And the Higgy Goes to… Abraham Flexner

It was a very light year for Higgy nominations. I suspect that this is not because we have a shortage of (un)worthy nominees. Perhaps instead our team of regular nominators is just a bit worn out by all of the Higginess (to coin a new term) that surrounds us. But we must soldier on.

Greg submitted Steven Novella and David Gorski for consideration. These two academic doctors run a web site that claims to promote science in medicine. Unfortunately, under intense pressure from bullies, they abandoned that mission to erase and repudiate a positive review of Abigail Shrier’s book on the excesses of the transgender craze among young people, Irreversible Damage, that had been published on their web site. These actions by Novella and Gorski were cowardly and intellectually dishonest, making them (un)worthy nominees for The Higgy.

But they are not this year’s recipients for a few reasons. First, there are two of them and the Higgy can only go to one person. if we go down that slippery slope pretty soon we’ll be giving The Higgy to The Guardians, The Silence Breakers, Ebola fighters, The Protester, The Good Samaritans, The American soldier, The Whistleblowers, or even me — each of whom was selected by the parody (?) (check this) magazine, Time, as Person of the Year. Wow, nearly half of the persons chosen by Time in the last two decades weren’t persons at all. In any event, we have to maintain standards and limit the William Higinbotham Inhumanitarian of the Year Award to an individual inhumanitarian.

In addition, while Novella and Gorski’s behavior was deplorable, giving inhumanitarian awards to every academic who displayed cowardice and intellectual dishonesty would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indianapolis 500. Besides, those who really deserve condemnation in that saga are the bullies who torment people for saying eminently sensible things about the excesses of the transgender craze among young people and the academic institutions and organizations that should be protecting scholars against such abuse.

Joe Nathan also offered Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona as a nominee for The Higgy. Cardona is also a very (un)worthy nominee given his efforts to adopt regulations to strangle charter schools. But U.S. cabinet members destroying liberty by fiat falls more in the category of Big Scary Dictator Disorder (BSDD) than the Petty Little Dictator Disorder (PLDD) The Higgy is meant to recognize.

The recipient of this year’s William Higinbotham Inhumanitarian of the Year Award is Abraham Flexner. Flexner’s promotion of the false notion of an expert as someone with a credential is a perfect example of PLDD. He imagined that he could reshape the world for good with his controlling plans, but his righteous good intentions blinded him to the damage that would be done by paving the way for the certification of professions and occupations of almost every sort. This marks the first time that my nominee for The Higgy has been selected.

Abraham Flexner joins past winners, Alison CollinsMark DiRoccoKosoko JacksonJohn Wiley BryantPlatoChris ChristieJonathan Gruber, Paul G. Kirk, and the inaugural winner, Pascal Monnet.

2 Responses to And the Higgy Goes to… Abraham Flexner

  1. Greg Forster says:

    Huzzah, or rather Harrumph, to the winner!

  2. EB says:

    Hmm. So you think that physicians and other medical professionals should not have to demonstrate knowledge of the human body and of disease processes? or are you merely regretting that other (less life-threatening) occupations have been subjected to similar licensing requrements?

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