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October 1998

Liberty, Anyone?

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(10):1293-1294. doi:

I am not a physician and I do not generally read the ARCHIVES. However, by sheer coincidence I happened across Ringel's1 article, and, because some of the issues she raises are parallel to issues in my own profession, I wanted to respond.

Where there is a demand there will usually be a supply. So long as there are prospective patients with the resources to pay for cosmetic surgery, there will be physicians who are willing to perform them. The free market—to the extent the government does not meddle in the free market—is the world's greatest democracy because it is governed solely by the economic votes of consumers. And just as we look askance at those who, having lost a democratic election, then stage a military coup to seize political power, so we should not look kindly on those who would use the coercive power of the state to impose their values on consumers who do not share those values. As a general rule, consumers should be able to buy what they want and not what others think they should have.