There are signs everywhere. Everywhere you go these days you can see signs of a culture shift. Just this morning I attended a dog show in Edison New Jersey. I had an entry in the show, my one year old boxer puppy, Phoebe. In years past I would look at the catalog to see the competition. I noticed that just about one third to one half of the entrants were sired by dogs that had not received their championship status. Some years ago an entrant who was sired by a non-champion was an anomaly. Was a shift occurring?
The American Kennel Club has standards for all breeds. They are very specific about their standards. A dog show brings together dogs for confirmation competition. They are judged according to a standard. Most of you are familiar with the Westminster Dog Show, held every February at Madison Square Garden. I was beginning to wonder why there were fewer champion sired dogs in the ring. Was the quality of the dogs diminishing?
Well, making a dog into a champion is not accomplished by the looks, temperament and health of the dogs alone. Making a champion requires a commitment of a lot of time and effort on the part of the owners and the breeders, in other words a definite human endeavor. And of course there is always the “politics” of dog showing. That is when the cuter or more popular dog’s owner wins. Popularity and cuteness of course are not part of the standard. The economy has something to do with this as well. And so my observation isn’t really about one specific dog but really more about the direction this field is taking…a direction toward mediocrity.
Mediocrity, for me anyway, is not a direction I am comfortable with.
I am worried that the passage of the health care bill this week may have the same effect on medicine and dentistry. Especially dentistry where the public’s perception of any standard at all is quite confusing. The economy, government interference and more power to third parties can’t do anything positive for our standards.
The dental industry has seen this coming for the last thirty years. It has created a sense of apathy in the profession and with the passage of this bill I feel a sense of resignation and complacency will set in. The free market must prevail…in every industry.