All we are asking is that it not intervene in the attempts by the market to fix the problems that have been created by the central bank and the executive department. . .

What we've been hearing from Washington is that the economy and this country will be patched up by sheer force of will. If we have hope and work together, anything is possible. There is only one thing standing in the way of this wish. It is called economics. Economic reality is more than a brick wall. It is like the sea or the world's tallest mountain, or like the force of gravity itself. Economic forces pay no attention to the wishes of charismatic leaders and their throngs of adoring followers.

However, there is a kernel of truth in the idea that the force of will can make a difference. Transfer this hope and will outside the institutions of government and into the free market — let experimentation and innovation take place under conditions of freedom — and we will begin to see the emergence of an answer. We need the government merely to let the market be free of political violence, and we will begin to see our way out of this mess.

These new times are not the 1930s when a few eggheads in Washington could set most prices and wages and gather the captains of industry to cobble together business cartels. The economic and financial world moves at the speed of light and is so diffuse that no political authority can act quickly enough to control it. The establishment is going down. This is another reason that all believers in freedom have reason to rejoice today.

Twelve to 18 months from now, it will be obvious that there is nothing the new administration can do to patch things up. Obama will be humbled by the market just as Bush and Clinton were before him, but this time the humbling will overwhelm any attempts to patch things up or put a spin on the much-needed upheaval.

The government today is marshalling every resource and every means at its disposal to prop up a failing system of the past. Meanwhile, we live in completely new times. These new times are characterized by an international division of labor, global capital flows, digital information delivery, and the slow but systematic destruction of the establishment in media, banking, and finances. What is emerging to replace them is something that no government on the planet can stop. Markets will not be crushed and they resist control as never before.

Yes, there is suffering, and there will be more to come. But as a student of the Austrian School and a student of the history of liberty, you have the confidence and clarity to see that freedom alone provides the answers.

It is the time for calm in the face of a storm that few fully understand. Let us, as advocates of freedom, be steadfast, rational, clear, and focused on the long term. Be of good cheer and never stop pointing to the truth about freedom. The answer is not the Left nor the Right nor the state. The way out of this mess is freedom. It is time we defer to it, and to the revolution in the status quo that freedom implies, and give up pretending as if any politician can finally stop it. Read the entire article . . .  

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. is chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of, and author of The Left, the Right, and the State. Send him mail.

See his article archives. Comment on the blog. This talk was given at the 2009 Jeremy Davis Mises Circle in Houston. An MP3 audio file of this talk is available for download. You can subscribe to Lew's future articles via this RSS feed. You can receive the Mises Dailies in your inbox. Go here to subscribe or unsubscribe.

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2.      In the News: The Arthur Laffer Curve: Logic Strikes Again

SOAK THE RICH, LOSE THE RICH, WSJ, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore

With states facing nearly $100 billion in combined budget deficits this year, we're seeing more governors than ever proposing the Barack Obama solution to balancing the budget: Soak the rich, say Arthur Laffer, president of Laffer Associates, and Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal.

For example:

·         Lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon want to raise income tax rates on the top 1 percent or 2 percent or 5 percent of their citizens.

·         New Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn wants a 50 percent increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy because this is the "fair" way to close his state's gaping deficit.

Here's the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people.  It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states, say Laffer and Moore.

And the evidence discovered in Laffer and Moore's new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, "Rich States, Poor States," published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before.  The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, Laffer and Moore found:

·         From 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas.

Over these same years the no-income tax states created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts. . .

Source: Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore, "Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich; Americans know how to use the moving van to escape high taxes," Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2009.

For text:

For more on Taxes:

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3.      International Medicine: Where is the lowest mortality for Coronary Artery Bypass?

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery in Ontario and Select US States by Michael Walker, Nadeem Esmail, Maureen Hazel, February 9, 2009 

The purpose of this study is threefold: first, to ascertain whether there are differences between mortality rates associated with coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in Ontario hospitals that perform such surgeries; second, to test whether the aggregate CABG mortality rate in Ontario is changing; and, third, to test whether the aggregate CABG mortality rate in Ontario is different than the aggregate CABG mortality rate in US states for which comparative data are available.

We find considerable hospital-by-hospital variation in risk-adjusted mortality rates in Ontario. Over the period of 2002/2003 to 2004/2005, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and St. Mary's General Hospital were found to have the lowest risk-adjusted mortality rates in Ontario, while Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre and Anonymous Hospital 104 were found to have the highest rates in Ontario. According to the comparison of mortality rates associated with CABG in Ontario and 32 US states, patients seeking to minimize risk of death would be better off having surgery in all but five of the 32 identified US states in preference to Ontario in 2004.

Canadian Medicare does not give access to first class health care, it only gives access to a second class waiting list.

--Canadian Supreme Court Decision 2005 SCC 35, [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791

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4.      Medicare: Massachusetts "Universal" Health Care Spends $820 Million to Save $250 Million

State To Take-Over Pricing and Access to Care, By John R. Graham, Pacific Research Institute

Surely, even the New York Times can figure out that spending $820 million on the Bay State's Commonwealth Care "universal" health-care plan, in order to save $250 million in uncompensated hospital care, is not a good trade-off.

Not according to today's article on the latest state to compel its residents to buy health insurance, which reports those savings as the only positive outcome of this out-of-control program.  Three years ago, Gov. Romney collaborated with the Democratic-majority legislature to achieve "universal" health care by government diktat: squeezing every resident into either compulsory private health insurance or expanded government programs, using both tax-hikes and subsidies.  The taxpayer-crushing results have been discussed frequently in this community.

Today, we learn that, alongside the absurd cost/benefit ratio, the state can no longer bear the costs, which are spiraling out of control faster than other states' costs are.  This reminds us of a fundamental lesson of government power: When the government orders you to buy something, the government will have to step in to decide what that something looks like.

Governor Patrick and his allies believe that they are capable of improving how health-care goods and services are priced.  For example, they think payers should pay for "episodes of care", instead of bulk quantities of items or procedures.  Good idea: We've heard that often from politicians with a far superior grasp of health-care realities than Gov. Patrick, e.g. former U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Michael Leavitt.

Sounds good to me: After all, when I fly on a plane, I pay for an "episode of travel".  I don't pay a fee to the pilot, and another to the co-pilot, and another to the cabin-crew, and another for fuel, and another for "renting" my seat, and......

So, why doesn't the health-spending environment do the same?*  Because the government's interference has prevented it!  Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts claims that it can move ahead on negotiating prices with providers that are based on value, not just quantities.

Maybe it could, if the state freed it to be a competitive insurer.  Unfortunately, I fear that BCBS MA is so hopelessly tied up in government policy that we must consider it a public utility, rather than a risk-bearing enterprise, and have little confidence that it can work the Bay State out of the health-care mess that it's in.

(*I've decided to stop using the term "health-care system" except in extraordinary circumstances: There is nothing systemic about it!)

Posted by John R. Graham  March 16, 2009

 Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.

- Ronald Reagan

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5.      Medical Gluttony: Health Insurance for outpatient doctor's visits compared to cash

WSJ BLOG: by Robert Berry, MD: Another way for healthcare May14, 2009

Before we cede over all control of our healthcare dollars to the federal government under the naïve illusion that it will somehow control costs, improve care, and expand access, it would be worth discussing other options that actually have proven to reduce costs while allowing average citizens to control most of their own healthcare dollars and decisions.

Except for catastrophic injuries and illnesses, doctors' outpatient fees are affordable for the vast majority of Americans.  There is no reason to have insurance pay physicians for outpatient visits – these bills can be settled directly at the time of service or on a retainer basis on terms acceptable to patient and doctor (rather than the one-sided arrangement that now exists with insurers and physicians).  Charges at my direct-pay primary care medical practice run anywhere from an oil change to a brake job – neither of which any American in their right mind would purchase insurance for.  As a result, my annual overhead is about $120,000 or about $200,000 a year less than that of physicians who accept insurance (according to data reported by the Medical Group Management Association).  

Dr. Brian Forrest, another insurance-free doctor, has lower overhead than I do.  In a June 2007 Family Practice Management article entitled, "Breaking Even on 4 Visits Per Day," he reports his annual overhead at roughly $80,000 – just 2/3rds of mine and almost a quarter of a million dollars less than that of the average family physician in this country who bills insurance.  His average charge per patient visit including his time, labs, and equipment is $82. 

If all primary care outpatient visits were settled directly rather than through insurance, the nation would save about $75 billion a year.  It would be even more if outpatient visits to all physicians were paid directly.  This might not sound like a lot in Washington terms, but it should be noted that the total amount paid to physicians is only about $350 billion per year.  Perhaps as much as 1/3rd of the payment to physicians is wasted settling relatively small outpatient claims that could be paid without insurance.

Paying doctors directly for their services has other benefits besides reducing cost.  It has been said, "he who pays the piper calls the tune."  In a single payer system, doctors work for the government, not the patient, and the interests of the two don't necessarily coincide.  When patients pay directly, physicians have to compete on quality and price, forcing them to be accountable for the value they provide.  When doctors compete, patients win. 

Direct payment also forces patients to become more involved in determining how their outpatient dollars are spent, thus reducing unnecessary care.  More money would then be available to pay doctors rather than overhead, making medicine more financially attractive to current physicians (who are considering retiring) and bright college students who having many options other than healthcare from which to choose. 

Single payer will reduce the number of doctors for the future.  Who will want to put up with hassles and low pay when most physicians could do better in other careers?  The physicians who would remain would either be disgruntled from having their careers commandeered by the government or be readily compliant with government edicts.  Single payer will produce a no win situation for doctors, patients, and our economy.  When doctors don't compete, we all lose (except government bureaucrats). . .

Medical Gluttony thrives in Government and Health Insurance Programs.

It Disappears with Appropriate Deductibles, Co-payments or Cash on outpatient Services.

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6.      Medical Myths: Massachusetts Single Payer was supposed to save money. Now it's failing.


Massachusetts's 2006 attempt to cut health care costs and increase the number of insured through a government mandate requiring individuals to purchase insurance has become an object lesson in what not to do in reforming health care, three Harvard Medical School professors report.

Drs. Rachel Nardin, Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein say the Bay State's effort to change the health care market by increasing government regulation has cost far more than anticipated while resulting in higher costs and lower-quality coverage for low-income Massachusetts residents.  They report their findings in "Massachusetts' Plan: A Failed Model for Health Care Reform."

·         Three years ago then-Governor Mitt Romney (R) collaborated with the majority-Democrat legislature to achieve so-called "universal" health care by government dictate.

·         This meant squeezing every resident into either compulsory private health insurance or expanded government programs, using both tax hikes and subsidies.

·         Massachusetts had one of the highest rates of insured residents at the outset of this program and it's still costing a tremendous amount of money and going far over budget.

The reform has been more expensive than expected, costing $1.1 billion in fiscal 2008 and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009.  In the face of a state budget crisis in fall 2008, Gov. Deval Patrick announced that he will keep the reform afloat by draining money from safety-net providers such as public hospitals and community clinics. . .

Source: Joe Emanuel and Colleen Watson, "Study: Massachusetts Reform Not a Model," Heartland Institute, June 2009.

Medical Myths originate when someone else pays the medical bills.

Myths disappear when Patients pay Appropriate Deductibles and Co-payments on Every Service.

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7.      Overheard in the Medical Staff Lounge: The Health Care Safety Net in the United States

Dr. Rosen: Both political parties are now calling for health care reform. We need universal health insurance, they say. Dr. Robert Berry has entered a WSJ blog that contends Universal Coverage for outpatient medicine is far more expensive than health insurance for outpatient medicine.

Dr. Michelle: But patients don't see it that way. They don't care if it's more expensive as long as they don't have to pay for it "at the moment."

Dr. Rosen: That's the problem with any entitlement. Once you enjoy something free, you only want more, more, more, and then even more.

Dr. Michelle: How do you get people to be satisfied with less?

Dr. Milton: Human nature does not allow you to be satisfied with less. Is a kid ever happy with less candy?

Dr. Dave: A little bit of government control leads to more government control and to bigger government and the problems of continued loss of freedom, which is the history of civilization for millennia.

Dr. Rosen: We're the first exception to the progressive enslavement by the government. And as we were warned at the time of the birth of our nation, we have given you freedom, if you can keep it.

Dr. Milton: We haven't done well with keeping that freedom. People under forty don't care. People that don't know history are doomed to repeat it.

Dr. Dave: Our schools are part of the problem. They are not learning even our own history.

Dr. Rosen: Isn't that the socialist dream? Keep them ignorant of the past so they will have to repeat it.

Dr. Edward: When they learn from experience, which they should have learned in a history course, it will be too late. It will then take another millennia to see another strike for freedom as we saw in 1776, which began our 150 years of freedom.

Dr. Rosen: We're getting a little far afield from health care reform which is based on our citizens not being fully insured. But our citizens have better access to health care than any other nation. Most of the nations with socialized big government medicine get on a waiting list, which then satisfies politicians that they have done a good job of covering everyone.

Dr. Milton: But the Canadian Supreme court has ruled that Canadians with universal coverage do not have access to health care. They only have access to a waiting list. They are still suffering and dying waiting for health care to arrive.

Dr. Dave: Isn't that the same story with every socialized medicine country? New Zeeland had such a long waiting list that the government implemented some sort of reform, scratched the waiting list to make themselves look good, and before long, the waiting list was just a list of suffering and dying patients waiting on a new list for health care to arrive.

Dr. Rosen: In this country we have Medicare, a government plan for all citizens over the age of 65 and all the disabled of any age, and Medicaid for the 15 percent of society that are considered poor, and the VA for all the veterans that were injured in combat. That's over a hundred million Americans in the best health care net of any country in the world. Why do we allow our socialistic medical societies and the government to keep the media proclaiming that we have a bad system?

Dr. Dave: That's because the government is not interested in our health. They are interested in controlling us through our sickness and developing an Electronic Medical Record Surveillance System (EMRSS) for retribution against any doctor that doesn't fall in line. They are already talking about huge fines for doctors that don't have EMRSS. Technology doesn't need artificial promotion. If it does, it isn't ready for prime time. Every doctor and hospital I know is moving as fast as is reasonable in implementing the latest in technology of all forms.

The Staff Lounge Is Where Unfiltered Opinions Are Heard.

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8.      Voices of Medicine: A Review of Local and Regional Medical Journals and Articles

Psychiatry: The Shame of Medicine: The Case of Alan Turing

Posted By Thomas Szasz, Prof of Psychiatry, SUNYThe FREEMAN, May 2009 • Vol. 59/Issue 4

Alan Mathison Turing (1912–1954) was one of the legendary geniuses of the twentieth century. The only child of a middle-class English family, the Cambridge-educated Turing played a crucial role in breaking the German Enigma code during World War II, an achievement often credited with saving Britain from defeat in the dark days of 1941. Because of the secrecy surrounding the British code-breaking effort, for a long time only a few colleagues and high-ranking politicians were aware of Turing's towering contribution to science and the war effort.

Turing was a mathematician, cryptographer, and pioneering computer scientist. He was good-looking, athletic, eccentric, and openly homosexual. In 1935, backed by John Maynard Keynes, Turing was elected a Fellow of King's College, a remarkable achievement for so young a man. In 1936 he published a paper that immediately became a classic in mathematics and earned him an invitation from John von Neumann to continue his studies at Princeton University. In 1938, having been awarded a Ph.D. in mathematics, Turing returned to Cambridge and was soon working at Bletchley Park, the famous British code-breaking "factory." When the war ended, Turing moved to Manchester where the university created a special readership in the theory of computing for him . . .

Fatal Treatment for a Fictitious Disease

On June 8, 1954, Turing was found dead by his housekeeper, a partly eaten apple laced with cyanide next to his bed. At the inquest, the coroner ruled his death a suicide. Neither his homosexuality nor his psychiatric treatment was mentioned. The coroner said, "I am forced to the conclusion that this was a deliberate act. In a man of this type, one never knows what his mental processes are going to do next." The verdict was "suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed." Even in death, psychiatry and the state stigmatized Turing as mad. The posthumous diagnosis of suicide as mental illness is the ritual degradation ceremony of our therapeutic age, much as the posthumous burning of the heretic's corpse was the ritual degradation ceremony of an earlier theological age.

No one in Turing's circle, himself included, was able or willing to transcend the psychiatric zeitgeist: Homoerotic behavior and self-determined death are self-evident symptoms of mental illness, it argues, requiring and justifying coercive medical-psychiatric treatment. Turing's psychiatrist, Dr. Frank M. Greenbaum, vehemently rejected the coroner's diagnosis, though not by contesting the claims that engaging in homosexual conduct and self-killing are evidence of diseases curable by doctors. "There is not the slightest doubt to me that Alan died by an accident," declared Greenbaum.

In 1967 the UK decriminalized homosexuality. Overnight it ceased to be a disease in England but not the United States, where for six more years it remained both a crime and a "treatable disease."

Turing's biographer, Andrew Hodges, notes that Turing did not consider his homosexuality a disease, a crime, or a shameful condition. He suggests that Turing opted for medical treatment rather than a brief period of imprisonment because he feared that a criminal conviction would be fatal for his career. Countless of Turing's gay contemporaries at Cambridge and in London—Wittgenstein, Keynes, Lytton Strachey, many of the Apostles and Bloomsburys—sensibly stayed away from psychiatrists. Many famous people—Gandhi, Russell, and Nehru—spent time in prison, though, and went on to do memorable work. This is not true for people imprisoned in mental hospitals. After the psychiatric degraders finish their job, the "patient" is dead—if not biologically then socially. . .

The original function of psychiatry—which is approximately 300 years old—was penological: The psychiatrist stigmatized persons as "mad," deprived them of liberty, and assaulted them with chemical and physical interventions. A little more than 100 years ago individuals began to seek psychiatric help for their own problems. As a result, many people who entrusted themselves to the care of psychiatrists became entrapped in the machinery of punitive mad-doctoring, dramatically portrayed in Ken Kesey's best-selling novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and the film based on it. The recent film Changeling presents a real-life example.

So does Alan Turing's psychiatric undoing.

Psychiatry: Trap, Not Treatment

The identification of psychiatry with medical healing and humane helpfulness is factually false and morally deceptive, concealing an existential trap with untold-of potentialities for injury and death for the entrapped. More successfully than ever, the modern "biological" psychiatrist misrepresents his profession as based on biological science and medical discovery, while more than ever it is based on pseudoscience and therapeutic deception. . .

. . . organized psychiatry intensifies the celebration of its founding quack, Benjamin Rush (1746–1813). Declared Rush, "I have selected those two symptoms [murder and theft] of this disease [crime] (for they are not vices) from its other morbid effects, in order to rescue persons affected with them from the arm of the law, and render them the subjects of the kind and lenient hand of medicine." What did Rush mean when he spoke of medical kindness and lenience? Lamenting the "excess of the passion for liberty inflamed by the successful issue of the [Revolutionary] war," he explained, "Were we to live our lives over again and engage in the same benevolent enterprise, our means should not be reasoning but bleeding, purging, low diet, and the tranquilizing chair." Psychiatry—glorifying the use of coercion as cure—is the shame of medicine.

Article printed from The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty:

URL to article:

VOM Is Where Doctors' Thinking is Crystallized into Writing.

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9.      Book Review: A Doctor Comes of Age

DOWN FROM TROY: A Doctor Comes of Age by Richard Selzer, William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1992, $20.

Dr. Richard Selzer, a surgeon from Yale, recounts his childhood memories of Troy, NY, as the son of one of the town's doctor. His mother, an artist, wanted him become a writer. His father, however, continually reminded his mother of the boys fine surgical hands. Every evening at bedtime, his mother, a self taught soprano, sang an ecumenical litany to her sons, Dickie, as Richard was called, and his brother Billie. She would sing "Shema Yisroel" alternated with "Ave Maria" and "Keep Me, O Keep Me, King of Kings, Beneath Thine Own Almighty Wings," which was Dickie's favorite. His father accused his mother of religious inconsistency. She defended herself: "With prayers, there is no harm in being especially sure." Mother said she was glad she had an untrained voice and had never learned to read music. This way she wasn't a slave to the rules. It was all done by ear and by instinct. If she heard a song once, it belonged to her ever afterward. Dickie never missed her performances at the Troy Music Hall, which had the most perfect acoustics in North America. It still does. No one knows how this accident happened.

Mother was also the "doctor's wife" a position of no small importance in those days. Not a day went by that she wasn't stopped on the street and asked for medical advice, which she ladled out as if it were bounty. She didn't always get it right and a portion of Father's time had to be spent countermanding her suggestions.

Dickie's father was a general practitioner, one of a dozen or so who presided over the physical breakdown of the Trojans. In addition to the usual degenerative diseases, there were rampant alcoholism, VD, malnutrition, and TB. The phlegm on the cobblestones was apt to be red. Father occasionally took the boys on house calls. After the conclusion of each school year, the house calls remained a favorite part of the summer vacation. The office was in their brownstone on Fifth street. Father took care of the prostitutes on Brothel row which was Sixth street. These ladies enjoyed great notoriety due primarily to the reputations of their famous clients. He generally had one or more of the women in his waiting room on most days. Despite Father's repeated assurances that neither syphilis nor gonorrhea could be transmitted by sitting, Mother persisted in washing down the oak chairs with creosote every morning, all the while breathing deep sighs of damnation.

Once Father received two tickets to Havana, Cuba, from a Mame Faye. The prostitute was unable to take a vacation and so gave them to Father "for services rendered." Billie, being an infant at the time, was left behind with friends. On his twenty-first birthday, mother not only explained to Dickie that Havana was the site of his conception, but she took him there.

Father & Mother frequently argued. Mother did not share Father's love for Troy. Born and raised in Montreal, albeit in the ghetto of St. Urbain Street, she considered Troy a geographical come-down. Dickie learned from his parents marriage that there is no need to clear up misunderstandings. It is mainly by them that one day advances into the next and that people continue to relate to one another. The "discussion" between Dickie's parents concerning his becoming a writer versus a surgeon continued.

"When I was 12, and it appeared to Father that he might be losing, he committed the supreme act of seduction," Dr. Selzer writes. "He died. . . Since I could not find him in the flesh, I would find him through the work he did." He became a surgeon. When he turned 40, however, his mother's wish was fulfilled. He also became a writer.

Dr. Selzer returns to his native Troy after 50 years in this is his seventh book. A town with an extraordinary assortment of hookers, (Dr. Selzer did not find out until he was 50, that many of the prostitutes his father treated in his surgery had had him as a client as well as a physician) merciful nuns, spinster schoolteachers, hard-drinking working men, retired professors, and voraciously hungry fat ladies. His insights, humor, humanity, all come to life in this narrative, an art he states he learned from the Bard of Troy, a one-eyed veteran of World War I, named Duffy.

The book was sent as a promotion to our society library. It's nostalgia is worth experiencing.

Dr. Selzer's previous book, Letters to a Young Doctor published by Simon & Schuster in 1982 and in paper back by Touchstone in 1983 was also made available. His twenty or so letters on various subjects would be refreshing reading for many of us. . .

The letter entitled "The Virgin and the Petri Dish" is very relevant to our current sexual awareness emphasis. "Conception is something closed to men. A woman becomes a vessel, a harbor, an enclosure for a jot of yolk and protein--an egg she lays each month, at just the right time, when the hormone runs highest, which is extruded from the ovary, caught up in the fallopian tube, undulated and propelled the whole length of its canal to the horn of the uterus, where the little pearl of great price is relinquished into an enclosed garden in which the rarest of plants is to be grown, the womb, raked clean of all weeds and debris, made ready to receive the egg."

"The sperm carrier waits, biding his time, dreaming of the day when he will let out the equipment on which he dotes, in which all of his pride is invested, waiting for the signal, the glance, the word, or certain touch which indicates to him that the hunger of her womb has become voracious. With pounding heart, the sperm carrier positions himself as his body grows hard and his heart is softened by love, as the sluice is opened spurting a hundred million sperm of which only one will claim the egg. Orgasm is not unlike the pain of childbirth."

I once had a woman tell me the last labor pain as the child is born was like a humongous orgasm. I had never seen it recorded in textbook or mentioned in discourse elsewhere. The rest of his descriptions continue to reveal a sensitivity and awareness, which is difficult but necessary to impart to physicians in their formative years. This book will be an asset to every physician whether in training or just reflecting on his practice or his life.

Read the entire book review . . . 

To read more book reviews . . .

To read book reviews topically . . .

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10.  Hippocrates & His Kin: The Obama Tax Pyramid

Picture an upside-down pyramid.  The only way it can stand is by spinning fast enough or by having a wide enough tip.  The federal version of this is the tax code; the government collects its money almost entirely from the people at the narrow tip and then gives it to the people at the wider side. So long as the pyramid spins, the system can work.  If it slows down, it falls.  It's also what's called redistribution of income, and it is getting out of hand, says Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush.

Everyone should pay taxes to keep the pyramid spinning.

The Blow Dryer           

An ENT surgeon asked, as he was pulling out a wax plug, "Do you wash your ears out in the shower and then blow-dry the ear canals?" Well, it works. Dried wax falls out during the course of the day and no plugs recur. Can you believe the multiple uses of this appliance? The hairdresser says to blow-dry your hair. The ENT surgeon says to blow-dry your ears. The proctologist says to blow-dry your hemorrhoids. The urologist says to blow-dry the prepuce. The gynecologist says to blow-dry under the mammary glands. The dermatologist says blow-dry under all skin folds. The foot doctor says to blow-dry between your toes!

How did we ever get dressed in the morning before the blow dryer was invented?

Medical Bureaucracy

Peter Moore sees four levels of bureaucracy between him and his doctors. After a consultation with his doctor came the seven most expensive words in medicine: "But we better run a few tests." When he met his deductible, he "hit pay dirt—100 percent payback. That's when the dollars ceased to be real. Somebody else was picking up the tab. When I pay for health care in fake dollars, I pay no attention to the charges." About the Canadian system, he says, "Canada, shmanada. The entire country – 26 millions souls – could fit on the pinkie toenail of the U.S. health giant. . . How ironic it would be if, at the very moment when individual freedom of choice is sweeping the world, the republic that started it all tried to solve its biggest problem by embracing what could become the world's biggest bureaucracy. . .

It costs a lot to feed bureaucracies, which are to American society what ticks are to dogs."

To read more HHK . . .

To read more HMC . . .  

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11.  Organizations Restoring Accountability in HealthCare, Government and Society:

                      The National Center for Policy Analysis, John C Goodman, PhD, President, who along with Gerald L. Musgrave, and Devon M. Herrick wrote Lives at Risk, issues a weekly Health Policy Digest, a health summary of the full NCPA daily report. You may log on at and register to receive one or more of these reports. This month, read the informative issues on the opening page.

                      Pacific Research Institute, ( Sally C Pipes, President and CEO, John R Graham, Director of Health Care Studies, publish a monthly Health Policy Prescription newsletter, which is very timely to our current health care situation. You may signup to receive their newsletters via email by clicking on the email tab or directly access their health care blog. Be sure to read why President Obama is holding back almost $7 billion at the urging of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

                      The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( is a strong advocate for accountability in government. Maurice McTigue, QSO, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar, a former member of Parliament and cabinet minister in New Zealand, is now director of the Mercatus Center's Government Accountability Project. Join the Mercatus Center for Excellence in Government. This month, treat yourself to an article on Taxing Sins: Are Excise Taxes Efficient?.

                      The National Association of Health Underwriters, The NAHU's Vision Statement: Every American will have access to private sector solutions for health, financial and retirement security and the services of insurance professionals. There are numerous important issues listed on the opening page. Be sure to scan their professional journal, Health Insurance Underwriters (HIU), for articles of importance in the Health Insurance MarketPlace. The HIU magazine, with Jim Hostetler as the executive editor, covers technology, legislation and product news - everything that affects how health insurance professionals do business.

                      The Galen Institute, Grace-Marie Turner President and Founder, has a weekly Health Policy Newsletter sent every Friday to which you may subscribe by logging on at A study of purchasers of Health Savings Accounts shows that the new health care financing arrangements are appealing to those who previously were shut out of the insurance market, to families, to older Americans, and to workers of all income levels. This month remember: The physician's creed: "First, do no harm" also is a warning to America's policymakers and leaders as they consider massive changes to our health sector. Our freedom to make basic decisions about life, liberty and our health is at stake.

                      Greg Scandlen, an expert in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), has embarked on a new mission: Consumers for Health Care Choices (CHCC). Read the initial series of his newsletter, Consumers Power Reports. Become a member of CHCC, The voice of the health care consumer. Be sure to read Prescription for change: Employers, insurers, providers, and the government have all taken their turn at trying to fix American Health Care. Now it's the Consumers turn. Greg has joined the Heartland Institute, where current newsletters can be found.

                      The Heartland Institute,, Joseph Bast, President, publishes the Health Care News and the Heartlander. You may sign up for their health care email newsletter. Read the late Conrad F Meier on What is Free-Market Health Care?. This month, be sure to peruse the current issues of Consumer Power Reports . . .

                      The Foundation for Economic Education,, has been publishing The Freeman - Ideas On Liberty, Freedom's Magazine, for over 50 years, with Richard M Ebeling, PhD, President, and Sheldon Richman as editor. Having bound copies of this running treatise on free-market economics for over 40 years, I still take pleasure in the relevant articles by Leonard Read and others who have devoted their lives to the cause of liberty. I have a patient who has read this journal since it was a mimeographed newsletter fifty years ago. Be sure to read the current lesson on Economic Education: The celebrated best introduction to the division of labor: I Pencil

                      The Council for Affordable Health Insurance,, founded by Greg Scandlen in 1991, where he served as CEO for five years, is an association of insurance companies, actuarial firms, legislative consultants, physicians and insurance agents. Their mission is to develop and promote free-market solutions to America's health-care challenges by enabling a robust and competitive health insurance market that will achieve and maintain access to affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans. "The belief that more medical care means better medical care is deeply entrenched . . . Our study suggests that perhaps a third of medical spending is now devoted to services that don't appear to improve health or the quality of care–and may even make things worse."

                      The Independence Institute,, is a free-market think-tank in Golden, Colorado, that has a Health Care Policy Center, with Linda Gorman as Director. Be sure to sign up for the monthly Health Care Policy Center Newsletter. Read the latest OpEd articles . . .

                      Martin Masse, Director of Publications at the Montreal Economic Institute, is the publisher of the webzine: Le Quebecois Libre. Please log on at to review his free-market based articles, some of which will allow you to brush up on your French. You may also register to receive copies of their webzine on a regular basis. This month, take you pick of articles . . .

                      The Fraser Institute, an independent public policy organization, focuses on the role competitive markets play in providing for the economic and social well being of all Canadians. Canadians celebrated Tax Freedom Day on June 28, the date they stopped paying taxes and started working for themselves. Log on at for an overview of the extensive research articles that are available. You may want to go directly to their health research section.

                      The Heritage Foundation,, founded in 1973, is a research and educational institute whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. The Center for Health Policy Studies supports and does extensive research on health care policy that is readily available at their site. -- However, since they supported the socialistic health plan instituted by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, which is replaying the Medicare excessive increases in its first two years, they have lost site of their mission and we will no longer feature them as a freedom loving institution.

                      The Ludwig von Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell, President, is a rich source of free-market materials, probably the best daily course in economics we've seen. If you read these essays on a daily basis, it would probably be equivalent to taking Economics 11 and 51 in college. Please log on at to obtain the foundation's daily reports. You may also log on to Lew's premier free-market site to read some of his lectures to medical groups. Learn how state medicine subsidizes illness or to find out why anyone would want to be an MD today.

                      CATO. The Cato Institute ( was founded in 1977, by Edward H. Crane, with Charles Koch of Koch Industries. It is a nonprofit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute is named for Cato's Letters, a series of pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution. The Mission: The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Ed Crane reminds us that the framers of the Constitution designed to protect our liberty through a system of federalism and divided powers so that most of the governance would be at the state level where abuse of power would be limited by the citizens' ability to choose among 13 (and now 50) different systems of state government. Thus, we could all seek our favorite moral turpitude and live in our comfort zone recognizing our differences and still be proud of our unity as Americans. Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute's Director of Health Policy Studies. Read his bio, articles and books at

                      The Ethan Allen Institute,, is one of some 41 similar but independent state organizations associated with the State Policy Network (SPN). The mission is to put into practice the fundamentals of a free society: individual liberty, private property, competitive free enterprise, limited and frugal government, strong local communities, personal responsibility, and expanded opportunity for human endeavor.

                      The Free State Project, with a goal of Liberty in Our Lifetime,, is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world. [It is indeed a tragedy that the burden of government in the U.S., a freedom society for its first 150 years, is so great that people want to escape to a state solely for the purpose of reducing that oppression. We hope this gives each of us an impetus to restore freedom from government intrusion in our own state.]

                      The St. Croix Review, a bimonthly journal of ideas, recognizes that the world is very dangerous. Conservatives are staunch defenders of the homeland. But as Russell Kirk believed, wartime allows the federal government to grow at a frightful pace. We expect government to win the wars we engage, and we expect that our borders be guarded. But St. Croix feels the impulses of the Administration and Congress are often misguided. The politicians of both parties in Washington overreach so that we see with disgust the explosion of earmarks and perpetually increasing spending on programs that have nothing to do with winning the war. There is too much power given to Washington. Even in wartime, we have to push for limited government - while giving the government the necessary tools to win the war. To read a variety of articles in this arena, please go to

                      Hillsdale College, the premier small liberal arts college in southern Michigan with about 1,200 students, was founded in 1844 with the mission of "educating for liberty." It is proud of its principled refusal to accept any federal funds, even in the form of student grants and loans, and of its historic policy of non-discrimination and equal opportunity. The price of freedom is never cheap. While schools throughout the nation are bowing to an unconstitutional federal mandate that schools must adopt a Constitution Day curriculum each September 17th or lose federal funds, Hillsdale students take a semester-long course on the Constitution restoring civics education and developing a civics textbook, a Constitution Reader. You may log on at to register for the annual weeklong von Mises Seminars, held every February, or their famous Shavano Institute. Congratulations to Hillsdale for its national rankings in the USNews College rankings. Changes in the Carnegie classifications, along with Hillsdale's continuing rise to national prominence, prompted the Foundation to move the College from the regional to the national liberal arts college classification. Please log on and register to receive Imprimis, their national speech digest that reaches more than one million readers each month. This month, read Mark Steyn at The last ten years of Imprimis are archived.

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Del Meyer

Del Meyer, MD, Editor & Founder

6945 Fair Oaks Blvd, Ste A-2, Carmichael, CA 95608

Words of Wisdom

"We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. . ." -F. A. Hayek, 1949

"Just as one finds faults with democracy, critics of capitalism will discover that all other systems are worse."  -Paul Kennedy, Prof of History, Yale

"Some people see taking action as work and work as a form of pain. These are usually people who have never experienced the pleasure of working on something they value." -Michael Masterson: Entrepreneur and bestselling business author.

Some Recent Postings

Health Insurance Windfall By Del Meyer, HIU . . .

Can the Health Insurance Industry Survive? By Del Meyer, HIU . . .

Consumer-Driven Healthcare: Are Health Savings Accounts the Answer? By Del Meyer, HIU . . .

In Memoriam

Hans Holzer, ghost hunter, died on April 26th, aged 89

AS FAR as Hans Holzer was concerned, his Uncle Henry had started it. Uncle Henry, despite his humdrum life as a Viennese shop assistant, was a very strange man, who could feel "imprints" from the past in his 18th-century bed, and who taught his young nephew to say good morning to the fairies in the trees. After he had passed over he did his damnedest, via a British medium, to keep in touch with Hans, who had emigrated to New York. This ran up a fortune in transatlantic telephone bills. "Tell him the dog's name was Rigo," cried Uncle Henry, faintly and through static from the Other Side, when he thought his bona fides were doubted.

At four, Hans found himself pretending to read ghost stories in nursery class to a circle of terrified small friends. At 43, with a doctorate in parapsychology (so he said) and dozens of investigations under his belt, he produced "Ghost Hunter", the first of around 140 books on haunted houses, "beings of light", extrasensory perception and hair-raising subjects generally. American television snapped him up. His calm, intense look, his deliberate walk and his soft Austrian accent were somehow both scary and reassuring, just right for footage of night windows banging and curtains inexplicably blowing.

Mr Holzer was keen to tell Americans that ghosts were nothing to be frightened of. Though proud to be the country's premier ghost hunter, a term he had coined himself, he preferred to be called "Doctor" or, better still, "Professor", and thought of as a scientist. He dealt only in facts, he said, elicited from witnesses whom he interviewed repeatedly to be sure they were not crazy. It was not a matter of belief or disbelief, but of hard evidence, even if it had a shimmery and ectoplasmic look.

Burying Aunt Minnie

Ghosts, he explained, were perfectly natural. They were simply human beings who were not aware they were dead. They had shed their outer bodies but not their more sensitive inner ones, in which they walked about much as before. They were either in emotional turmoil, trapped between the worlds of "here" and "there" and throwing vases to get attention, or they were placid "stay-behinds", who had died so peacefully that they never bothered to leave the place they knew. That explained, said Mr Holzer, how a grieving family could bury Aunt Minnie at midday, and find her still sitting in her chair at three o'clock. . . .

His most famous investigation was not his most successful. In January 1977, in company with Ethel Johnson Meyers, he went round 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, Long Island. The house, cold, empty and boarded up, was a wooden Dutch Colonial at the edge of the water. Three years before a young man had murdered his parents and siblings, one by one, in their beds. Since then, sounds of doors slamming and bands playing had been heard there. Swarms of flies infested the place. Green slime oozed from the hall walls, crucifixes rotated and a child with red glowing eyes was seen at the top of the stairs. Mr Holzer, ever the scientist, dismissed most of that. The solution to the "Amityville Horror", as Hollywood soon called it, was simple demonic possession by an Indian chief, who was channelled by Ms Meyers. Hollywood, with whom Mr Holzer had rather tense relations, promptly made a sequel, "Amityville II: The Possession". The Amityville Historical Society, however, could not find any link between the house and Indians, annoyed or otherwise. . . .

No funeral arrangements were announced for Mr Holzer. He did not intend, however, to stick around.

On This Date in History - June 9

On this date in 1791, John Howard Payne, who wrote "Home Sweet Home," was born. Although he was the author of dozens of plays and an actor of some repute, his one success outlived a parade of lesser efforts.

On this date in 1893, Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana. He was one of our best-known popular songwriters. His Broadway hits were innumerable, his lyrics sophisticated, his music catchy and clever: "Anything Goes," "Just One of Those Things," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," and "Don't Fence Me In," to name just a few.

After Leonard and Thelma Spinrad


Logan Clements, a pro-liberty filmmaker in Los Angeles, seeks funding for a movie exposing the truth about socialized medicine. Clements is the former publisher of "American Venture" magazine who made news in 2005 for a property rights project against eminent domain called the "Lost Liberty Hotel."
For more information visit or email