A thought experiment to tease out issues surrounding the RH debate

This is all about a town called Quackerville. The name of the town comes from the dominant religion, Quackerism, which restricts among other things the use of intravenous blood transfusions. This comes fundamentally from the belief that life is contained in the blood, which is considered sacred. All “unnatural methods” for replenishing this vital life force are considered immoral.

About ninety percent of the populace claim to be Quacks. Their political leaders have until this day refused to fund any blood banks on a consistent basis as a result of their fear of upsetting the religious authorities.

Non-quacks in Quackerville have claimed this to be discriminatory, but since there are no laws that uphold their rights to blood transfusion, it is for the most part restricted to those who are willing to pay for it. Such a quaint little practice, considering that practically all other towns have come to accept the view that blood transfusions are safe and worth the public investment.

Now it just so happens that in Quackerville, there would be a great demand for blood transfusions if it became more available. This is because the most popular past time among the people is sword-fighting which involves real blades. It is part of their custom and was actually encouraged at the beginning to preserve the population when there was a great risk of extinction due to wars with other tribes and famine due to wars.

Although the necessity to practice sword-fighting has diminished in modern times, the popularity of the sport keeps growing since the government, which is riddled with incompetence and corruption, is unable to foster a better climate for business.

Observers find it interesting how so much public piety can occur alongside massive corruption.

Anyway, to counteract the rise in injuries that has led to so much preventable death, church leaders tell the quacks to only engage in sword-fights during the full moon and abstain during all other periods of the month. Judging from the admissions records of hospitals, such admonition does not seem to have worked. Numerous patients pop up all nights of the month regardless of the lunar cycle.

Due to the rise of injuries and deaths, many in the community have started advocating the use of intravenous blood transfusions. They claim that the separation of church and state means that a citizen who wishes to undergo a transfusion should not be denied by the state the right to do so. They say that inadequate funding for an IV program is causing scores of deaths per day.

However, it has been difficult in this highly devout town to get such a measure passed. So as a result, many men and women continue to die after bleeding to death from wounds inflicted by sword-fighting.

These deaths often lead the children of the deceased to drop out of school to look for unskilled work to support themselves. This has not helped ease the rise of poverty and hunger throughout the land, nor improved school completion rates.

The devout quacks however still uphold their views on the issue. They say that allowing blood transfusion will only encourage more sword-fighting, particularly among the young. They say that the first priority should be to eliminate corruption and raise the living standards of people. Blood banks according to them would only profit big businessmen. This intrusion into their way of life has originated from the outside world that wants to take away their cultural identity.

As it turns out, Quackerville has one of the highest rates of teenage sword-fighting in the region. The supporters of the IV Law say that education of the young with respect to the dangers of sword-fighting is needed alongside the blood banks. They say that early prevention of deaths through education is necessary but currently being discouraged by the system.

Fighting corruption and improving living standards they say won’t be prevented by an IV law. In fact, the improvement of quality of life for the children who would otherwise drop out of school due to the death of a parent is one of the things the law would ensure. Corruption can only be quashed they say once a better educated and more productive people emerge as a result of improved health measures like IV blood transfusions. It would be more profitable for the town to prevent the deaths rather than to deal with the problems that affect the survivors of the deceased, many of whom give up their way of life by seeking opportunities outside Quackerville.

The use of IV blood transfusions, blood banks and public education on sword-fighting is totally unacceptable say the Quack church leaders given that it violates their sacred texts.

And so the debate continues…

Doy Santos aka The Cusp

Doy Santos is an international development consultant who shuttles between Australia and the Philippines. He maintains a blog called The Cusp: A discussion of new thinking, new schools of thought and fresh ideas on public policy (www.thecusponline.org) and tweets as @thecusponline. He holds a Master in Development Economics from the University of the Philippines and an MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Funny, and still a lot of people resist the idea of sex education. The only problem with it is how sex education is implemented, like for at what age should be kids learning about this stuff.

  • J_ag8

    How far has man evolved from his primal cave man state?

    Taken from a comment of charges vs. DSK.

    “Journalist Jean-François Kahn, no relation, denied rape had taken place and dismissed the affair as “troussage de domestique”, a phrase that evokes a master having non-consensual sex with a servant.”

    Women’s rights activists see contraceptives as a tool for sexual liberation from the oppressive backward cultural attitudes present even in more modern societies.

    Wealth and power endows men with entitlements even over the fairer sex.

    Men that includes all of us have a hot button that places out primal needs over our rational intellect.

  • manuelbuencamino

    I like this

  • Bert

    The CBCP will not like this, Doy elevating the Catholics’ belief on human reproduction to the level of quackery, no, the CBCP will not like this at all, :).

    I like this article, I think the analogy is just perfect.

    • Oops! Perhaps I should have placed the usual caveat: “any resemblance to real events and individuals is purely coincidental,” but I suppose it’s too late for that!

      But seriously, this piece was meant to tease out the absurdity of some of our beliefs when we step back and consider them from another perspective.

  • GabbyD

    again, thanks to jag’s link, we see that reproductive responsibility ought to include both men and women. and most of this ought to happen BEFORE one gets married.

    “Rebelling, Dolores married the first man who asked her. She was pregnant every year and ended up with eight childbirths and two miscarriages.”

    ” The husband, a construction worker, could not be deprived of sex-on-demand even when she feared getting pregnant. He would threaten that he would find someone else to satisfy him.”

    in HS, wala bang course on married life? like you partner up with a guy or girl (gender doesnt matter), and figure out the myraid of decisions you would have 2 deal with?

    for this, this really should be mandatory tho. religious preferences or not, kids should know what getting married means.

    • UP nn grad

      Common exercise in USA high-school — kids are asked to do a life-science exercise. Girls would be asked to carry a 5-pound flour bag every minute of every day for 1-1/2 to 2 weeks without dropping and bursting the flour bats. Boys would be asked to carry an egg (brown egg, specially-marked so students can’t fake it when the eggs are dropped).

      • UP nn grad

        I said that Pilipinas should use 2 or 3 kilo of rice…. and girl friend says Hah? You an igi-di-YOT?!! You do that exercise in Pilipinas and the parents will cook the egg and make lugaw with the rice.

  • J_ag8

    Back to a more serious vein–http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=64&articleId=688184

    Can women be economically empowered by free contraceptives or is the problem for the state of women in the country a result of flawed economic policies and programs that keep them in their primitive state.

    What is the cause and the effect.. Is poverty the cause or the effect. Is the low per capita income the cause or effect.

    • UP nn grad

      Pinays and Pinoys mistake condoms for balloons and wouldn’t recognize a “vibrator-for-fun” when they see one. That’s the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is crazy-lack-of-knowledge. Unawareness that ejaculation penis into vagina is start when sperm makes contact and baby-baby-baby now one has responsibility // unawareness of what can be done to prevent that swimming-trip where sperm can eventually meet and then say hi-nice-to-see-you to egg. . .

  • J_ag8

    Good piece from The Onion… on post modern culture and abortion…