The Tragic Lesson from George Washington’s Death: Blindly Trusting Well-Meaning Physicians
George Washington, the first president of the United States, died on December 14, 1799, at the age of 67. He had contracted a severe throat infection, and his physicians treated him with conventional methods of the time, including bloodletting and administering calomel, a mercury-based compound. Despite their best efforts, Washington’s condition worsened, and he died within 24 hours of falling ill. The tragedy of Washington’s death is that it could have been avoided had he not blindly trusted his physicians.
Why Blind Faith in Authorities Can Be Fatal for the Economy and Society
The lesson from Washington’s death is that blindly trusting authorities, even well-meaning ones, can have fatal consequences, not only for individuals but also for the economy and society as a whole. In the case of the economy, blindly trusting central bankers and government officials to manage the money supply can lead to inflation and economic instability. In the case of society, blindly trusting politicians, media, and experts can lead to misinformation, polarization, and authoritarianism.
The Dangers of Inflating the Money Supply for the Sake of Economic Growth
One example of the dangers of blindly trusting authorities is the practice of inflating the money supply to stimulate economic growth. This practice, known as monetary stimulus, is based on the assumption that increasing the money supply will lead to increased spending and investment, which in turn will lead to economic growth. However, this assumption ignores the fact that increasing the money supply also leads to inflation, as the value of money decreases relative to the goods and services it can buy. Inflation, in turn, erodes the purchasing power of savers and retirees, distorts prices and investments, and creates economic booms and busts.
The Consequences of Blindly Following Conventional Thinking and Experts
Another example of the dangers of blindly trusting authorities is the tendency to follow conventional thinking and experts without questioning their assumptions and biases. This tendency is especially prevalent in fields like medicine, where doctors and researchers often rely on established theories and practices without considering alternative perspectives and evidence. However, this approach can lead to misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and unnecessary suffering for patients, as well as to the perpetuation of outdated and ineffective treatments and procedures.
The Importance of Being Informed and Vigilant: Lessons from George Washington’s Death for Today’s Society
The tragic lesson from George Washington’s death is that blind faith in authorities, whether in medicine or in other fields, can have fatal consequences. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to be informed and vigilant, to question established beliefs, and to seek alternative perspectives and evidence. This approach is not only necessary for personal health and well-being but also for the health and well-being of the economy and society as a whole. By being informed and vigilant, we can avoid the tragic mistakes of the past and build a better future for ourselves and future generations.