Novel Characters — Exploring Education and Freedom

Bob Mayer had gone to an almost Ivy League college, one where liberal arts was the theme and secular progressivism the religion. Determined to get into medical school right after graduation Bob made a number of sacrifices and compromises so that the doors to medical school could welcome him unconditionally.   Fifteen years before he found himself the subject of a massive federal fugitive hunt, Bob was dutifully absorbing everything that his elite college told him.

Wait, you may ask,  who is Bob Mayer?   Years from the time of this writing, which describe his formative college years he will become the chief virologist at the NIH(National Institutes of Health) in charge of creating the annual flew vaccine.  At the moment though, he is just a senior in college.  He is in the process of applying to medical schools.  Through the last 4 years he had been diligent, studying to the exclusion of the vast number of activities available on campus. The only exception to this was that he had managed to maintain his taekwondo training.   He had not been able to improve on his skills, but he had not lost them.  The trade off was a 4.0 average.

During his time in school, beyond the science, for which he had a passion, several courses had made a significant impression on him.  These were, Reproductive Health 202, Philosophy 101, Russia Studies 303. and Constitutional Law 425.  Since, as a 21 year old senior his goals were clear, he had a great desire to please his instructors.  Doing so meant, not thinking for oneself, but absorbing the tenor and conceptual framework presented by their classes.  How he later came to hold views that were in conflict with those that were taught was a mystery to many of his colleagues.   As Bob reflected on those courses, his recollection of their tenor and approach amazed him.

Reproductive Health was a BIO 200 course where the study of the male and female reproductive tracts was taught.  As you might expect a lot of attention was given to the physical anatomy of these systems and to the hormonal cycles.   In this course, the time and effort spent covering female reproductive systems was about 5 times the time and effort spent to cover male reproductive systems.   Since those systems had to be able to carry a baby, this was not that surprising.    The process of fertilization and gestation was also covered.   Among the things that were abundantly clear from the course, was the message that as a zygote went through its stages from zygote, to morula, to blastocyst, to embryo and ultimately to fetus, it was no more than a mass of tissue.    The fact that this was a baby that was developing was consciously overlooked.  In addition,  the course worked in details about the coming population explosion and how if people kept reproducing we would run out of resources.  Actually, if you got the message you would marvel that a single meal ever made it to the table before all those starving people lapped it up.  The other message that was delivered in unambiguous terms was that humans were no different than any other animal when it came to reproduction.   The course made the act of reproduction simply an animal function.

Philosophy 101 was an eye opener.  The class read the more rudimentary and well known works from Kant, Descartes,  Locke, Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche,  and Marx.   Thinking back on it Bob wondered if Karl Marx really belonged with the prior group.  Whether he belonged to the group or not the instructor, Dr.  Brubaker was enamored with Karl Marx.   His two great works, the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital argued for the downfall of capitalism and its ultimate replacement by socialism.    In order to get an A in the class, all a student had to do was propound on the virtues of Communism and use Karl Marx as their source.   As dutifully as he could, Bob made the case for communism in the United States.  Suddenly he was in the professor’s inner circle.  Years later , even though he worked for the government Bob saw how the government with a significant part of the system socialized through Medicare and Medicaid had destroyed much of what was best about being a doctor.  The communist radicalization of students at the most elite schools was a hard process to reverse.  Kids with no business experience and no way to see how communism impacted everyone were being fed this Utopian scheme.  Bob had seen through that after many years in the real world.  Even so that course had touched his life immeasurably.

Offsetting the Utopian view of communism taught by professor Brubaker, was a course in Soviet-Western bloc politics.  The instructor, Martha Olcott, though as liberal as the other instructors was a realist about Soviet life.  Ten years prior to the fall of the Berlin wall she was predicting the collapse of Soviet communism.   She blamed it on its corruption and implementation as much as on the inability of the Soviets to control a population that was made of so many unassimilated minorities.  She had predicted that the Poles, the Bulgarians, the Czechs, the Romanians and more would rebel and bring down the USSR.    She never really blamed communism for its faults.  Bob however noticed that centrally run governments seem ill prepared to help their own people.    It was much later that this idea of poor central planning would take hold in his mind.

The last course that Bob remembered from his college days that had made a huge impact was the constitutional law course.  In 1990, this course presented the Supreme Court as an all knowing self correcting protector of American freedom.    The constitution itself was this solid document whose tenets and principles were upheld by the highest court in the land.  It was a world where evils against the minority could be corrected and where freedom was protected most of all.  The idea that the constitution itself was a living document, where its basic guarantees could be discarded for higher moral ideals was never presented.  The people that wanted to disband the constitution in order to promote an unlimited governmental power were never mentioned as part of constitutional law.  Looking back, Bob thought that perhaps their view was much more prevalent than anyone had ever thought.  The justices had been portrayed as people of the highest character dedicated to protecting freedom first.  Witnessing many of today’s rulings, Bob had come to believe they had been compromised.

In any case, much of Bob’s formative thought process had been formed by these classes and experiences.   As he went to work and diligently sought to create vaccines that protected the populace from misery and death he had a warm opinion of this country.   He believe the work he did was a tremendous medical benefit to the populace.  How was he to know that opinion was about the be shattered and  that everything he thought of government was a lie and one that might cost him his life.  Nevertheless, I get ahead on myself.  For now Bob is working to identify and contain the next potential flu pandemic.

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