Physician Patient

We need to examine the consequences of public policy before enacting laws and regulations

Skinnerian Behaviorism is undeniably a powerful scientific method and tool. A big question philosophically: Will behavioral science be systematically applied politically — by whom and for what goals? Many Americans and people worldwide understand that we humans are now immersed in an an age of surveillance; our lives are systematically monitored and manipulated by those who have the means to gather (our) personal (digital) data, crunch it, and sell it at a profit. Will we as Americans (continue to) trade our personal data privacy for access to the social network? (Should we be paid by Mr. Zuckerberg if we do?) Some, like author Shoshana Zuboff, blame the loss of our personal privacy on “rouge capitalism” as they call for government regulation of the barons of Silicon Valley and their mega-rich corporations. But empowering government to regulate Facebook will embolden and empower those who want more government control and will result in less personal freedom for Americans. Regarding government threat to our personal freedoms, I do not see our political situation in 2019 as fundamentally different than in 1776. Democratic Socialism then and now is truly an oxymoronic goal.In his novels (Inescapable Consequences, Retribution Fever) Dr. Gene Richard Moss appeals to the practice of democratic republicanism in America. He calls for a rigorous change in how we the people conduct our retail politics — by insisting that societal policy goals be framed in behavioral terms, context, and by specifying the contingencies of reinforcement. The 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a good case example of bad public policy. The ACA spawned unnecessary conflict and many unintended negative consequences for our health care system, patients and physicians.We need to keep alive hope for noble purpose through ultimate agreement among enlightened leaders with the consent of enlightened citizens. So, as a practical matter, will “we the people” elect politicians who think in terms of and propose and monitor our public policy in accordance with the principles of scientific behaviorism?

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