It is difficult to think about an institution being evil, unless of course we are thinking about institutions that operate outside of the law. But what about an institution that operates inside of the law, is it still evil? Before you dive right into this article perhaps you would like a lighter, easier to read understanding – then I would suggest that you read my post from November 21, 2009 Super Duper Vitamin D3!!
To get a better understanding of how evil manifests itself in institutions, I would like to turn to my favorite expert psychiatrist in this area M. Scott Peck, MD well known for his book A Road Less Traveled. This book is a best seller and has sold over six million copies, but less known is his book People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, Simon and Shuster 1983, was a best seller in Japan. M. Scott Peck died Sept. 25, 2005 at his home in Warren, Conn. Dr. Peck was 69 and had Parkinson’s disease as well as pancreatic and liver duct cancer. Wonder if vitamin D deficiency was an issue?
We all recognize individual evil and how it can be manifested as narcissism or malignant self love. That is a person that cares only about himself without empathy for others. Institutional evil as described by Dr. Peck arises when an institution only cares about its survival without empathy for the individual. In institutions, this develops because of specialization without a clear understanding of who is responsible for the moral compass. Each member of the group does his specialized job without considering the outcome of what it means for the institution and the individuals that are served. So the scientist researches, practitioners practice, and leaders lead. Each is assuming that the other has the individual in mind. We now jump to what happened with the IoM’s Food and Nutrition Board on Vitamin D and Calcium.
The FNB was given the responsibility to give an opinion based on the new research for the many diseases linked to vitamin D and what directions should be given to the general population by the government institutions of health in both the US and Canada. The FNB members felt no responsibility for individuals except in bone health and stated so in their report. Could it be that they did not realize that the popular press and the NIH would use this as general guidelines for the entire population? This included suggesting that there was no need for a serum 25(OH)D level above 50 ng/ml, and levels higher than that could be risky. What is interesting about this last statement is that people in sunny countries have serum 25(OH)D levels that range from 50 to 90 ng/ml and yet the epidemiological studies show that many diseases are less prevalent in these sunny countries. This includes many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, as well as many types of mental illness. Since the FNB stated they considered bone health only, they felt no responsibility to individuals for preventing other diseases. It has been left up to the individual doctor, responsible for following the medical guidelines, which are defined by Health and Human Services based on the FNB report. Ah, the circularity in the logic of preventing disease and maintaining empathy for individuals.
Jump again to my friend that just recently had a stroke. I suggested to him that he should to try to maintain his serum 25(OH)D level between 50 and 90 ng/ml as this was common for a sunny country and was most likely his summertime level as he loves to go into the sun. The long time standards for serum 25(OH)D has been between 20 to 100 ng/ml for several decades. Higher levels of vitamin D have been shown by medical studies to result in less strokes and heart disease. He had just read a news article that said anything greater than 50 ng/ml might be risky. He decided not to supplement or to go into the sun. When he dies of a stroke or a heart attack, it will just be written off as another victim of chronic disease. My heart breaks for the millions that have been misled by the newspapers and the scientist just specializing in what they do. – Pandemic Survivor