I grew up listening to heavy metal music.
Mostly because my brothers and sister did.
Now I listen to the likes of Mumford & Sons, Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Jack Johnson and John Mayer. Much more mellow, however a recent trend in chiropractic has me thinking about a song from my youth.
The song is titled “Send Me Your Money” and was performed by Suicidal Tendencies.
Chiropractic Lottery Tickets?
It seems lately it has become en vogue to send in money for the next BIG thing that is going to propel chiropractic into the mainstream. It’s nothing new. Chiropractors have jumped at these “get cultural authority quick schemes” for decades. However, lately it has just become ridiculous.
But what has the chiropractic profession actually “bought”?
The hook, line and especially the sinker.
As one esteemed leader and colleague recently put it, “As a profession we are like the unemployed buying lottery tickets and hoping to strike it rich.”
We continually dump money into emotional pipe dreams without any long term strategy.
Instead of building infrastructure, we fluff our egos and invest in a litany of outsiders who will sell us what we want to hear and what they know we’ll buy.
It’s a recipe for stagnation and borders on professional suicide.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, in comes our savior with yet another brilliant idea to Rescue us.
This time it will only cost us $500,000.
But hey, when the lead characters injure themselves, the chiropractor will be there to provide acute pain relief. Score one more for chiropractic!
Gaining Cultural Authority
Cultural authority is the authority granted by society to a profession, person or body regarding a particular subject, service or need. We have seen it thrown around our journals and email lists in a backwards sort of way.
You see, most of our more medically minded colleagues have assumed that we can gain cultural authority by obeying the social authority of the medical profession. While medicine clearly possesses cultural authority, they have no social authority (at least in the United States) over the chiropractic profession.
On the flip side, chiropractors on both sides of the fence seem to think that bashing the medical profession through the support and promotion of films like Doctored and Undoctored can somehow help us wrestle cultural authority from them.
Paul Starr, in The Social Transformation of American Medicine, said this regarding cultural authority.
“…cultural authority entails the construction of reality through definitions of fact and value. …the legitimation of professional authority involves three distinctive claims: first, that the knowledge and competence of the professional have been validated by a community of his or her peers; second, that this consensually validated knowledge and competence rest on rational, scientific grounds; and third, that the professional’s judgment and advice are oriented toward a set of substantive values, such as health.” emphasis added
If we truly desire cultural authority we must construct a reality based upon facts and value so that we may deserve that authority granted by society.
That will not come through celebrity endorsements, bashing those who have a deeply entrenched cultural authority, or flushing already scarce resources down the drain on feel good projects that serve only the profiteers.
The next time someone asks you for money, ask them the tough questions. Use those critical thinking skills that helped you achieve the distinction of Doctor and think twice before cutting that check.
Better yet, write it out to an organization that actually has a plan and strategy to increase our cultural authority and utilization like the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation or the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
$500,000 could go a very long way if placed in the right hands.
Or we can continue to encourage our professional suicidal tendencies by stroking our egos and lining the pocketbooks of those catering to an immature and easy profession.
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Steve Tullius, D.C., ACP
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