Beyond the Hippocratic oath

Last month Anthony Gockowski reported for Alpha News on the oath to “promote a culture of anti-racism” taken by incoming University of Minnesota Medical School students at their white-coat ceremony on August 19:

White coats, the students said, are themselves a “symbol of power, prestige, and dominance.” Therefore, students will “strive to reclaim their identity as a symbol of responsibility, humility, and loving kindness.”

“We commit to uprooting the legacy and perpetuation of structural violence deeply embedded within the health care system,” the students said, according to a video of the ceremony.

Dr. Robert Englander, associate dean for undergraduate medical education, led students in reciting the oath, which he described as “beautiful.” He said the class oath was written by the students in consultation with their faculty advisors.

“We recognize inequities built by past and present traumas rooted in white supremacy, colonialism, the gender binary, ableism, and all forms of oppression,” the students said in their oath.

Anthony’s story includes links to the underlying materials. Perhaps most notable are the mindlessness, falsity, and Maoist self-abasement of the oath, although I am undoubtedly missing a few other elements that should be mentioned. How serious people can recite the shibboleths with a straight face and without gagging is a phenomenon almost beyond belief.

We do wish them well in their mission to uproot “the structural violence deeply embedded in the healthcare system” and “the gender binary” in the course of their long careers in medicine. First, do no harm, baby!

As Dan Quayle memorably put it: “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.” When every significant institution in American life has joined in the war on the truth and the country, one might surmise our future is looking grim.

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