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…