Capitalism, Socialism & the Scientific Fight Against Cancer

My following article below was originally published by Transhumanity.net

Many claim that, given our living in a capitalist country, the Healthcare industry in the U.S. is “hiding a cure” for cancer. Despite how preposterous this claim is, it’s a claim that’s reasoned due to the many ills capitalism imposes on society. Paranoia, if you will, replaces that of reason and common sense.

But even then, I beg you to simply ask yourselves why socialist societies – or even countries on the brink of socialism – have yet to discover a cure for cancer either? Why isn’t cancer cured in China, or Vietnam, or the DPRK, or even Cuba? Yes, Cuban scientists have developed a therapeutic vaccine for cancer patients, but then, as great as it is, similar therapeutic vaccines have been developed by Israeli scientists as well.

Knowing this, should either Israeli or Palestinian reject said vaccine because it happened to have been developed by scientists under an oppressive, bourgeois regime? Should they rely on conspiracy theories of a “cure for cancer” being hidden from the masses, instead of demanding for greater healthcare benefits? To both I say: hell no!

What of Comrade Hugo Chavez in pro-socialist Venezuela? Hell, Chavez sought medical treatment in a socialist country known for its impressive healthcare system that supersedes that of the U.S.‘s own healthcare industry – Cuba! And yet, despite their very beneficial therapeutic vaccine, it’s still not a cure. No cure exists yet, not even under socialism. We were recently struck with this unfortunate fact when we lost Comrade Hugo Chavez to cancer on March 5.

Our fight is against capitalism which enforces many negative aspects in our society and economy. Though, as Marx and Engels noticed similarly, capitalism has provided many benefits as well in its revolutionary abolishing of feudalism. Advanced scientific technology – especially in the medical field – is one of them. Knowing this, we shouldn’t then include an imaginary fight against imaginary forces with our fight against capitalism.

Science and technology must be upheld and driven forward, regardless of whether under capitalism or socialism. Our denying the science and technologies isn’t some indirect fight for them in the future – it’s our condemning them that leads them to merely be used under monopoly rule who can afford overpriced – albeit very beneficial – technologies due to mass opposition; i.e. GMOs. Our fight is against capitalism, yes. But then, that fight includes protecting every beneficial aspect of our current society as well, whether it was won via the establishing of capitalism or via on-the-street organizing and struggle!

Claiming that a cure for cancer is being hidden, all while rejecting every beneficial scientific and technological progress and advancement we achieve, is completely asinine and counter-productive! We’ve now discovered a “cure” for HIV in children, and for 14 adults. Shall we simply reject it because it was discovered by scientists receiving a paycheck under capitalism? Hell no! We must protect it! We must advance from it!

As Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said:

“Fostering a good atmosphere depends primarily on two things — following the mass line and seeking truth from facts. Science, in particular, involves the conscientious quest for truth and permits of no deceit… Different schools of thought should respect and complement each other. Academic exchanges should be promoted. No success in research can be the result of the efforts of a single individual: it always rests on the achievements of past generations as well as our own.

“Any new scientific theory is a summation of practical experience. How can a new theory be evolved if it is not based on a summation of the practical experience of both past and present generations of scientists, both Chinese and foreign? Anybody who tries to block the flow of information is harming himself as well as others. A person’s attitude towards the monopolizing of information is a major indicator of whether or not he has remoulded his world outlook. Anyone who refuses to share his data shows that his world outlook hasn’t been adequately remoulded.

“There are cases in which the technique for making certain products has long been available abroad and is known to some Chinese who, nonetheless, try to withhold it from their compatriots. This sort of thing cannot be allowed to recur.”

(“Some Comments On Work In Science and Education”, 1977)

Science fights back with modern technology

As mentioned above, Cuban scientists have developed a therapeutic vaccine for cancer patients. Though, again as mentioned above, it remains as nothing more than a temporary therapy. Not a cure. A therapy for stage 3 and 4 patients who’ve done all they can through other methods beforehand. While not a cure, it’s certainly the next best thing – a sense of hope for those suffering the turmoil of cancer.

How about for those of us who reside in the U.S.? Or Europe? Or anywhere for that matter!

Thanks to Jack Andraka – a 16-year-old sophomore – cancer diagnostic tests are now extremely cheap. At least for those who may or may not attain pancreatic cancer. This was achieved by a high school student! Not any veteran scientist who’s been battling cancer since the start of their career.

Several scientists, from Israel to China, have since discovered an easy way of detecting gastric cancer, without mistaking it for some other contaminants, by the simple method of a breath test. This was then “analyzed usingnanomaterial-based sensors,” as according to the study.

Just recently, engineers at Stanford had developed a high-resolution endoscope that’s as thin as hair and with a resolution four times better than previous devices used. According to the Stanford engineers, this endoscope “could enable new methods in diverse fields ranging from study of the brain to early cancer detection.”

As thin as hair, they say. Can we get any smaller? As according to Raymond Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, with cancer research relying heavily on modern information technologies, and due to the nature of information technology’s growth rate being exponential, today’s hair-thin cancer detector will become next year’s nanobots, injected into your bloodstream, waging covert warfare against any cells that doesn’t belong in your body; i.e. cancer cells. In Sweden, their scientists are already making this a reality.

“The philosophy that accepts death must itself be considered dead, its questions meaningless, its consolations worn out.” – Alan Harrington, The Immortalist

For many, cancer is nothing more than the next barrier having to break through before facing the greatest enemy to humankind since the beginning of life itself: Death.

When asked of how we’re going to defeat cancer once and for all, gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, Aubrey de Grey, responded:

“I think that cancer is by the far the hardest part of aging to fix. It is of course a part of aging…It’s part of the later stages of aging in that it results from the accumulation of a constellation of mutations; all of which happen independently of each other, and it is very, very hard because it has natural selection on its side so to speak, so every cell in a cancer is a furnace of genetic ingenuities so [to] speak, trying to evade what the body throws at it. But I think…that we have a respectable chance of truly defeating cancer. I just think that we have to give cancer the respect it deserves and understand that the way we’re gonna do it is something really rather elaborate.”

But even he, and the scientists of SENS, have yet to discover a cure for cancer unfortunately. This isn’t the result of some grand science-doctor joint conspiracy, set out in preventing the everyday layperson from acquiring a cure. Fact of the matter is that, whether you’re rich or poor, and live under a capitalist or socialist society, cancer – and ultimately death – shall remain a common enemy to our species, among other animal species as well.

With the help of modern technology though, we’ve not only waged war against cancer, we’re also winning the war. Like any war, casualties will arise and years will pass. But after decades of arduous efforts, innovation, and collaboration – and even some friendly competition – casualties are diminishing at an increasing rate and our long sought journey for a cure could finally come to an end once and for all.

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