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DIALOGUE Rapping with Socrates Had I worn a hat, I would have tipped it to my colleague Gregg Franzwa for his excellent piece “In the. Shadow of Socrates” \(TO, I will simply say bravo! I wonder what Socrates, Plato or Aristotle would have to say if someone had told them that instead of all that aimless rapping they should go after an M.B.A. In an environment where one of our presidents had solemnly pronounced that “The business of America is business,” and another high official pontificated “What is good for General Motors, is good for America,” it is little wonder that those of us who, for whatever personal reasons, chose humanities as our area of interest, study and involvement, are always queried and endlessly lectured “but why humanities? Don’t you understand there is no money, no future in it?” I, as I am sure, also Gregg Franzwa, have nothing against calculus, chemistry, computer sciences and nuclear physics; but I think we still should not forget that philosophy was the mother of sciences. N. Cherniaysky San Antonio Sophistry Gregg Franzwa’s article “In the Shadow of Socrates” had its amusing moments, but overall it was a depressing .demonstration of much that’s wrong with “philosophy”: philosophers are as rare as ever, and the sophists \(those who themselves the heirs of Socrates. This is clear in the way that Franzwa repeatedly refers to Socrates’ “students.” What students? Socrates explicitly denied \(in the being a teacher. He also denied having anything to teach, except that all men are ignorant. Instead of students, he had friends and fellow citizens. But Franzwa even suggests that Socrates might have sat up nights grading test papers! He even suggests that Socrates might find a modern university teaching job agreeable employment. Both suggestions are absurd. And there are other problems with the article. For one thing, Greeks didn’t wear “togas”; that was a peculiarly Roman garment. For another, “Socrates clearly never went to cocktail parties. . . ” What about the Symposium? Is Franzwa going to draw some fine distinction between a cocktail party and a wine party? And finally, the idea that Socrates would be able to control his trances is nigh onto philosophical heresy. What Franzwa humorously treats as a psychological aberration was for Socrates divine guidance a guidance Franzwa obviously lacked in composing his curious salute to sophistry. Miles Hawthorne Austin Cop-Out Central America? South Africa? Your humanitarian instincts are fine, but your journalistic focus is cockeyed. I might even go so far as to say absurd. I consider it a cop-out for you to write about foreign affairs when the Republicans and rightwing Democrats are carrying off the store at home. Chuck Caldwell is absolutely right: Stick to what you were set up for and do best Texas. Bob Sherrill Tallahassee, Fla. Neo-interventionist Thank you for focusing some attention on Central America. Reagan’s war on Nicaragua must be exposed and opposed by any liberal whose conscience has not been eroded by being on the planet so long \(see Chuck Caldwell’s letter in the It is not “neo-isolationism” to believe that the U.S. should not be trying to overthrow the governments of other sovereign nations. We must stop buying the hard Cold War line of the Reaganistas or we will once again see our young men dying in foreign jungles for no valid purpose. What we are doing in Central America is immoral. Please don’t ignore it to cover the “lege.” It is ironic that when I went to Washington to demonstrate against U.S. Central American interventionism in 1983, I stayed at Caldwell’s hotel. But I had no idea he was a “neo-interventionist. ” Jim Simons Austin 50 Years of Care The economics of health care is in sad condition. The excellent article by Yolande Landry \(TO, most bases. I speak with authority of fifty years of practice, including operating my own hospital for four years. First let us go to the inevitable, proper solution: National Health Insurance, which will be financed by a deduction from all paychecks matched by employers. This will give the Administration “a handle” on costs. It will be something like an improved Medicare for EVERYBODY, even including aliens. Look how it will change ALL hospitals, private, public or “for profit”! You will be welcomed! It will be necessary to monitor charges, and there will be a super Professional Review Organization People are not honest when it comes to money. The Insurance will provide for EVERYTHING that the patient needs, including dental care and medications, etc. It will cost a bundle, but not so much when you consider that it replaces all private medical insurance. It has been fought with false propaganda, such as “socialized medicine,” which it is not. It will be fee for service properly administered, properly billed, and properly paid. It will make all doctors rich! Once they have it, they will love it. ALL industrialized nations except South Africa and the United States have some form of it now. Like all human instruments, it will need “tuning” and correcting. But it will solve the problem of medical care to everybody. Now, I had an experience, 19461950, when about 20 percent of patients had medical care insurance. I operated a private 16-bed hospital. No patient who a doctor thought needed hospital care was turned away. I was worried about the “non-paying” patient. What would I do? First, I learned that I could not distinguish between the “dead-beat” who could pay but would not and the deserving patient who would pay if he had it. To my amazement: it did not matter at all! What happened? What are the facts that would relate to “charity” care even today in ALL hospitals? I found that accountants are all wrong in their counting of the costs of “charity” or “non-paying” care. They like to make it sound as if the hospital is doing a great thing: so they list all charges at full, retail rates. But that is NOT what it costs the hospital. I found that it was the differential between caring for a patient in a hospital bed against that bed being vacant. What is the true cost of caring for a “non 6 MAY 31, 1985