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Physician Professional Associations Are Not Ivory Tower Elites

“We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusionment, just as effectively as by bombs.”

This observation, from the late, great British historian Kenneth Clark, could be a warning sign to the medical profession. Some of the more incendiary commentary in blogs, editorials, and medical publications today display the classic characteristics of cynicism, which is a profound pessimism accompanied by a deep distrust and even the disparagement of the motivations of others. Physician cynics not only direct their anger at the usual suspects – members of Congress, insurance companies, and government “bureaucrats”—but even at their own colleagues, including the leadership of their own professional societies.

Now, to be clear, I am not talking about principled disagreement and debate over the best policies or course of action, which is good and healthy. It is only when such disagreement becomes “personal”—assuming the worst motivations of others, even when you don’t personally know them—that it becomes the type of self-destructive cynicism described by Clark.

Take the cynics’ charge that the leaders of physician professional associations, including ACP, are living in “Ivory Towers” disconnected from the “real world” of practice, and that they “sold out” the rest of the medical profession by their actions. Really? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

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