I read with some interest the Curtis Caine, M.D. article in the last issue (Medical Sentinel, March/April 1998 [See also “The Seventeenth Amendment” in the Medical Sentinel, Winter 1997 —Ed.]) Unfortunately, it illustrates that a man with a fixed point of view is often loath to allow the facts to interfere. He laments that the “people” have “stripped [the states] of representation” by the nefarious act of electing U.S. Senators by popular vote. He reasons that since the respective State Legislators (with tremendous pressure from State Executives) could no longer directly appoint Senators, the poor States would no longer have a friend in Congress.
This is patently absurd. What is the State but a creation of the people. Who elects the State Legislators in the first place? If a State political establishment is doing acts contrary to the will of the people it deserves censure or replacement. There is no question that the impetus for the Seventeenth Amendment was the knowledge of rampant corruption in the buying and selling of U.S. Senate positions.
What Dr. Caine is clearly saying is that he liked the way big oil, big railroad, big business controlled the elected legislatures. After all, Big Money must know more than the common rabble. If we think our medical situation has been debased and corrupted by the modern, elected Congress, just think how bad things would be if our Senators were all aristocrats (or worse) appointed by States beholden to HMO interests!
Lastly, a constitutional convention is opposed because unnamed “powerful, well financed forces” want one so badly that they even stoop to proposing a convention for “desirable” and “laudable” reasons. The author further states, “we should not allow a Con Con [Constitutional Convention] to be called no matter how convincing [the] argument...” This is conspiracy paranoia par excellence.
Keep watch Medical Sentinel. While we as physicians are often tempted to succumb to paternalism, I, for one, acknowledge that while I am not my patient’s slave, nor is he mine.
Kenneth D. Hansen, MD, JD
Dr. Caine Responds:
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Dr. Hansen’s thought-provoking comments.
Perfect government is going to exist one day, when God establishes His Just Kingdom on Earth. Until then, this representative, Constitutional Republic, devised on the judicious rule of law rather than the capricious rule of man, was the best, so far devised, as representatives of American citizens formed each State and representatives of These American States formed a Union.
The touted crime of buying the vote of 100 state legislators to appoint a paid-for Senator prior to 1913 may have been the cause célèbre for the Seventeenth Amendment, but its ratification (that changed selection to popular vote by several million citizens) has not corrected the abuse, it has just amplified the vote buying crime. The diversion smoke screen conspiratorial tactic did accomplish the desired subversion of disenfranchising the states.
Curtis W. Caine, MD
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1998;3(5):153-154. Copyright © 1998 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).