February 21, 2005

Barefoot doctor...

One of the commonplaces of modern life is being told by liberals how superior the medical systems are in Cuba or China or Canada or Britain or Scandinavia...you've heard the stuff. However, if you keep your eyes and ears open you will also encounter bits and pieces of information that tell you that it just isn't so.

Those bits and pieces aren't much use in an argument. But recently someone had the perfect crushing retort. A Nobel Prize-winning jackass was pontificating on the great strides made in medicine during the Cultural Revolution...and....

...But, alas, there was someone in the audience who actually had lived through the Cultural Revolution in China, and had been one of Mao's "barefoot doctors." He didn't see things quite the same way as Mr. Sen. In fact, he said the comments had quite surprised him.

"I observed with my own eyes the total absence of medicine in some parts of China. The system was totally unsustainable. We used to admire India," said Weijian Shan, now a banker in Hong Kong. Mr. Shan then added an anecdote that tickled the audience, telling how when he first visited Taiwan in the 1980s and saw young medical school graduates serving in the countryside, he thought to himself, "China ought to copy Taiwan."

Mr. Shan added, about Mao's medicine, "If they had made the system optional, nobody would have opted for it."...

This is from a piece in OpinionJournal, entitled An 'Annie Hall' Moment. (The perfect title. Click on the link if you don't get it.)

Posted by John Weidner at February 21, 2005 1:46 PM
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