Unity - Can It Be Done?
By Reed Phillips, DC, PhD
"One for all and all for one." - Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Abraham Lincoln's acceptance speech in Springfield, Ill., on June 16, 1858, when he was nominated as the Republican candidate for the U.S.
Senate representing the state of Illinois, carried the following message:
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.
We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Denver, Unity Conference
Recently, I participated in a conference focused on bringing essentially three differing groups of practicing doctors of chiropractic to the table. The two-day affair hosted speakers from both sides of the aisle, in the middle of the aisle, and a few who didn't fit into either category. The objective was to get acquainted and to look for some level of commonality upon which further discussions could occur. The conference met its objectives and talks have continued. Congratulations to all involved.
Whether a musketeer, an Illinois Republican or a Denver doctor of chiropractic, unity has been, and remains, an issue.
While there may be no single solution to unity, I would like to draw from a speech delivered by Dr. Joseph Janse to the chiropractors in the state of New York shortly after losing a bid for licensure in about 1957. After stating that the lack of unity in the profession contributed to their failure, Dr. Janse offered several poignant and relevant suggestions upon which unity could be obtained. Perhaps we should call these:
Janse's 33 Principles
We must assume the offensive against the enemy within our own rank, our ideological, economic and professional opponent.
- The dogma of exclusiveness and systems of technic.
- Too much importance on philosophy and interpretation.
- The mechanism of resistance. We substitute blind arrogance for enlightened understanding.
- The mistake of emphasizing personalities rather than professional necessity.
- Exaggerating the part to the point where in our thinking it ceases to represent the whole. No technic or system is sufficient within itself.
- The Ponce de Leon "cure-all complex." Healing will never become a push-button affair - there are too many ramifications.
- Isolationist tendencies - we group ourselves according to our concept differences, rather than unite ourselves because of our common basic principle.
- We permit others to do our thinking for us. Chiropractic authorities and leaders are but human; they have had no special dispensations.
- We foster the enthusiasm of fanaticism and blind loyalty, rather than the intelligent optimism resulting from much study and the application of logic.
- We feel it is our responsibility to be unique - extraordinary, exceptional and unorthodox.
- We fail to differentiate between theory and practice. Philosophy is one thing; the application of our philosophy another.
- We are too irregular in our dissemination of knowledge - special technic classes, etc.
- We are too gullible - we fail to analyze - [we are] too impressed with sales talk.
- Many of us are too circumscribed in our concepts - "That's not chiropractic."
- We at times are too intolerant, prejudiced and biased. If I can't get well through chiropractic, I don't want to get well.
- We lack intelligent conviction; too many of us hope we are right and don't know that we are right.
- We lack the full confidence of being able to present our case to the thinking of the educated world.
- We dabble in exaggeration and confabulations. True chiropractic can stand on its own merit.
- The chiropractic profession lacks a good educational system in general. Our schools are still a matter of personality, diverse philosophy and concept. What kind of technic do they teach there? Not, how good is their basic training?
- Our schools still are the feudal strongholds of ideologies and supposed technic systems. We individualize our schools because of their uniqueness, rather than their distinct educational capacities.
- Our schools still make primary education second to individual and personal philosophy and thought.
- Chiropractic education is still a matter of trying to entertain rather than educate.
- We develop a sense of self-importance through rationalization of self-deception, rather than learning and understanding. Chiropractic education still looks with suspicion on the basic sciences.
- Such statements as, "Diagnosis is not indispensable to the successful practice of chiropractic. What has the study of 'bugs' (bacteriology) got to do with chiropractic?" Much of our professional intolerance is bred in the harangue of criticism of medicine and other chiropractic schools that so frequently represents the subject matter of classroom lectures.
- We still possess the "two rooms and a soap box" complex about chiropractic schools as all that is necessary. We need schools with their laboratories, their hospital, their clinic, their buildings, etc.
- A professorship in a chiropractic school serves as very little inducement. The average salary is but a "pot of beans." We need to gather our best instructors and men, establish them as the faculty of an institution, pay them, equip them and let them teach.
- Privately owned chiropractic schools are "passé." The profession must come to assume full responsibility of chiropractic education. Let the profession endow a chiropractic school.
- Research foundation, one lump, one center - don't scatter it to the four winds.
- The profession should concentrate, mobilize all our efforts in one place at a time, [with] a group of men who do nothing other than conduct legislative campaigns. Let's stop playing politics among ourselves.
- Make our laws broad.
- Closer cooperation with other drugless groups - Drugless Practitioners Act, Canada and Illinois.
- Let's stop affecting new organizations.
- We should be more determined to emphasize our harmonies of purpose, rather than the fears and resentments of our fabricated and superficial differences.
While history may alter our "twist" on some of these ideas, Dr. Janse's wisdom perseveres through the ages. I came across this material in an unpublished talk while completing his biography. (Joseph Janse: The Apostle of Chiropractic Education will be released at the National University of Health Sciences Homecoming, June 23-25, 2006.)
It behooves us all to learn from our history and from those who sought to lead this profession in a different time and under different circumstances, all the while dealing with profound issues that persist even today. To quote George Santayana, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
for previous articles by Reed Phillips, DC, PhD.