The following is a transcript of my radar from Wednesday’s edition of “Rising” on Hill TV.
Congress can’t agree on what constitutes “infrastructure.” We’re bungling vaccine rollouts. Journalists stop digging when the narrative is deemed conspiratorial. Medical progress is hitting new roadblocks.
Our decadent ruling class is playing games with esoteric jargon to burnish their own reputations at great cost to everyone else. These concepts are their intellectual playthings, SAT words to be batted around in cozy progressive bubbles, where performative cultural leftism is a powerful currency. But their talk has consequences, and those consequences don’t comport with utopian visions of social justice.
Our institutions are increasingly saddled with the decadent baggage of squabbling elites, crippling our efficiency for the sake of faux virtuosity.
There’s a secret support group for a dozen successful progressive doctors terrified of creeping leftist extremism in their industry. We know that thanks to journalist Katie Herzog, who just reported on the group for Bari Weiss’s Substack. The doctors, according to Herzog, meet once a month over Zoom to discuss the “rapid spread of a deeply illiberal ideology in the country’s most important medical institutions.” They’re “alarmed by the dogma currently spreading throughout medical schools and hospitals.”
“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,” Herzog noted.
“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,” she wrote, reporting that doctors fear a “purge” and believe “whole areas of research are off-limits.”
Now, there’s a lot to break down here: the bad science, the ideological monopoly, the counterproductive impact on disenfranchised people.
What I want to focus on is the disproportionate blow to efficiency this culture is wreaking.
Here’s a crucial quote from Herzog’s excellent report, attributed to a doctor from the Northwest: “In health care, innovation depends on open, objective inquiry into complex problems, but that’s now undermined by this simplistic and racialized worldview where racism is seen as the cause of all disparities, despite robust data showing it’s not that simple.”
There you have it.
Doctors are intimidating their colleagues out of giving patients better treatment based on extreme notions of social justice that crumble in practice.
This example is an unsettling one because it involves safety. But imagine how many resources our schools and companies and civic groups dedicate to hollow and counterproductive initiatives — then conflicts over those initiatives — that could have gone right into people’s pockets or schedules or better priorities. It’s worse when you realize that much of this time-suck is orchestrated by educated progressive elites who perform their politics to enhance their own power.
It reminds me of Bill Maher’s reaction to the yanking of Dr. Seuss books.
“You’re not going to win the battle for the 21st century if, you are a silly people, and Americans are a silly people,” Maher said.
“You know, who doesn’t care that there’s a stereotype of a Chinese man in a Dr. Seuss book? China,” he argued. Meanwhile, added Maher, America has had “infrastructure week every week since 2009, but we never do anything.”
That line took on new meaning when Biden-era infrastructure negotiations really fired up and it became clear that a huge sticking point to reaching an agreement necessary to pass legislation that would legitimately make improvements to our infrastructure was the definition of infrastructure itself.
Everything became infrastructure. It was a meme. Remember this classic Kirsten Gillibrand tweet?
Paid leave is infrastructure.
Child care is infrastructure.
Caregiving is infrastructure.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 7, 2021
Biden’s infrastructure plan was strategically stuffed with social justice priorities that, at best, fall under a gargantuan umbrella definition of the word. Republicans reacted immediately in opposition while some progressives urged Biden to push further.
A CDC committee tasked with developing an ethical framework for the rollout of COVID vaccines “openly acknowledged that its initial plan would result in more deaths than “vaccinating older adults first,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“But, the panel said, the plan would reduce racial disparities—something they deemed more important than saving lives — because essential workers, unlike adults over 65, are disproportionately black and Hispanic, the two groups that have borne the brunt of the pandemic,” according to the Beacon.
Consider also that journalists’ groupthink on the lab leak hypothesis generated a costly lack of curiosity from the fourth estate for a year, kneecapping our free press’s ability to do its job and shed light on corruption so that we can address it. When it comes to COVID, that’s actually pretty urgent, given that a new pandemic could hit us at any moment.
Sadly, from women’s health to education, there are many more examples where these came from.
Let it be noted that racism persists and must be a priority. Let it also be noted that groupthink stamps out free expression and free expression is what sharpens arguments and policies. Without it, when the progressive-or-bigot binary intimidates or persuades the ruling class into enforcing one worldview, you get a bad intellectual product.
That bad intellectual product is now in charge — and it’s crippling our efficiency when it comes to meeting basic societal needs, like building safe roads and getting safe treatment.