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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 1, 1994, Vol. 12, Issue 14

Courage vs. Cowardice -- The Opposite of Courage Is Not Cowardice, It's Conformity ...

By John Hofmann, DC, FICA
Ever notice that the people who advocate expanding the scope of chiropractic are always the ones who are not successful in their own practice?

The ones who struggle to make ends meet because of lack of hard work and enthusiasm are the very ones who tell the rest of us that we lack a proper education.

How about those who want to be "real doctors," advocating more training so that they can be a new class of chiropractors, doctors of chiropractic medicine or some other such new name.

Not too long ago an ACA legal council proposed that we change our name, eliminate the idea of subluxation and legislate some type of control to curb the further expansion of chiropractic. We already have at least two new names to use (chiropractic medicine and orthopractors), just in case we need them.

Many of you have written and called me explaining that the current chiro-bashing by the paid media is the result of the drug industry and their medical trade groups. For my money, that doesn't sound all that far fetched. What the AMA lost in the anti-trust suit they may win in the long run by "allowing" us to follow in the footsteps of the osteopaths -- which is "following" them to oblivion!

Many people are running scared in the face of health care reorganization. They fear not for their lives, but for their income. Understandably, the impending health care reform is something for all of us to get active about, but changing the way we practice to that of a third rate osteopath is not going to be the answer. The people in this country aren't looking for more ways to take drugs: They're looking for better ways to get better without taking drugs, and they want to maintain their health.

There are a "fringe few" trying to change their profession by going to medical school to become what they secretly desire to be, "real doctors." There is nothing wrong with anyone changing professions whenever they choose, but there is something terribly unfair for a radical few to try and change an entire profession to suit their inferiority complex.

If I were the drug industry, there is nothing I would like better than to have an entire new class of pushers for my product. I would go to great lengths to undermine their natural product, criticize their practice and lack of "real research," and set my paid media marketeers out to make anyone not conforming to the "new and improved" chiropractic a charlatan.

It does seem to be working on a small level. Already some of our colleges are making plans to become one of the new breed of "chiromeds." It's not very reassuring to know that when the going gets tough, they go shopping ... for a new profession. With leaders like that who can tell what else might be in our future? Chiropractic dentistry for those of us who have had patients under our care who happen to have a toothache and we just knew we could do better than the dentists with a little more schooling and just a few drugs. Just think, it's all bones anyway. Or how about a chiropractic surgeon or a chiropractic gynecologist? The list can go on forever. No one is all things to all people, but if some want to move to a completely different form of health care they need to be told to get out of ours, not try and destroy the second largest primary care profession in the country. Chiropractic care has been the alternative to drugs and surgery for millions of people.

No matter what reasons these people use for their proposed radical changes to our profession, the lines have been drawn. Fear will not cause the vast majority to abandon the basic principles of chiropractic. Terror tactics used by these groups are seen for exactly what they really are, economic destruction. Self- proclaimed gangs that readily set themselves up as spokesmen for the "honest" chiropractors are only playing into the hands of the medical establishment. They hurt the very ones they claim to protect: our patients. Our enemies then use this to undermine our credibility. We deserve it if we do not stand up and put these people in their places. They are minuscule in number, but the media uses them to create controversy and thus sell advertising space.

The national associations have much to account for and much to stand up for. In the coming months and years watch carefully how they approach the current situation. Do their leaders stand up for chiropractic, or will they allow or even advocate this destruction, this enemy within.

We should not feel inferior because we are doctors of chiropractic. Becoming doctors of chiropractic medicine will not save our profession but will destroy it. We have grown dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years and not because we changed our name, or our position. Chiropractic has been beat up before and has come back even stronger each and every time. If the few who want to use drugs wish to do so let them at least remove the name chiropractic forever from their name. Stop the chiropractic bashing and move on and try to form your own radically new profession. Those of us who love chiropractic do not enjoy hearing the "radical few" on national television, being used as dupes as they tell lies and make untrue statements concerning our care and our profession. The group that is really hurt by this are the millions of people who have yet to use chiropractic as a method of health care.

I am a chiropractor. I am proud of the profession that I am in and its contribution to the health care of the people of the United States. I have no feelings of constraint because I am a chiropractor. Let's not make drugs the new practice builder of the future for our profession. Just look down the street at some of the osteopaths in your area. Several of the DOs that I know have sent their sons and daughters to chiropractic colleges. I enjoy being a first rate chiropractor, and I respect those in our profession who have gone on to get their medical degrees. They showed the courage of their convictions. My fellow chiropractors, the time to act is now: "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

Cicero stated in his Enemy Within:

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims; and wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared."

John A. Hofmann, DC, FICA
Allan Park, Michigan


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