I call your attention to my post yesterday on the apparent metastasizng wokeness of the American Medical Association (AMA) in its new Medspeak guide, “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide To Language, Narrative and Concepts.” That guidebook, full of new medical euphemisms, was an almost unbelievable display of wokeness, so outré that it was funny—except of course that instantiated what’s happening in every college, every venue of mainstream media, and every professional and scientific organization in America. In fact, one of my friends who reads this site wrote me this assessment of the AMA pamphlet:
I honestly think that the woke are minting new Republicans by the hour. We’ll be back to Trump, and then we can really kiss our collective ass goodbye.
Indeed. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that!
But lest you think the whole AMA has gone woke, have a look at this article from The Hill (click on screenshot):
It’s pretty much what it says it is: the AMA President doesn’t want a “Medicare for all” system. Maybe for poor people (though they already have one), but President Dr. Patrice Harris says this:
The president of the American Medical Association (AMA) criticized “Medicare for All” as a “one-size-fits-all solution” on Wednesday, but acknowledged that some doctors, particularly younger ones, support the idea.
“We just don’t think a one-size-fits-all solution works,” Dr. Patrice Harris told The Hill when asked about a Medicare for All, single-payer system.
“And so, we believe that there should be choice for patient, choice for physician, and there should be a plurality of available options, but absolutely having a strong safety net,” she added in the interview at the group’s national advocacy conference in Washington.
Of course a “plurality of options” means different forms of medical insurance and that in turn means that doctors get to keep their high salaries and prestige. (I’m not of course implying that all doctors have this notion.)
Dr. Harris adds:
But attitudes among doctors could be changing. Asked if younger doctors are more open to single-payer, Harris said, “I’ve seen that, I’ve witnessed that.”
“I think there are folks of all, you know, age ranges and specialties that might support that,” she added. “But again, that’s the beauty of the AMA and our democratic process and our value of diverse thoughts and opinions.”
In other words, Harris’s sense of “diversity” is not the one we’re used to: she means, “Let a thousand insurance companies blossom,” which of course is good for the well-being of doctors, but not perhaps of patients who are well off or who have job-provided medical care. In fact, the article admits that:
The American College of Physicians, the second-largest doctors group after the AMA, made waves in January when it endorsed single-payer health insurance, as well as a public option, as ways to achieve universal coverage.
The rest of the health care industry, including hospitals, drug companies and insurance companies, remains strongly opposed to single-payer, though.
Many doctors worry that the payment rates under Medicare for All would be insufficient, given that Medicare currently pays lower rates than private insurance does.
This is about salary and prestige that some doctors are insistent on keeping. “But,” you might be asking yourself, “how can the AMA be against single-payer insurance and yet issue a document that is ultra-woke in prescribing the language to use?”
Well, how doctors use language to conform to current ideology doesn’t affect their wages, does it? Instead of coining euphemisms, if they really cared about the well being of poor people and minorities, they’d be lobbying Congress for “Medicare for All.”
The point, as Batya Ungar-Sargon suggests in her piece below on Bari Weiss’s site, is that Wokeness is not mainly a race issue but a class issue, one largely promulgated by privileged and well-off white people who use it to buttress their self-esteem while simultaneously propping up a meritocracy from which they benefit. That, after all, is what the AMA seems to be doing.
Click below to read Batya’s article. She’s an opinion editor at Newsweek and has a new book out, Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy. Read also Bari Weiss’s introduction to her article.
Now Ungar-Sargon is concerned with journalism and not medicine, but there are parallels. Journalism was once a middle-class profession, but has risen to an elite profession whose practitioners are not only uber-woke (at least in the Left media), but also pretty well off (she gives some salaries). Not all of them are white, but you already know that wokeness is promulgated primarily by the white folk that own and manage the MSM. As Ungar-Sargon says, “Once working-class warriors, the little guys taking on America’s powerful elites, journalists today are an American elite, a caste that has abandoned its working class roots as part of its meritocratic climb. And a moral panic around race has allowed them to mask this abandonment under the guise of ‘social justice.’”
And here’s her argument. The more I think about it, the more I think it does explain how elite organizations such as the AMA and NYT can at the same time promulgate big-time wokeness and yet try hard to keep their position as members of the “elite.”
. . .Wokeness perpetuates the economic interests of affluent white liberals. I believe that many of them truly do wish to live in a more equitable society, but today’s liberal elites are also governed by a competing commitment: their belief in meritocracy, or the fiction that their status was earned by their intelligence and talents. Today’s meritocratic elites subscribe to the view that not only wealth but also political power should be the province of the highly educated. Still, liberals see themselves as compassionate and progressive. And perhaps unconsciously, they sought a way to reconcile the inequality that their meritocratic status produces with the compassionate emotions they feel toward the less fortunate. They needed a way to be perpetually on what they saw as the right side of history without having to disrupt what was right for them and their children.
A moral panic around race was the perfect solution: It took the guilt that they should have felt around their economic good fortune and political power— which they could have shared with the less fortunate had they cared to—and displaced it onto their whiteness, an immutable characteristic that they could do absolutely nothing to change.
This is how white liberals arrived at a situation where instead of agitating for a more equal society, they agitated for more diverse elites. Instead of asking why our elites have risen so far above the average American, they asked why the elites are so white. Instead of asking why working-class people of all races are so underrepresented in the halls of power, white liberals called the working class racist for voting for Trump. Instead of asking why New York City’s public school system is more segregated than Alabama’s, white liberals demanded diversity, equity, and inclusion training in their children’s exorbitantly priced prep schools.
In other words, wokeness provided the perfect ideology for affluent, liberal whites who didn’t truly want systemic change if it meant their children would have to sacrifice their own status, but who still wanted to feel like the heroes of a story about social justice, who still wanted to feel vastly superior to their conservative and even slightly less radical friends.
This clarifies a lot of things, including the fact that wokeness is highest at the most prestigious universities: places like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It explains why many of the white Woke are obsessed with trivialities like policing languages, art installations, and other behavior, and don’t really get out there in society and actually help poor people. It’s why they can get away with dismissing the poor and working class as racists because so many of them vote for Trump.
I don’t think (nor does Batya) that this is the sole explanation for fulminating Wokeness. But I think she’s got a handle on one reason, and an important one.