Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Wrong Tohunga

There are times I get that Farnsworth feeling. Here we are, 105 years since the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907, which crushed all indigenous herbalists (and a fair share of quacks as well) in favour of the British Medical Journal quack union. This white men in white coats monopoly would later go on to prescribe thalidomide to pregnant women and be celebrated in Gordon McLaughlin's The Passionless People:
The Medical Association of New Zealand has not just beaten the system - it has set up a separate, superior one, for itself. It is the finest example of a closed shop, self-regulating, self-perpetuating pressure group yet seen in this community where the climate is designed for them to flourish.

Perhaps my wariness of doctors comes from a childhood around the time these words were written, where the common diagnosis for my various ailments was "Laziness." I do not share the old NZ worship of people just because they are doctors.

MANZ has evolved into the NZ Medical Association, and in the intervening years between the first print of The Passionless People and its re-visitation last year, sweet fuck all has changed. Here's the union's caveated-all-to-hell support for the medicinal uses of cannabis:

This parochial closed circle really should read more recent research. And more history too. Their myopia is hurting people. Only today, GreenCross founder Billy McKee was found guilty on all counts of supplying cannabis to an undercover officer feigning migraines.

This genuine medicine is illegal still, and the men in blue are backed up by the men in white coats. Yet imported quackery and New Age snake oil merchants abound, as Brian Rudman reports today. No-one goes to prison for exposing someone's brain, unless they use cannabis.

L'enfer, c'est les autres.