Who needs hard work? Doctors are simply better people

Oscar To


A question that many people ponder in their lives is how did they get where they are today? Did a decision irreversibly change the entire course of their life? What if they swiped right on Tinder? What if they didn’t vomit all other that attractive person when they were really drunk the other night? What if I studied? Whilst rumination can played for eternity, in a game that rivals Everett’s many worlds theory, I decided to play a more simple version. What gave me the opportunity to become a doctor in England, versus the villagers I met in the village of Berega?

One could simply say hard work. But this would be unfair to anyone who has a concept of hard work. I doubt any amount of hard work would allow these people to become a doctor, and almost certainly a huge amount more than I put in. But why is that? Why should my efforts be worth any more than these people?


A great reason why hard work doesn’t pay, the other obvious example being a medic’s pay packet.

Some would argue that this is simply what these people deserve. Only people who work hard should be allowed to be doctors and that these people evidently don’t work hard enough. I would contest this view as a piece of ‘cognitive dissonance’. That is, a piece of information which so deeply clashes with one’s personally held beliefs that they will make up any ridiculous excuse to make it untrue in their mind. The belief in question here is that one has only achieved everything through their own efforts with no other help. If other people can’t achieve things, they must be lazy.

This relates primarily to what is colloquially known on the internet as life’s easiest difficulty setting: the straight white male. As expected, this view is violently contested by said category of person, by of course, exposing hideously sexist, homophobic and racist views, ironically exposing why this setting is the easiest. Some of my favourite arguments include; how come women get the easy way out by being banned from the military (implying they are too weak to join), I will beat up any gay man that looks at me (implying that all men are so desirable, gay men must want to have sex with them) and the ever classic, my best friend is [insert race] (because all people of other races are the exact same).

A common retort when one of these people starts losing this debate, ‘I find your accusations of [insert discrimination] discriminatory’, e.g. I find your accusations of racism racist. It is not like these people have ever experienced sexism, racism or homophobia. Indeed, a retort of this calibre exposes such self-centredness and lack of understanding that it is more likely to cause a black hole than the large hadron collider.

To be fair, it is not simply these people that can be discriminatory. Women, LGBT people, and racial minorities can be just as bad. Women that abhor feminists because they are too slutty, gay men that hate camp men, and people that go out of their way to make their skin whiter. These are all people that really just absorb the predominant views around them and fail to realise that the people they are really discriminating against are themselves. They perpetuate a status quo which they believe is for the best, the much fabled, ‘false consciousness.’ Indeed, this word originally came from Marxist analysis of class. A concept in the UK that is probably now more taboo than sex. We shy away from this because fundamentally, it is so obvious, we want to pretend it’s not there. We decide that only rich people have rights when it comes to citizenship, owning houses and avoiding taxes. We destroyed the difference between the plural and singular version of the word ‘you’ to make it impossible to use it to distinguish class. Newspapers that shape the opinions of millions are owned by billionaires that think it’s poor people that cause all of society’s problems. This is modern Britain.

But back to the question of why I have become a doctor when the villagers haven’t? The obvious answer is that I happened to be in the UK, and they’re in Africa. And yet, break this down, and I have social mobility, wealth from my parents, a stable home life, and simply being intelligent. These are privileges that not everyone can be lucky enough to have. I could claim that my hard work was all it takes, but in the end, who works harder than the mother who can’t feed her child? Privilege pervades all of our lives, whether we accept it or not. And it is only when we begin to accept this that we can begin to change the lives of those that lack it.

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