Hamilton AI (1976), High-handedness of HEW, Operative Dentistry, 1(3) 81.
High-handedness of HEW
This issue of the Journal contains several accounts of activities of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The lengths to which HEW is willing to go to assert its will, even to subverting laws, is alarming. The incidents reported are mainly from the Pacific Northwest, but one wonders how many similar incidents there might be throughout the country.
The need for government bureaus to deal with affairs that the private sector of the economy is not equipped to undertake, such as national defense, law and order, and administration of justice is, of course, accepted. However, wherever it is possible, private industry must be allowed to produce the goods and services that consumers demand, not only because private enterprise is more efficient, but because an equally vital concern must be safeguarded-the capacity of citizens to manage their own affairs.
Under private enterprise the dentists of the United States have provided a dental service second to none. Improvement is needed, of course, but government control would do nothing to make the service better. On the contrary, government interference, as we have witnessed elsewhere, would make the service only worse, and more expensive. The inefficiency of government is well known. For example, in fulfilling its obligation to protect its citizens from criminals the government’s performance has been anything but comforting. Between 1969 and 1974 the incidence of violent crime rose 47%, and still is rising. It would be better for the government to direct its resources to solving some of our truly serious social problems, such as crime, than to meddle unnecessarily with established professions, such as dentistry.
It is unfortunate, but true, nevertheless, that bureaucrats, in general, favor extension of government control over the economy, even beyond that provided by law. But bureaucrats should be reminded that they are servants of the law and should operate within it. Wherever they attempt to extend their power beyond that intended by legislation they should be resisted and opposed. Otherwise they may achieve a cherished aim of Lenin, which was “to organize the whole national economy like the postal system “
Good grief! Not that!!
A. IAN HAMILTON
Lenin, V. I. (1918) State and Revolution. 2nd edition, 1974 printing. New York: International Publishers.