What has been ignored by most people is that all professional organizations, labor unions, other advocacy groups is that all of them seek to get their way through the use of force by the government. For example, the AMA was organized in 1847. With the idea of putting restrictions upon who was to be allowed to practice medicine, who was allowed to train future physicians, and the standards to which they should be trained. Also the number of physicians should be controlled so that there would be a limited supply, which under the laws of supply and demand means they would be able to earn higher incomes. The same basic idea as was used by labor unions here later on with somewhat the same objectives of higher incomes gained through restriction of the supply of available workers. Otherwise known as the “closed shop” where everyone who wished to work there had to join the union. Not that much different from what the AMA practiced as a means of increasing the incomes of physicians. Same basic idea.
The power of the AMA thus rested upon the power of government to provide the necessary “force” needed to make those institutions of education meet the requirements of the American Medical Association. Virtually every profession today relies in one way or another upon the use of force by the government. Doctors, lawyers, all the rest here depend upon the “guns of government” as the means to get what they want. History also shows that labor unions didn’t do very well until they too got the “guns of government” standing behind them to force employers to negotiate union contracts and closed shops. This came about during the FDR administration and the passage of the Wagner Act. The AMA got its objective of making MD’s the gate keepers to medicine through prescription laws that came with the formation of the FDA in 1938. Prior to that time we Americans had the legal right to buy non-narcotic medicines from any drugstore we wanted to use. People also before 1938 could also rely upon their pharmacist for assistance if needed. After the law was passed however, the doctor made the decisions, not the patient or the pharmacist. I should note here that there is nothing in the Constitution stating that the government actually has the legal authority to limit access to medicine to certain classes of people. It has the authority regarding safety issues under the law that established the FDA, but this only applied to the safety of medications. Narcotics could be a different matter, but again there is nothing in the Constitution granting the federal government the authority to control any sort of medication, only the safety being a part of the FDA.*
- Note that states have authority to do things that the federal government isn’t allowed to do. Although the states also are required to follow the Bill of Rights.
As I have noted in another post, the states do have the authority to license doctors to practice medicine and prescribe medicine. However the states can also allow people who are not physicians to prescribe medication. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, along with dentists have the right to prescribe. And in the UK pharmacists have the right to prescribe. Then different countries have different standards as to what is limited to prescription from a medical provider and what can be sold without a prescription. Interestingly there are a couple of older insulins that are sold by Walmart and can be purchased without a prescription. Mexico has over the counter medications that are prescription here in the US. Russia also has medications that are OTC there, but are prescription here in the USA. I guess those who decide these things here in the US are not as “freedom loving” as we might wish them to be. Our governments certainly don’t love freedom very much when a country like Russia allows its people freedoms that we don’t enjoy here. This is not the sort of knowledge you’ll likely learn unless you have the chance to communicate with people outside the US as to what freedoms they now enjoy that we here in the USA (once the bastion of freedom) no longer now enjoy!
One thing I think libertarians must understand is that if we are honest, we will see that freedom can only exist where the use of “force” is very carefully limited to stopping only those who wish us harm. Having a government use “force” just to benefit one group of people at the cost of economic harm to everyone else is definitely WRONG!!
So while we might still have professional groups and people organizing for their own benefit or that of others, such organizations and groups must never be allowed to use the power of the state for their own purposes, regardless of any supposed advantage to be derived from government licensing which benefits some at the expense of everyone else…