In addition to undermining the unfettered exercise of Second Amendment rights by patients, medical academia will not tolerate dissent among its ranks. Repression of any deviation from the party line is as clear an indication of a totalitarian bent as it is an old tactic.
Those who cling tenaciously to an alternate reality in which people in power are the better angels who would never force their opinions on others are invited to read this email DRGO recently received from a concerned father:
“My son is an MD currently finishing his residency at [redacted: “prominent west coast institution”]. When he was a medical student at [redacted: “a medical school in Chicago”] he was privately advised to not tell any of his classmates or his faculty that he was a Life Member of the NRA or that he owned guns. The anti gun rhetoric at [redacted: “prominent west coast institution”] is even worse and he worries he will be sanctioned if he shares his views. His plans include doing research and teaching at [redacted: “prominent west coast institution”] when he finishes his residency.
+ + + + + +
This young doctor’s situation is a difficult one (and probably not that rare) so I offered the following five suggestions for this man’s son (and any gun-owning healthcare provider):
Consider pursuing a career in gun-friendly states. Sure, many institutions are islands of leftism in otherwise free states, but I would hazard a guess that the broader cultural and political climates in places like Arizona or Texas somewhat mitigate the vitriol inside the halls of the academic institutions in those states. Google can be your friend here in doing due diligence on the people in the institutions you are considering joining. I recognize you may not have the luxury to pick and choose. I’m speaking to a best case scenario. Also, people move between institutions—even researchers—keep in mind that your first position is not your *forever* position.
Stay closeted at least until you are in a position in which you cannot be penalized for your views and affiliations. If you plan to “out” yourself at some point, it would make things better for you to develop an unassailable reputation as a smart, fair and —above all—nice, kind person.
Do not get roped into any anti-gun activity. Think ahead and prepare a way to opt out and demure from being recruited into or attached to actions or statements that go against your values. This should be a soft, non-confrontational declination that does not reveal your true position as a gun rights supporter. A position that speaks from a morally superior position (without being strident or hysterical) and is couched in impartiality is preferable. (Remember James Damore?)
Don’t get too rhetorical, passionate or long winded. Just say something that signals reluctance to sign on while also signaling not being open to discussion or open to being swayed to their way of thinking. Try some ethical, principled reason that has nothing to do with the right to keep and bear arms.
If you want to be direct, one way is to point out that the medical anti-gun movement is intellectually dishonest, because it talks about safety but pursues a supply-side gun control agenda that is less charged and more principled-sounding response is to point out that such an approach is paternalistic in a way that is antithetical to how we are taught to relate to our patients. Claiming an ethical dilemma in each of those scenarios allows you to assume a morally superior (but not necessarily partisan) stance. You can dig your heels in, based on that argument, and should not be penalized you for it. After all, you’re being principled.
Seek like-minded allies locally. Just as Christians under the Japanese Shogunate, gays in Iran, and conservatives in Hollywood, people in repressive milieus form underground networks for support and other goals. Finding local kindred spirits will do you good and will, organically, reveal other possibilities.
Seek non-gun allies. You don’t have to “out” yourself to them. People connect on multiple levels and over various commonalities. As someone who came here from the Soviet Bloc, I assure you it helps to have friends, connections and allies—particularly when those friends and allies have some level of influence. It’s interesting how in a system of imposed equality you end up with some people being more equal than others. Don’t be reluctant to befriend the big, powerful and influential guy who may be in some way more equal than you. You never know when you may need them to have your back.
Join DRGO. Your membership is private. You don’t have to participate publicly, but you can help us by passing on what you see and hear. The fight continues. It will always continue because we cannot win it for all time. But every day presents opportunities, large and small, to fight the fight.
+ + + + +
Am I offering the right advice? Have I covered all the important points? Readers and members are welcome to comment on our social media. Please contact us if you are worried, or have actually been sanctioned at work for your gun ownership.
It is chilling to me to write these recommendations. Nearly 40 years after coming to this country from the Soviet Bloc, I find myself engaged in the same fear for my rights and the same struggle for liberty that characterized the country of my birth at the time of our departure from it.
That is positively eerie.