First, Do No Harm

Government is supposed to help us – so they say. But how does it harm us?
Justice, liberty, and human decency demand that politicians take an oath, before passing laws, to first, do no harm.

“Intense.” – Gerri S, Massachusetts
“Love it. Danceable.” – Elizabeth B, California
“Cool music (especially the consistent flute), funkier beat. I like the vocal blend on Primo Non Nocere. The spoken word bits are refreshing.” – Robby H, Massachusetts
“Good syncopation; sounds like Olivia Newton John.” – Mark L, Ohio
“The song challenges us to figure out how to create accountability for our elected officials. It’s surely not something they’ll do themselves.” – Kirby M, Virginia
“Cool; vocals haunting in background.” – Richard D, Virginia

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Genre: Hip-hop, pop, a bit of funk

Duration: 4:33

Vocals: Carla Howell
Keyboard: Jiri Nedoma
Flute: Tucker Antell
Bass: Marc-Andre Drouin
Drums: Lee Fish

Words and Music by Carla Howell (BMI)
Produced by Carla Howell and Les Fish
Sound Engineering by Matt Hayes
Recorded and mastered at Wellspring Sound, Acton, MA
Additional Sound Engineering by Ben Mellott
Illustration by Aaron Herrara


LYRIC

Primum non nocere
Primum non nocere

Doctors take a pledge called the Hippocratic Oath
Before giving care, they say, “First, do no harm”
We should pledge as well before passing legislation
Put it to this test before we go on

Is there a real problem here?
Who says so?
What’s their motive?
If the problem’s real, was it caused by other laws?
If more law would cure the problem, where’s the plan to phase it out?
What solutions will people on their own bring about?

CHORUS
First do no harm (No harm)
Let’s take the oath (Let’s take the oath)
Know what we’re doing (Be sure) before we vote
Are we so sure? (How sure?)
How can we know? (Can we know?)
How will it play (What will they say?) tomorrow?

That’s just the beginning
Still there’s so much more to know
Enacting legislation is like pushing dominos
Social engineering leads to many consequences
Not so clear to see, so we must turn every stone

How would people lose if politicians spend more money?
How would dollars crumble?
Which jobs would go away?
How much more bureaucracy?
Government dependency?
What freedoms would be lost?
What are ALL the ways we’d pay?

CHORUS
First do no harm (No harm)
Let’s take the oath (Let’s take the oath)
Know what we’re doing (Be sure) before we vote
Are we so sure? (How sure?)
How can we know? (Can we know?)
How will it play (What will they say?) tomorrow?

Now we’re getting closer
Still more questions must be asked
Answering these questions truthfully’s no simple task
Those who pass a law are long gone when things go wrong
And never pay a price for damage done, so ask

Who could we hold liable for the impact of this legislation?
How would we measure its outcome over time?
If this program fails, or worse, if it does harm
Could they face malpractice?
Be charged with a crime?
If we dismiss the warnings that we might do harm
And plow ahead with programs not fully understood
Then we are just meddlers, pretending to be healers
Unwilling to be sure our laws are really for the good
Clinical trials are a choice
They are strictly voluntary
Government programs are not so
They are always mandatory
When the fallout is disaster, no one to redeem the victims
A meek apology, if ever, comes a generation later

CHORUS
First do no harm (No harm)
Let’s take the oath (Let’s take the oath)
Know what we’re doing (Be sure) before we vote
Are we so sure? (How sure?)
How can we know? (Can we know?)
How will it play (What will they say?) tomorrow?

Doctors take a pledge to only do what can help
Politicians should as well
Refrain when there’s doubt
First, do no harm
That has to be our guide
So we honor human life
In that we can take pride

Primum non nocere
Primum non nocere
Primum non nocere
Primum non nocere, non nocere, non nocere

© 2019 Carla Howell all rights reserved