Wokeness Destroying Medicine
In my book Live Not By Lies, I wrote this:
A Soviet-born US physician told me—after I agreed not to use his name—that he never posts anything remotely controversial on social media, because he knows that the human resources department at his hospital monitors employee accounts for evidence of disloyalty to the progressive “diversity and inclusion” creed.
That same doctor disclosed that social justice ideology is forcing physicians like him to ignore their medical training and judgment when it comes to transgender health. He said it is not permissible within his institution to advise gender dysphoric patients against treatments they desire, even when a physician believes it is not in that particular patient’s health interest.
That doctor told me in our interview that this was a policy decision made not by medical staff, but by the hospital management. It was 100 percent an ideological decision, not a medical one. If you think that medicine is immune from wokeness, you need to wake up.
To that end, writing in Bari Weiss’s invaluable Substack newsletter, Katie Herzog examines the crisis in medicine that the Cultural Revolution is causing. What you will read in that piece will shock and appall you. If you’re like me, you never imagined something like this could happen in America. But here we are. Excerpts:
They meet once a month on Zoom: a dozen doctors from around the country with distinguished careers in different specialities. They vary in ethnicity, age and sexual orientation. Some work for the best hospitals in the U.S. or teach at top medical schools. Others are dedicated to serving the most vulnerable populations in their communities.
The meetings are largely a support group. The members share their concerns about what’s going on in their hospitals and universities, and strategize about what to do. What is happening, they say, is the rapid spread of a deeply illiberal ideology in the country’s most important medical institutions.
This dogma goes by many imperfect names — wokeness, social justice, critical race theory, anti-racism — but whatever it’s called, the doctors say this ideology is stifling critical thinking and dissent in the name of progress. They say that it’s turning students against their teachers and patients and racializing even the smallest interpersonal interactions. Most concerning, they insist that it is threatening the foundations of patient care, of research, and of medicine itself.
These aren’t secret bigots who long for the “good old days” that were bad for so many. They are largely politically progressive, and they are the first to say that there are inequities in medicine that must be addressed.
I’ve heard from doctors who’ve been reported to their departments for criticizing residents for being late. (It was seen by their trainees as an act of racism.) I’ve heard from doctors who’ve stopped giving trainees honest feedback for fear of retaliation. I’ve spoken to those who have seen clinicians and residents refuse to treat patients based on their race or their perceived conservative politics.
Some of these doctors say that there is a “purge” underway in the world of American medicine: question the current orthodoxy and you will be pushed out. They are so worried about the dangers of speaking out about their concerns that they will not let me identify them except by the region of the country where they work.
“People are afraid to speak honestly,” said a doctor who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. “It’s like back to the USSR, where you could only speak to the ones you trust.” If the authorities found out, you could lose your job, your status, you could go to jail or worse. The fear here is not dissimilar.
When doctors do speak out, shared another, “the reaction is savage. And you better be tenured and you better have very thick skin.”
“We’re afraid of what’s happening to other people happening to us,” a doctor on the West Coast told me. “We are seeing people being fired. We are seeing people’s reputations being sullied. There are members of our group who say, ‘I will be asked to leave a board. I will endanger the work of the nonprofit that I lead if this comes out.’ People are at risk of being totally marginalized and having to leave their institutions.”
While the hyper focus on identity is seen by many proponents of social justice ideology as a necessary corrective to America’s past sins, some people working in medicine are deeply concerned by what “justice” and “equity” actually look like in practice.
“The intellectual foundation for this movement is the Marxist view of the world, but stripped of economics and replaced with race determinism,” one psychologist explained. “Because you have a huge group of people, mostly people of color, who have been underserved, it was inevitable that this model was going to be applied to the world of medicine. And it has been.”
Herzog brings up case after case of physicians being professionally denounced and punished for doing science that fails to validate ideological principles. And she says that the next generation of doctors are getting substandard training because their trainers are terrified to correct them out of fear of being cancelled.
And there’s this:
As another example of the generation gap, an ER doctor on the West Coast said he sees providers, particularly younger ones, applying antiracist principles in choosing how they allocate their time and which patients they choose to work with. “I’ve heard examples of Covid-19 cases in the emergency department where providers go, ‘I’m not going to go treat that white guy, I’m going to treat the person of color instead because whatever happened to the white guy, he probably deserves it.’”
Read it all, and understand that this is not something coming in the future; this is America today. The woke are destroying modern medicine. It really is happening, but we hear not a peep out of it from those responsible for protecting the institutions.
The backlash is overdue. When it comes, it is going to have to be merciless. Wokeness must be destroyed before it destroys us. We’re not talking about the humanities departments here; we are talking about medicine. We are talking about life and death. Your life, your death.
If the Republican Party can put crazypants Donald Trump behind it, it could propose and run on a strong anti-wokeness slate of legislation — serious, substantive, comprehensive laws to roll this garbage back — and retake the House and Senate in 2022. They likely wouldn’t be able to pass much with a woke Democrat in the White House, but they would put fear into the Democrats, which would slow some of this down. And then, in 2024, comes the Counter-Revolution.
It could happen — if the GOP gets serious.
I know by now any of my readers who are likely to buy Live Not By Lies have already done so, but in case you haven’t, please understand that the kind of insanity Katie Herzog documents in her piece is exactly what the former anti-Soviet dissidents have seen coming for some time — and it’s what they offer advice in the book on how to resist. I hope you will consider buying it, or at least checking it out from the library, reading it, and figuring out what kind of plans you need to be making to be resilient in the face of this madness.
UPDATE: Reader MichaelGC comments:
The GOP’s first order of business has to be putting Trump in its rear view mirror, receding fast until gratefully out of sight. It cannot hope to do anything until this is accomplished. If reports are correct, it appears that Trump is still pathetically obsessing over trying to overturn last November’s election and get reinstalled in the White House. Losing the election dealt such a severe blow to his bloated ego that he’s cracked. His blog that was supposed to shake up Facebook and Twitter has been shut down by him because no one reads it. So forget Trump.
The problem is, I don’t think the GOP has the spiritual resources that it needs to recover and push back against the burgeoning, destructive madness of Woke. Case in point: here in Texas we just finished a very disappointing legislative session. This 87th session was a kind of litmus test, and they failed to pass substantive legislation, giving us crumbs instead.
For example, there were six GOP-authored bills that addressed the scandal of medical malpractice on an industrial scale. There was one pediatric gender clinic in Texas, Genecis, in 2019. Today there are 15. Go on GoFundMe and search on “top surgery Texas” and you will get about 900 hits, many of them minors. Something is clearly horribly wrong and needs a strong and decisive legislative response, but it’s sure not going to happen here in Texas.
Of the six bills aimed at stopping the administering of wrong-sex hormones to and surgical self-destruction of minors, not one of them got out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. I’m sorry, one bill got placed on the General State Calendar a day or so before the deadline behind dozens of other bills (behind such measures as making Dr. Pepper the official Texas state drink), thus ensuring that it could not possibly be gotten to in time. All the other bills died in committee.
It turns out that about a quarter million dollars in campaign contributions from an affiliate of Genecis had been donated to the governor, lieutenant governor, and committee chairs who made certain that the aforementioned legislation died. I’m not saying that’s the whole reason this happened, as there are plenty of other donors, but this has to be factored in.
Anyway, it appears that Gov. Abbott simply did not want this legislation on his desk so as not to deal with the optics of having to veto bills passed by his own party, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson did. If the DC swamp is anything like the Austin swamp, the GOP is simply not going to make it because it is mercenary, whereas the Dems are wholly devoted to their cause, warped and misguided as it is.
This makes me sick.