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Jan 16, 2012                   

Dutch morality, medical morality, favorite explanations

"Alas! because I am an Amsterdammer"
-- Multatuli
Diderot said of himself that he was 'a man who loves to moralize', everyone has his 'tic... mine is to moralize'.
-- The irresistible Diderot [*]

Yesterday I wasn't worth much, what with ME/CFS, so there was no Nederlog. Today there are three subjects

1. Dutch morality
2. Medical morality
3. Favorite, deep, elegant or beautiful explanations

1. Dutch morality

During the second world war more than 1% of the Dutch population was gassed, for reason of being of the wrong race, because most Dutchmen collaborated with the Nazis, albeit all of them went very bravely into the resistance around April 1945. Until then, six times as many went heroically into the Waffen-SS as were in the resistance, which I admit was very dangerous. My father, mother and grandfather did go into the restistance, and while my grandfather was murdered in a concentration-camp, whereto he and my father were sentenced, by Dutch judges, in a Dutch court, as political terrorists. My father and mother were ever since 1945 discriminated for being dirty communists; the judges who convicted my father and grandfather were never punished, and remained in function as judges.

Since the late sixties, the Dutch being a race of traders, where slavery and the trade in slaves were forbidden in 1865, only 58 years later than the British, illegal drugs are semi-legally traded to the tune of several tens of billions of dollars each year, a very profitable legal/illegal trade since the late 1960ies, especially in and around Amsterdam, where the drugsmafia is personally protected by the mayors, but if someone finds the personal courage to protest, he gets threatened with murder and  shot or gassed, and no Dutchman cares, for Amsterdammers admire their mayors, and especially if they help drugs-traffickers in the name of the ideals of the resistance, which is what they do and did for decades, for this then is a prime example of Dutch tolerance, and most moral, most admirable, and indeed most profitable.

When Dutch troops are send to protect Yugoslavians, for the United Nations, they manage to have around 8000 killed by the very guys they were supposed to protect them from, even delivering their own translators to be killed, while their leader declared on camera (*)

There are no good guys and there are no bad guys.
Mladic is my colleague.
Please don't shoot the piano-player!

When an invalid pleads against the postmodernistic degeneration of the Dutch universities in the 1970ies and 1980ies, by asking questions in public, he is kicked out of the university while the board of directors remind him that they take his invalidity "very serious" and assure him he is kicked out because of his "publicly stated ideas". When the same invalid memorizes a few of these things on two patients forums, one and the same Dutch woman, with the same name as professor Bleijenberg's assistant, sanctions him with support of the owners of both patients' forums, because what he says, she claims, is "offensive to Dutch".

So... let's now review the story of "The Amsterdammer of the year 2011".

His name is Mohammed Taha El Idrissi, and as his name shows he clearly is not of Dutch descent. What happened - here is a link for Dutchies and readers of Dutch - compiled from several sources is this:

In February 2011 a Dutch man and a Dutch woman fell in an Amsterdam canal. It was winter and it was cold, so the many Dutchmen who came to see how they drowned watched with careful heroism and with consideration, but could not be bothered to help. Mr El Idrissi, in spite of ill health and bronchitis, jumped into the water and saved both of them, but had to get medical treatment, like the persons he saved. Being poor and not insured, Mr El Idrissi had no money to pay for his treatment, and was therefore fined. The two Dutch persons he saved the lives of left the hospital and never were heard of again. (**)

This story eventually reached a Dutch daily - the same that invited me twice to their building, knowing I was ill, to talk about what I did in Amsterdam, but refused to see or receive me, because I dared to criticize the Amsterdam mayors for protecting the Amsterdam mafia - who made headlines and money out of it, which led to a Facebook-page, which in the end led to Mr El Idrissi's costs being refunded by donations and, eventually, him being made "The Amsterdammer of the year 2011".

"So it goes..."

2. Medical morality

There are hardly any worthwile Dutch writers, that is, if you can read another language than Dutch well, as most postmodernistically educated Dutchmen no longer can, but then the few there are - Erasmus, in Latin or Greek, who wrote "In Praise of Folly" and may have done so because of knowing so many Dutchmen - and Multatuli are really good, if little read, and considered quite difficult, by Dutchmen.

There is much of Multatuli on my site, including the seven volumes of his Ideas with my extensive comments, because I do really like him, but most of it is in Dutch, though I found last year a fine translation of one of his best known stories of book length, originally also in the Ideas, in English:

Walter Pieterse

Indeed, Multatuli complained of precisely the same Dutch tendency I documented in the previous item, namely that the Dutch are prone to come and see tolerantly how someone drowns, and - if they don't throw stones at him - are very liberal with good advice on how to swim, but only moved by miracle to help such a one, since he must have brought it on himself, and God is there to help us all, in Holland.

So I went looking for it, but instead found this, about the race of medical doctors, that I have translated for your benefit, instruction and delectation.

It is from idea 273, and I don't translate all, and do translate freely if adequately. It is relevant to medicine and its practice, medical men and their motives (not all), people with ME/CFS, and indeed to the DSM-5, in which many new "(mental) diseases" have been invented, it is said because of "evidence-based medicine", but in fact for a reason Multatuli saw and formulated very clearly, ca. 1860.

It's a parable, a genre at which Multatuli excelled, and concerns the plight of an ill child and his father, who had send a message to learned medical men, to explain the problem and to move them to help his child:

And they burned, incinerated, fried the ill child. And they plastered it. And they made the child sweat and purged it. And they put ice on its head, and mercury in its stomach. And they rubbed the child, and rolled it, and pinched it...

And all these gentlemen had the rank of doctor or professor. The small tortured patient was buried under official science.

And behold, there came fourteen more learned ones equally officially recognized, equally posh, equally dressed up, and told the poor child:

Be glad and joyful! They did rather pester you... that is true, and you might, perhaps, be justified to complain a little, but be happy. Console yourself with the thought that during that illness, you provided bread, status, and enjoyment to all those gentlemen that did not cure you.

And we... we have carefully investigated your father's message, and found that it never was properly understood. We assure you on our honour - as doctor, minister, professor, etc. - that we will understand the message well...

- Oh, groaned the ill one, that's what all the others also said! Since eighteen centuries there were the same assurances. Would you be so kind as to take away that heavy yoke they put around my neck, and the weight that presses my heart? Oh, I long for some air, some light, some freedom... was all this not written in my father's message?

- But my dear boy, what then would happen to us?

That is true! It is impertinent of the ill, to desire to get better, and to forget that his everlasting fever is the benefactor of the doctor's own family.

Therefore: New needs, gentlemen! New diseases, gentlemen! Always something new. Du nouveau, du nouveau toujours, n'en ft-il plus au monde!

And thus also all the newness in the DSM-5: There are many psychiatrists in dire need of pay! Many pharmaceutical companies depend on it! You should trust their integrity, honesty and most of all their proud evidence-based medicine! (***)

3. Favorite, deep, elegant or beautiful explanations

As it happens, I wrote about The Edge before, namely in 2006, when its theme was "Dangerous ideas", and indeed considered then quite a few of these, in a mixture of English and Dutch.

This year its theme is "What is your favorite, deep, elegant or beautiful explanation?", which is not a bad question to ask, and which receives many answers from the band of John Brockman, who has a sort of electronic salon for what he considers "the best minds".

He poses a question or problem or issue for them at the start of each year, and publishes the answers on his site. You find the requisite links above, including one to an interview in the Guardian with Brockman, who I surmise is in it for the money, as a sort of impressario or editor for his band of best minds. But then that's the way the world works, for the most part, and if it provides interesting ideas for free, it's fine with me.

As it happens, it is a lot of text - 1,164 Kb in html - by a lot of authors, some indeed rather famous, like Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, most quite unknown to me, with a rather too large share of soft scientists for my tastes, but I don't complain, also because I do consider it scientific journalism rather than science, and then the main standards are: Is it well presented? Is it readable? Is it interesting?

So far, I've only read bits, and certainly will not read all, since I am a great skipper of what bores me, but I agree with some selections of some " favorite, deep, elegant or beautiful explanation", such as (links mostly to Wikipedia or my Philosophical Dictionary): Boscovic's explanation of atomic forces, for Boscovic was a fascinating polymath; the scientific method, which only was really hit upon by Galileo; Erasthostenes' measurement of the earth's circumference, because that was really clever and mostly correct as well; Einstein's photons, because that was a bright idea; the principle of least action, another bright idea; the germ theory of disease, idem (check out Semmelweis); the mathematical theory of information ((check out Shannon); DNA - and at this point I have rapidly skimmed the first half of the 1,164 Kb, and looked at the titles of the rest.

There's more that qualifies, and some that doesn't, but it's a bit strange, to my mind, that my own answer, when I saw the question and considered, is not given by any, though some applications of it are. Here is my answer, in just one word: Mathematics.


[*] "The irresistible Diderot", by John Hope Mason, Quartet Books Ltd 1982, p. 8. ISBN 0-7043-2277-3.

(*) Lieutenant-colonel Karremans, the heroic speaker of the quoted lines (on camera) was promoted and pensioned, and now lives with his wife and dogs in Spain, where the weather is much better. He claims he is innocent, did his duty, and was understaffed and got no help. He never explained why he never went on camera to warn Yugoslavians not to come to "the Safe Haven Srebrenica", protected by him and his Dutch troops, if he knew so well he was understaffed, and could or would not do as he was paid to do, but then he probably sincerely believes and believed that "There are no good guys and there are no bad guys", for this is what nearly all Dutchmen then held; what they were thought in schools and universities, in conjunction with "Everybody knows truth does not exist" and "All morals are relative". Ever since 1995, Mr Karremans feels offended by the lack of support he gets, even though he has lived ever since, very well pensioned, in sunny Spain, and not on the 10 euros a day I must live from.

"So it goes..."

From the Wikipedia Srebrenica massacre:

According to the testimony of Zumra ehomerovic:

The Serbs began at a certain point to take girls and young women out of the group of refugees. They were raped. The rapes often took place under the eyes of others and sometimes even under the eyes of the children of the mother. A Dutch soldier stood by and he simply looked around with a walkman on his head. He did not react at all to what was happening. It did not happen just before my eyes, for I saw that personally, but also before the eyes of us all. The Dutch soldiers walked around everywhere. It is impossible that they did not see it.

There was a woman with a small baby a few months old. A Chetnik told the mother that the child must stop crying. When the child did not stop crying, he snatched the child away and cut its throat. Then he laughed. There was a Dutch soldier there who was watching. He did not react at all.

(**) Dutchmen of my moral and financial worthlessness may surmise their names were Henkie and Ingrid. (These are the proverbial names of the typical Dutch supporters of the xenophobic Dutch leader with the Marilyn Monroe hairdo, Greet Wilders, who one must not, I repeat not, call "a fascist", for then Greet and his very many Dutch fans get most offended, while almost every Dutchman knows that a man like Greet can do no harm, what with his humanistic wishes of locking all who are not properly Dutch in camps, to put them on transport: No, it's folks like me, son and grandson of real political terrorists, who are the real fascists, in Holland: If it would have been otherwise, I wouldn't have been removed from the faculty of philosophy of the University of Amsterdam for asking questions, wouldn't I?)

(***) In case you missed it: There are good doctors, and I have met some. There are good men, and I have met some. There are intelligent men, and I have met some, and read more. In either case: What's good is rare; what's mediocre is not good; and especially in politics, religion and medicine there are quite a few bad men, if only because all power corrupts, and the corrupt seek power. For more, see e.g. my A realistic numerical look at human morality + 12 references.


Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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