When I was sick as a child in working class industrial Manchester, I would be taken to see The Quack, aka the family GP. He was a stern man but kind, and always looked for the simple solution before reaching for his prescription pad. He was a dying breed back then and such a doctor nowadays is, sadly, a rare and precious thing.
Having heard my parents use the term all my life, it came with some irony that all these years later I find myself described as a Quack and it’s meant to be an insult. I’ve been called a wide range of other descriptives as well of course, from a number of less imaginative four letter words, all the way to the whimsical “woo artist”.
The only emotion any of these words elicit in me is one of sadness. If we look to the homeopathic material medica, all the characters are in there. If only they had some good constitutional treatment they would open their minds and debate rather than debunk. Discuss rather than go for the jugular. Exchange ideas rather than employ character assassination. One in particular sticks in my mind – a young woman who poured vitriolic anger on to her own web page every time I posted about something homeopathic on another completely unrelated site. At the end of last year I got her Quack of the Month award accompanied by a string of expletives about how she had every right to be who she was. The intensity of her pain and misdirected fury was hard to watch. Homeopathy makes us all more tolerant.
In the first years of my training I wanted to stand outside the tube station – and like the young man who was there every night selling the Socialist Worker’s paper, I wanted to evangelise and tell the world about this amazing thing called homeopathy. Over the years my homeopathy matured and now I understand that it doesn’t work like that. People have to be ready, or desperate enough, to find it. All we can do is let the world know it exists, we can’t make them want it. It’s where homeopathy is at this point in its history – fighting for the right of people to have the option to choose homeopathy if they want it. That’s all. To have this choice legislated against would be a tragic loss of an incredible opportunity to build a healthcare system that really serves the people who need it.
In the meantime, perhaps like other minority groups it’s time to reclaim the word, neutralize it’s intended insult and wear the badge with pride.
After all if I call the sceptics and anti-homeopathy campaigners/bloggers, by the group name Quackbusters, then by definition, that makes me a Quack.
If Quack means believing in an ‘implausible ‘ medicine, if it means prescribing a ‘dangerous placebo’, if it means being ‘deluded’ that homeopathy works, then count me in.
Quack, that’s me – Out and Proud.
PS. Sceptic : someone who questions or doubts accepted opinions. Since to get to homeopathy most of us questioned accepted opinion about current medical thought, WE ARE the sceptics in this scenario! :-)
Dissembler: this is a word I didn’t know. It was listed along with Mountebank, Charlatan, and Imposter and defined as: allthough all these deceivers are out to fool others, it is the dissembler who is primarily interested in disguising or concealing their true motives or evil purpose. In light of the current Evidence Check, all I can say is hmmmmmmmm.