I think it goes without saying that most American doctors are Republican. My father was staunchly, embarrassingly Republican, and my mother followed his lead--fortunately, neither one ever cast a vote. The party membership was simply a convenient repository for their particular prejudices.
My mother just told me she plans to vote in this election, and it will be for Romney. "He reminds me of my grandfather," she said. "Kind eyes, a calming voice, he'll take care of our country."
"Good reasons," I told her, and she missed the sarcasm. There's no convincing an 86-year-old woman who believes in shows of strength, and it's not nice to be sarcastic with one's mother, at least not after the teen years.
I have never voted Republican. My teen years were influenced by Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, jobs like the ones I had in a bedspread factory, steam-cleaning machine company, donut shop and volunteer work in a state hospital. Later, housecalls to patients who lived on $438/month wiped out any inclincation I might have felt to vote out of self-interest.
Voting for the public good, rather than out of self-interest, goes against the greatest economic theorist of all times, Adam Smith. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith outlined an economic system which promulgates the gospel that individuals who act out of self-interest are led by an "invisible hand" to promote the public good. They don't intend to do this, and don't know how much they advance public interests, because they only seek to protect their own gain, but ultimately society becomes more prosperous when individuals serve themselves.
Here's Adam Smith: "By pursuing his own self-interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected trade for the public good."
Therefore, I should vote Republican because:
1) Democrats foster the power of a centralized government, and my life has turned to grub because of big government intervening where it should not.
2) Democrats favor increasing taxes for people in doctor income brackets.
3) Obama does not favor caps on non-economic damages, i.e., malpractice lawsuits for pain and suffering.
4) Obama plans to cut Medicare by >$500 billion, which means reductions im payments to doctors, services for patients, and money available to pay for staff and supplies in offices like mine.
5) Obama's mandate to the Department of Justice continues to be, "Crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud!"--without insisting on truth, accuracy, evidence, cause, or government accountability. Having experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the DOJ's carte blanche in pillaging offices, I should not be encouraging his administration further, as it re-possesses so-called fraudulently obtained payments by barbaric means.
6) Running a business when agents come in and tell you retroactively that you've done something wrong (and--in my case--don't tell you what that is), is impossible. Romney, at least, proposes practice management assistance for doctors.
7) Adam Smith instructs me to act in my own self-interest.
It's not out of habit that I will vote Democrat (or even Green party), but because I remember one caveat in Adam Smith's directive. He warned against the possibility that businesses might form cartels, fixing prices and conspiring against the public good. Hasn't this already happened?
If we're not careful, it won't be long before our real world leaders declare themselves as ExxonMobil, Walmart, Murdoch, the Chinese propaganda machine, and the American government. The rest of us have already, in a sense, become their peons.
Farewell, Mr. Smith. The world has changed in ways you could never imagine. It's time we voted with all of mankind in mind.
Instead of following your advice: What's good for the individual is good for the world...we need to be saying: What's good for the whole world is what, in the long run, is going to be best for me.