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The campaign of the regular medical organizations of...
The Cambridge (Mass.) Tribune
The campaign of the regular medical organizations of Illinois to secure ante-election pledges from candidates, binding them to support the doctors' legislative program, aroused strong opposition from numbers of citizens who, though probably not themselves interested in the rival theories of cure, are deeply concerned in preserving the freedom and moral integrity of their legislative representatives. Few things are more subversive of free government than the presence in legislative bodies of lawmakers who are pledged beforehand to further some special interest. This attempt of the organized physicians affords an impressive illustration. Here is a special class seeking legislation which would greatly increase the financial revenues of its members, while taking from many thousands of citizens the legal right to employ the practitioners of their choice.
In every legislative district there are, no doubt, many citizens who believe that they owe their health and lives to some one of the various new systems of cure that the entrenched medical societies are seeking to outlaw. It would seem that the legislator would be morally bound to keep his mind free and unbiased, until he had heard both sides of a question so grave and personal as that of one's right to resort to any curative method which one might select; yet this is precisely what the political doctors were striving to prevent by preelection pledges, which would practically make the legislator the doctors' man and establish a most dangerous and subversive precedent.
It makes no difference that the medical interests claim that the legislation desired is for the public good. Special privilege always, in seeking legislation favorable to itself, makes its plea on the ground of "the general good." But in the present instance the fact that there are in our country hundreds of thousands of intelligent citizens who put their trust in the schools and systems of cure which the proposed legislation would prohibit, made it especially incumbent upon legislators to resent any attempt to place them in a position where they could not consider the issue on its merits, after hearing both sides.
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