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To the Editor:—
The present mode of social thinking —individually, in government, and in worldwide relations—may be perpetrating, in the social sphere, the sin which is cardinal in medicine: treating the symptoms of disease and overlooking the basic disease process itself. Society attempts to keep the older person when he no longer will keep himself instead of getting at the root of the disease and teaching and encouraging him to care for himself.The result is the creation of law after law and tax after tax, one often negating the good created by the other. People succumb to the belief that happiness depends upon certain material benefits and neglect the spiritual and emotional side of man. They think that, if they provide the older person with a small monthly check and marginal medical care, they have thereupon done their social duty, stilled their social conscience, and done what they are
Holland WT. SOCIAL PROBLEMS. JAMA. 1960;173(9):1044. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020270070023