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  Medicine and the Threefold Social Organism

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By: Robert Stewart

Human physical life is trifoldloly organized into nerve/sense system, rhythmical/circulatory system and metabolic/limb system. Health is the harmonious working together of these physiological and morphological functions within the body.(1) Disease, on the other hand, is the loss of a cohesive independence of these three systems, and what was appropriate in one area has now become the source of infirmity in another. Thus, the whole person suffers. Even before the clinical diagnosis can be made, illness must be viewed as the usurping of the whole by the part.

That the social body, i.e. human communal life in its entirety can be similarly diseased - disordered functionally - is a fact insufficiently recognized today. While in the past human beings were more instinctively related to one another socially, since the 16th Century this is no longer possible given the steady breakdown in religious authority, the legitimate cry everywhere for thoroughly democratic State institutions and the incredible pervasiveness of modern economic activity. Just as there is no centralization in the individual human organism and each function contributes equally to the specific whole, so, too, in the healthy social-body three distinct activities must be similarly organized. The crucial difference is that in the trifold social body these separate members must be consciously elaborated: 1) an independently-articulated cultural/spiritual life which allows for the free unfolding of human capacities; 2) totally open democratic State institutions reflecting absolute equality; 3) purely associative economic activity that meets the needs of all consumers.

The current debate as to the rising costs of medical care in this country has obscured a more fundamental issue: how is medicine socialized, how is it to be wholesomely membered into the social organism so that it may neither obtrude nor be obtruded upon by forces inimical to its own inherent nature? As the present monolithic State structure is gradually superseded by a threefold articulation, economic forces will continue to imperil both civil right's relations and cultural freedom. Perhaps the greatest danger here lies in the blurring of the distinction between actual economic activity per secorporatized State and an economically vitiated cultural life. 

A threefold articulation of the social body has nothing to do with utopianism. It simply states the reality that everywhere today human beings meet one another in three quite different social spheres. The importance, however, is to clearly understand within which sphere these meetings occur. Each meeting has its own milieu, its own unique context, and it is this context that characterizes the kind of meeting that occurs. Like art, religion, education and science itself, medicine is first and foremost a cultural/spiritual activity and belongs to that realm where autonomy must prevail. It is an activity of one individual on behalf of another. There may be other hygienic and/or eugenic aspects, but the pristine moment, as it were, is always individually based. Therefore, how medicine is funded is subsidiary to who provides the care in the first place.

Since the beginning of this Century, the practice of medicine has become (re-)restricted by law. The simple proposition of this essay is that State medical licensing laws are a social anachronism and cultural abuse of the law and that the deregulation of medicine vis-a-vis State licensing is preeminently a healthy expediency founded on the very nature of the activity itself and its relation to the other members of the social organism. Besides providing better care and protection to the consumer, medicine - singular - would then become pluralized as the professions of medicine, thus allowing for the de- velopment of real complementarity.(2) With more choice, the actual cost to the consumer would drop precipitously (which today is not a subsidiary benefit). As will be argued, the escalating costs, malpractice litigation and institu- tionalized fraud are directly, if paradoxically linked to State licensing laws.

"Render unto Caesar" has meaning within one sphere only: the political- right's sphere. Medicine, on the other hand, to be socially salubrious, must not become subsumed within Caesar's realm, but must be set free both politically and economically to pursue its high and only mission: to restore the sick to health.

The specious, paternalistic argument for licensing laws as 'consumer protection' is not borne out by history nor by practice. Anyone troubling to research this history (see below) will find that these laws were enacted not so much to protect the so-called consumer as to protect a specific profession from outside competition. In fact, it is invariably the practitioners, and not the public, who clamor most for regulatory legislation. The usual, self-serving contention is that the public is too credulous, too ill-informed and distracted to make an intelligent choice on its own behalf. It is time to overcome this prejudice for the simple fact is that, besides the personal tragedy in believing government can protect an individual from an unreasonable judgment, consumers are already sufficiently protected by the judiciary in every case that can be named. That State medical licensing boards are used to discipline incompetent physicians is, at best, only partly true. Equally relevant are the innumerable times these same medical boards are used, acting by way of the police power of the State, to suppress 'alternative physicians,' squelch legiti- mate, innovative research, intimidate home birth midwives, attack the anti-vaccination movement, and generally limit free choice.

The whole trend of the evolutionary force of modern mankind is in the direction of this threefolding of the social organism. As long as the social life could be guided in all its essentials by the instinctive forces at work... there was no urgent tendency towards this definite membering into three functions. Basically, there were always these three, but in a still dim, unconscious social life they worked together as one. Our modern age demands of man that he now place himself consciously into the social organism. - Rudolf Steiner, The Threefold Social Order

As State medical licensing laws are not only a meddlesome intrusion into the healthy workings of social intercourse, but a barely concealed assault on human dignity, I offer the following three arguments towards their final revocation:


It is claimed that medicine is both an art and a science. Yet, what art is similarly licensed - poetry? painting? What other scientists carry a license - biologists? physicists? Any profession that becomes so burdened by State licensing must give up its claim to both art and science. It becomes what is required of it by the State through the circuitous route of statutory law. It becomes, in legal parlance, 'standard medical practice'.

Every State has its own licensing protocol although fundamentally they hardly differ. The State of New York is rather typical and may therefore be used to illustrate the conceptual fabric of licensing statutes:

Education Law #6512 defines the practice of the profession of medicine as "diagnosing, treating, operating or prescribing for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition." As far as it goes, this may be an accurate description of the 'what' of medicine, especially if mental, emotional and biographical aspects are ignored. The 'how' is then defined by "licensure" in Ed. Law #6522, and this is subsequently determined in Ed. Law #6523 by a State board of medicine, appointed by the board of regents on recommendation by the commissioner. Although #6522 - "only a person licensed... shall use the title 'physician'" - already begs the issue, with #6523 we encounter the first major riddle. It reads: "the board shall be composed of twenty licensed physicians, two of whom shall be osteopaths." Well, if two members of the board are osteopathic physicians, what kind of physicians are the other eighteen? It simply reads: "licensed physicians." Obviously, they are not osteopaths, but what kind of non-osteopathic physician is not determined here.

The 'who' of eligibility for licensure is determined by Ed. Law #6524. To qualify as a physician in New York State, an applicant must fulfill certain requirements, the main being the attainment of a degree of doctor (MD) from a school that has degree-confering powers by special charter from the State legislature. Until the 1920's and 30's, there were three different kinds of medical schools in New York State: allopathic, homeopathic and eclectic. Today, there is only one: allopathic, and this by special charter through the State legislature. Every medical school thus becomes, at least in spirit, a State school for this reason. With Ed. Law #6524, we have come full circle, but with an added little twist, or knot, of irony.

A law in the form of a general concept is always meant prohibitively. Such a law is #6512 above. While obviously not written in the negative - "thou shalt not" - it certainly has been consistently interpreted that way. Such laws are called prescriptive laws. While it may appear to define the practice of medicine rather open-endedly, what we find in fact is a medicine of a decidedly narrower scope, thanks to licensure laws #6522, #6523 and #6524 combined: "The practice of medicine is to be limited to the licensed allopath only. Within the real world of human suffering, the State has designated the allopath, like itself, omniscient - that is, to be all things to all people. This absurdity is the result of two things being attempted at once: a prescriptive and a prescriptive law taken together.

Laws must be general if they are to prohibit behavior. "Thou shall not kill" is a broadly-stated law. "Thou shall not kill with a knife" is specific. While the first is all inclusive, the second, representing a particular instance, allows for a greater liberty. New York State Education Law has done something similar. By limiting the practice of medicine to the licensed allopath, the consumer has been put at a greater risk - the very opposite of the law's supposed intention. In New York State, allopathic medicine has become the defining modality. This has had dire social consequences. Mentioned earlier were the escalating costs and the routine nature of many treatments (i.e. cancer). Nowhere is the calamitous effects of licensing laws more apparent than in the issues now surrounding the so-called 'right to die' movement. Here, a single licensed modality is dictating the direction of the entire debate. It would seem that humanity may be betrayed as much by what licensing laws allow as by what they disallow.

The cadence of law is often marked by a judge's gavel. The People vs. Reuben Amber, 1973, is a case in point. Although Reuben Amber was an acupuncturist, and acupuncture was not taught in State-chartered medical schools, the court found that the law was not to be limited to "Western, allopathic medicine." This is interesting: while medicine is to be regarded as potentially limitless, the actual practitioner (MD) - that is, those who may practice medicine as defined by previous law - is to be limited to just that: "Western allopathy." The court went further, maintaining that the law was to be "broad enough to include the gamut of those known, whether or not recognized, and even those not yet conjured" (a strange word, conjured, to be used when speaking of medicine). The law is clearly defined here to include the element of time within its scope; all possible ideas, past and future, whether divergent or still unformed, are to be contained within its compass.

Indeed, a fairly egregious compass. It would appear that the State of New York has assumed a power to restrain thought, and this in an area that purports to be a science. It is the fact that you think, not what you think, that is actually being regulated by such laws. The thought content is either very strictly confined by law or else filtered through the sieve of allopathic training in order to qualify as a legitimate medical idea. These kinds of law, so paradoxical in intention, are intellectually abhorrent; by offering what they cannot give, by prohibiting what they would seem to proffer, they stupefy the mind. All those engaged in the care and healing of the sick must feel acutely, if not chronically, burdened by such laws.

"A license... is a personal privilege, to be exercised under restrictions which exist at the time license is granted and such as may thereafter by reasonably imposed."

The State has claimed that nobody has a "vested right" to practice medicine. To attempt to heal the sick and disabled, to offer to succor pain and suffering is not to be construed in any way as a human right; it only seems so. It is a privilege granted, on a provisional basis, by the State of New York. However, the concept of privilege is ultimately at odds with the real un- foldment of compassion and empathy. Privilege always divides, excludes and isolates. Perhaps the alienation so often felt in the modern clinical situation may not be the result of a sterile technique alone but may lie much deeper like some primal fault in the bedrock of fellow-feeling; that which would be whole is splintered and slaked by privilege. This is an observation I don't expect the privileged to immediately understand; it takes a sense for the social that privilege abjures. Privilege harms no one more than the privileged themselves.

How are all these statutes defended? The usual argument is an appeal to the infamous "public welfare" clause. Besides prolonged epidemics, sanitation concerns and environmental pollution, in what sense ever is the treatment of human illness to be considered part of the public welfare? Certainly, we all wish the ill to become well, but this cannot become public policy for the simple reason that illness, like death, is a private affair. Secretly, we might want others to join us, but sickness really sets us apart from others, separates us from what is most public, and privatizes us. As to the possibility that the unscrupulous may then prey upon this vulnerability, licensing laws offer no real protection. Witness the incredible case load of medical litigation in today's courts. A license does not protect from malpractice, does not secure from slovenly or inattentive care, does not insure against incompetence. A court does. This is just the point: consumers are already protected by tort law from injury and abuse of whatever kind, including medical. Licensing laws encourage a kind of institutionalized fraud. This is implicit in all of the above. The problem, however, is that because of these same laws, consumers do not have as ready access to the courts as they do with outright abuse.

The State has always maintained that a society of individuals is incapable of self-regulation. The usual rant is that people are generally too gullible, naive, complacent and self-deluded to be trusted to their own judgment in matters as intimate as health and disease. In order to save us from the terrible burden of independent thought, the State has become a kind of pater familias - like some giant Kronos devouring his own, absorbing by degrees both body and mind. Ordinary citizens (excepting legislators) are obviously capable of the most divergent behavior, of the most vile thoughts; whether ignorant or malicious, we must be protected from ourselves. The State has always held this position in respect to individuality. It is the opinion of a cynic, indeed, of a misanthropist.

There are those who claim that the practice of medicine must always be subsumed within the general rubric of science; that the consumer must somehow be guaranteed the scientific training of today's practitioner, as if science itself were an end and not a means, as if science were not a hetero- doxy. What is usually meant by science in this context, though, is the exact and detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology as it has developed especially in the West in the last two or three hundred years. However, it must be said that this knowledge is not limited to allopathic medicine, but is available to anyone who would take the trouble to leam it. A part of medicine is this knowledge; the better part, though, is in the doing. Some, for instance, may extend this knowledge anthroposophically, while still others would entirely sublimate it homeopathically. Medicine, therefore, is an art and a science inextricably bound in the practitioner's judgment. Those who say that medicine is only a science have never observed a living human being.

The term 'physician' implies a knowledge of 'physis' or nature. Only a Philistine would automatically couple this knowledge with licensure. The State has turned medical sapiens into medical fungens.


Licensure is contrary to the egalitarian nature of modem western society. It is actually antithetical to democracy itself. A doctor endorsed by government exhibits all the markings of an advantaged class. How can a State which grants privileges to selected individuals still claim to represent equity interests? Today, with few exceptions, it is generally allopathic medicine that claims the prerogative of dictating the who, how, why, and when of medicine - largely because of licensing laws. This situation is not immutable and has been called into question before. In order to grasp the full significance of a legalized privilege, it may be instructive to take a brief look at the history of medical licensing laws in this country.(4)

During the period from 1827 to 1830, there was a country-wide effort within both homeopathic and allopathic medicine to establish State medical societies. Licensure developed in tandem to this effort. As homeopathy had yet to receive universal condemnation, in 1830 the Medical Society of the County of New York conferred an honorary membership on Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, only to quickly rescind this membership as homeopathy be- came more popular. By 1841, however, a general anti-monopolistic move- ment, fired by the Jacksonian Democrats, began to sweep through this coun- try, and by 1844, licensure was repealed in New York State, and by 1849, all licensing laws in almost every State of the Union had been repealed. The main point was constitutional: whether the legislature had the right to give to any profession a monopoly on medical care. A healthy instinct was in opera- tion here: "For the common man, it was a triumph of democracy." (Kaufman)

During the remainder of the 19th Century, homeopathic and allopathic practitioners battled each other vociferously for public recognition, for State funding of their schools, for medical commissions in the military and for the right to be allowed to treat in municipal hospitals. During this same period, State medical societies, and the newer national organizations, the American Institute of Homeopathy and the American Medical Association, functioned as quasi-licensing boards, interfacing unceremoniously with the State. The allopathic AMA was the dominant force, often effectively censoring the so- called 'irregular physician' by way of the infamous consultation clause of their Code of Ethics. Sectarianism, homeopathy and quackery were often uttered in one breath. But the homeopaths were no better, accusing the ordinary allopath of barbarism, incompetence and treachery. The uncompro- mising zealotry of both actually left the public less confused than mocking.

Toward the end of the Century, something very strange and ironic occurred. The allopaths and the homeopaths began to close rank and to petition the State legislatures to reenact restrictive statutes out of concern for the rapid development and growing popularity of the up-start chiropractors, osteopaths and Christian Scientists.(4) Just as they had attempted to do to each other previously, "allopathy and homeopathy were forced to unite behind legislation which would guarantee their own existence, but would eliminate the minor sects." (Kaufman) Power, fear and privilege make for strange bedfellows!

The rest is part of public record. The State of New York established three licensing boards in 1891: allopathic, homeopathic and eclectic. By 1917, these three boards had become one: an allopathic medical board. The practice of medicine had become more restrictive and centralized. Later, the belea- guered homeopaths would try to persuade the AMA that homeopathy was really a sub-specialty of medicine, "homeotherapeutics", and that previous animosity had been the result of a misguided fanaticism - the pathos of an outmaneuvered loser.

The tides of fortune could have flowed differently, and homeopathy could have become the medical majority, the prevailing sect, able to subju- gate politically and economically, all those whom it perceived as dissenters or equivocators of Similitude. One should not be naive or hypocritical about this: homeopaths might have been as ruthless, suppressive and intolerant to its opponents as any group latched legally to the State. To think otherwise is disingenuous. There is the old adage, as true in medicine as anywhere, about the nature of power and corruption.

Politics is all too often characterized as a mad scramble for privilege. One should consider carefully the social consequence of the present system of State mandated medicine. This is not to deny the emotional aspect of medicine and the fact that the sick want and deserve confidence in their physician; but the present system is not the only nor, in the sense of equity issues, the best system to assure such confidence. Ultimately, licensure precludes such confidence as "real trust can only develop outside any authority, govern- mental or economic" (Steiner).


The present exclusive fixation on allopathic medicine is reminiscent of the situation in Europe before the Renaissance and Reformation in the realm of religion.(5) It was then that the State felt it had a proprietary interest in the spiritual welfare of its citizenry, and religion was prescribed by law. Any deviation was punishable by death. Analogous to the arguments for medical licensing today, the ordinary citizen was obviously incapable of treading the thorny path to God alone without the solicitous, if despotic, hand of the Church working in union with the State.(6) From birth to death, the Church/ State ordained all aspects of social intercourse, for how could the common sinner ever expect to fathom the mysteries of God's ways on earth? It was the Church/State that had been appointed by God as the final arbiter of conscience. (The parallel between the perilous labyrinth of medieval theology and the arcane world of today's medicine will not be lost on the reader.)

Now, almost 500 years later, what the individual does in the realm of religion - in however unorthodox a manner they may seek the spirit - is of no concern to the State: a complete separation has occurred. After centuries of bloody agitation, the State has conceded to the individual the right, if not the capacity of spiritual judgment. The terrible conflicts that have surrounded State-mandated religion in the past (and the debate that will soon overtake education as well) must now spread to other areas of cultural life; specif- ically, to the care and treatment of disease, through medicine.

This is an exact analogy: allopathic medicine is today's church. The one caveat, though, is that instead of death, the power of the economic sword hangs over anyone who would challenge the present unholy conjunction of medicine with the State. Is it not really the soul that hangs now in a kind of medical balance? As it ordinarily takes longer to become an ordained priest than it does to become a State-licensed physician, where are the social safeguards? To claim, for instance, that a State-licensed allopath is now fully qualified to practice homeopathy as well is equivalent to a fraud. It would have been as rational to have claimed that a Twelfth Century ecclesiast was fully competent to represent Hinduism.

It is said that the whole person is a being of body, soul and spirit. Well, as noted, the State can no longer dictate religious belief; we are free to find our own path to the spirit. At the level of the soul, most States require little or no licensing for the practice of psychotherapy, or soul care. As to the physical body - there are laws pertaining to every centimeter of one's corporeality Compared to one's immortal soul and to the prospect of eternal damnation, why would anyone think it was important to the State what therapy or therapist one chooses? This witless irony of history highlights the dualism of materialistic thought: while in the past it was one's spiritual life that was circumscribed by law, today it is merely the body.

Rudolf Steiner wrote in 1919: "'Religion is a man's private affair' ex- presses what is a right perception, but in a one-sided way. In a healthy soci- ety, all spiritual life must in this sense be a private affair as far as the State and economic life are concerned."

The repeated phrases, "spiritual life" and "cultural/spiritual," are used very broadly throughout this essay to describe not so much a condition as an activity. Such activity within the social organism is directed to the develop- ment of all human capacities and not primarily to the yielding-up of articles of commerce per se. Such activity obviously includes religion but also art, education, science and medicine.

In matters of conscience and destiny, the State can have no voice. It is the single individual who must find his/her own way in those concerns that involve him/her most intimately. It is these same individuals who, out of those concerns, may find their way back to one another, not as something prescribed by law, but freely. Here, freedom implies not license (sic) but thought-activated will.

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? - Thomas Jefferson

A Governmental Fix?

The ghosts of ancient Rome stalk the halls and chambers of State and Federal buildings everywhere. A legislative effort on behalf of cultural freedom is likely to meet with frustration and grief given the present incredible lobbyist nature of this organ of government. Besides, doesn't the proposition itself contain a contradiction? Is it reasonable to suppose that real freedom can be obtained in a sphere where regulations rule? A legislative effort on behalf of freedom is a kind of capitulation to the 'benevolence of the despot'; at best, it is a tacit capitulation to a power that can have no healthy interest in the affairs of spirit and of culture. What usually happens is this: another 'special interest group' merely gains some modicum of liberty at the expense of the whole - the very opposite of legitimate democratic activity - and becomes a prime example, similar to religion, of how culture appropriates law for its own end. What actually is wanted in this area is nothing less than an absolute liberty - certainly nothing constrained by law. The question, therefore, as to how to set a limit on State action in the realm of culture is best answered by the judiciary (that, and civil disobedience), as the judiciary always comes out of the cultural/spiritual life itself; for the judiciary, in the threefold social sense, should never subject to either a political process or an economic pressure. Every victory here is a victory for all.

Throughout this essay I have agitated conceptually for the deregulation of governmental licensing laws and the simultaneous self-regulation of the various professions of medicine from within themselves. Thus, the allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic, and anthroposophical physician (to name but a few) would answer only to their own professions, and competency and expertise would subsequently be guaranteed by way of certification through the profession itself. Who better to qualify a practitioner than the profession? The State can hardly be in a position to judge matters religious, artistic, educational, scientific or medical. The State's role in the cultural/spiritual life, if any, should be held to civil liberty issues only.

Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom, writes, "The usual argu- ments for licensure and, in particular, the paternalistic arguments for licen- sure are satisfied almost entirely by certification alone. If the argument is that we are too ignorant to judge good practitioners, all that is needed is to make the relevant information available. If, in full knowledge, we still want to go to someone who is not certified, that is our business."(7)

The difference between certification and licensure is crucial. The one is a free unfolding of mutual understanding, while the other is a political/legal arrangement. The former accurately affirms a level of competency, while the latter, by restricting the whole, encourages dishonesty. (For instance, the term, 'alternative medicine' can only make sense under the present licensure system.) Under a self-governing cultural/spiritual life, real relations may develop that respect human destiny issues and that allow for the affirmation and maturing of individual conscience. Non-governmental certification stays within its proper sphere, while licensure is an unhealthy abdication of medicine to the State. It is ironic that the word "license" has this dual meaning of both permission and liberty (L: licere/licentia). What kind of liberty is it, then, that must be compulsed by law?

A new understanding of social evolution rang out at the end of the 1800's with the words: liberte, equalite fratemite. The tripartite nature of the modem social organism was for the first time clearly made conscious with these words: fraternity was to characterize the associative nature of economic activity (socialism); equality was to be the hallmark of human rights (democracy); and liberty, the sine qua non of all cultural/spiritual work. In the unitary State structure, however, the separate and legitimate role of each becomes alloyed with and confounded by the other, rendering the whole disordered and infirmed. Therefore, as the social organism struggles to disentangle and articulate these three separate spheres of communal life, the health of this organism becomes inversely proportional to the degree of usurpation of one organ or function by another and directly proportional to the cohesive independence of each. Today, humanity wants to see reflected in its social institutions an image of its own threefold nature.(8)

But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow, and not lead the character and progress of the citizen.. .and they only who build on Ideas, build for eternity. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Current prophylactic law, as it is called, is a testament to the amount of fear still embedded in society - better said to the amount of fear injected into society by the politically powerful. Power always means power over someone or something. The scepter is never brandished in vain; a show of force is calculated to deter even the most flagrant recidivist. The 'public welfare' seems to necessitate, from the State's point of view, the coupling of power with fear.

Medicine, on the other hand, comes from an entirely different place in the social order. Since the Greeks, it has been identified with Eros, or love, and with the general perfection of human nature. Plato and Aristotle both affirmed that the medical relationship was thus an 'iatrification of philia', or friendship. Later, this was further extended into Christian charity.

Love needs the condition of complete freedom in order to unfold; power, to be continually restrained. As Love is corrupted by power, so is freedom constricted by fear. It is only within the self-regulated cultural/spiritual life that the baneful influence of power and fear can be counteracted by the medical equation of freedom and love. To attempt to heal the sick is not a privilege - at least not a privilege the State can confer; it is a responsibility that only the individual can enter into freely, or not at all.

Many have taken a long, hard look at the present social situation and correctly concluded: the patient is ill. Few have understood the situation from a threefold, historical perspective. Many clamor for an immediate social renewal while secretly believing that everything should remain the same. To say that "before this can change that must change" is an argument for the status quo that could go on forever. The entire cultural/spiritual life of humanity has, by now, become thoroughly scleroticized by this status quo. We continue to tinker with funding issues, with scapegoating the 'uninsured', and with 'managed care.'

The political and economic upheavals of this century certainly signal the need for a new kind of social thinking. Nothing of what served before seems adequate to the demands of modem life. It is only a social thinking that embraces what lives in the spiritual/historical depths that can breathe new life into communal intercourse as a whole, filling with a real enthusiasm the meeting of one person with another.

Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof. Engraved on the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, PA

The great variety arising from the union of numbers of individuals is the highest good which social life can confer, and this variety is undoubtedly lost in proportion to the degree of State interference.

The solicitude of a State for the positive welfare of its citizens must further be harmful, in that it has to operate upon a promiscuous mass of individualities, and therefore does harm to these by measures which cannot meet individual cases... It hinders the development of Individuality. - Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Limits of State Action

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life... for fear that I should get some of his good done to me: some of its virus mingled with my blood. - Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

Robert Stewart, RSHom(NA) CCH Woodstock, New York


1. Rudolf Steiner has written extensively on the threefold nature of the human being, and its relation to the Social Question. After World War I, he wrote. The Renewal of the Social Organism and Tlie Threefold Commonwealth, dealing with the restructuring of society along lines in keeping with historical needs.

2. There is some talk today about "complementary medicine." Real complementarity would make licensing laws superfluous, a mere redundancy. Perhaps it will then be claimed that some forms of healing are more complementary the others(?). On the other hand, the nominalist would probably like to license everything.

3. Milton Kaufman has written a very informative book on the historic battle for medical supremacy called. Homeopathy in America: The Rise and Fall of a Medical Heresy.

4. Against all odds, chiropractors went on to establish their own set of governmental licensing laws; the osteopaths, through compromise, got absorbed into regular medicine; and the Christian Scientists claimed a religious exemption for their healings.

5. The following observations were derived from conversations with Joel Kobran, editor for The Threefold Review.

6. The fact that it was then two, and not one, is the first signal that homogeneity was breaking down. And with Dutch mercantilism in the 16th Century, a third sphere began to open up within the social organism that was so incredibly vital and restless that it soon threatened to overtake a cultural/spiritual life still hearkening back to ancient Greece, and a State too heavily saturated by Romanism.

7. S. David Young has written a short, well-researched overview of subject: The Rule of the Expert: Occupational Licensing in America, in which he contends, among other things, that licensing laws are a political process to benefit the few at the expense of the public. It should be obvious by now that the term, "medicine", as used in this essay is a rather large rubric including all sorts of adjunctive therapies also presently burdened by law.

8. Physically, the cultural/spiritual sphere is related to the nerve/sense system and the economy to the metabolic/limb system; spiritually, it is reversed.

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