I was listening to Rush's show on Friday. He was doing his annual fundraising show for blood cancer research. 23 years he's been doing it. An incredible amount of money has been raised just during his shows, generous donations from his listening base - all directed towards research to come up with treatments and a cure for blood cancers.
As a nation, we are very generous in our giving to causes like this. Defeating illness and disease is something we can all get behind. Billions of dollars are raised and spent each year trying to defeat these heinous diseases, and thereby lengthen our lives.
What will happen, one day, when cancer is defeated? Yes, there will be celebration. It will be a great accomplishment for mankind. But ... what are the ramifications?
If you take the 'humanity' out of the equation, the defeat of cancer (as an example), will change our lives, change our economy, and have a direct impact upon thousands (if not millions) of lives - beyond those who are afflicted with the disease. Consider ...
What happens to the charitable organizations whose sole purpose is raising money to defeat the diseases? The hundreds of employees who work for those organizations?
What happens to the drug companies, and other research organizations who are staffed and funded to attack and defeat cancer - or even a certain type of cancer? If cancer is beaten, what happens to the folks who defeat it?
What happens to the medical facilities who exist to fight cancer? If a vaccine is developed, or a simple, easy to use treatment comes to light, what about all the cancer centers around the country? All the cancer treatment departments in hospitals all over the country?
What happens to all the healthcare workers, doctors, researchers, and everyone else associated with the fight against cancer - when they are suddenly not needed?
What happens to the financial stability of the companies who are in the center of the fight against cancer, when it is defeated and the drugs to be used become cheap generics?
What happens to our retirement system? How will the country afford to keep issuing Social Security checks to seniors, when the primary cause of death suddenly goes away and the nominal length of life increases by 10 years or so?
Please, don't get me wrong. These diseases are bad news, and we need to defeat them. I lost my parents prematurely because of them. However, the result of such a defeat isn't going to be a celebration for everyone!
I am not the first person to ask this question. However, it is not being asked very loudly. There are a few voices out there who theorize that the search for cures to these diseases is not being pursued as strongly as we might believe. The search for treatments for the disease goes on at full speed. Why would some folks believe this? Because of the money involved. The fight against cancer is BIG BUSINESS. Find the cure, solve the problem, and you end the money flow. Come up with expensive treatments that extend life without getting rid of the disease, and you guarantee continual profits. I am NOT one who believes this, but if you think about it and have any belief at all in black helicopters, you can see why some folks could believe it.