Exploring Human Potential

Will Dobb-ists Infect Clinical Protocols?

Posted on | February 28, 2024 | 4 Comments

Mike Magee

For most loyalist Americans at the turn of the 19th century, Justice John Marshall Harlan’s decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905). was a “slam dunk.” In it, he elected to force a reluctant Methodist minister in Massachusetts to undergo Smallpox vaccination during a regional epidemic or pay a fine. 

Justice Harlan wrote at the time: “Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.” 

What could possibly go wrong here? Of course, citizens had not fully considered the “unintended consequences,” let alone the presence of President Wilson and others focused on “strengthening the American stock.” 

This involved a two-prong attack on “the enemy without” and “the enemy within.”

The The Immigration Act of 1924, signed by President Calvin Coolidge, was the culmination of an attack on “the enemy without.” Quotas for immigration were set according to the 1890 Census which had the effect of advantaging the selective influx of Anglo-Saxons over Eastern Europeans and Italians. Asians (except Japanese and Filipinos) were banned.

As for “the enemy within,” rooters for the cause of weeding out “undesirable human traits” from the American populace had the firm support of premier academics from almost every elite university across the nation. This came in the form of new departments focused on advancing the “Eugenics Movement,” an excessively discriminatory, quasi-academic approach based on the work of Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin.

Isolationists and Segregationists picked up the thread and ran with it focused on vulnerable members of the community labeled as paupers, mentally disabled, dwarfs, promiscuous or criminal.

 In a strategy eerily reminiscent of that employed by Mississippi Pro-Life advocates in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in 2021, Dr. Albert Priddy, activist director of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, teamed up with radical Virginia state senator Aubrey Strode to hand pick and literally make a “federal case” out of a young institutionalized teen resident named Carrie Buck.

Their goal was to force the nation’s highest courts to sanction state sponsored mandated sterilization.

In a strange twist of fate, the Dobbs name was central to this case as well. That is because Carrie Buck was under the care of foster parents, John and Alice Dobbs, after Carrie’s mother, Emma, was declared mentally incompetent. At the age of 17, Carrie, after having been removed from school after the 6th grade to work as a domestic for the Dobbs, was raped by their nephew and gave birth to a daughter, Vivian. This lead to her mandated institutionalization, and subsequent official labeling as an “imbecile.” 

In his majority decision supporting Dr. Priddy, Buck v. Bell,  Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes leaned heavily on precedent. Reflecting his extreme bias, he wrote: “The principle that supports compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover the cutting of Fallopian tubes (Jacobson v. Massachusetts 197 US 11). Three generation of imbeciles are enough.”

Carrie Buck lived to age 76, had no mental illness, and read the Charlottesville, VA newspaper every day, cover to cover. There is no evidence that her mother Emma was mentally incompetent. Her daughter Vivian was an honor student, who died in the custody of the John and Alice Dobbs at the age of 8.

The deeply embedded roots of the prejudicial idea that inferiority (or otherness) is a biological construct was used to justify indentured servitude and enslaved Africans, and traces back to our very beginnings as a nation. Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, was not shy in declaring that his enslaved Africans were biologically distinguishable from land-holding whites. Channeling Eugenic activists a century later, the President noted his enslaved Africans suitability for brutal labor was based on their greater physiologic tolerance for plantation-level heat exposure, and lesser (required) kidney output.

Helen Burstin MD, CEO of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, drew a direct line from those early days to the present day practice of medicine anchored in opaque decision support computerized algorithms. “It is mind-blowing in some ways how deeply embedded in history some of this misinformation is,” she said. She was talking about risk-prediction tools that are commercial and proprietary, and utilized for opaque oversight of “roughly 200 million U.S. citizens per year.” Originally designed for health insurance prior approval systems and managed care decisions, they now provide underpinning for new AI super-charged personalized medicine decision support systems.

Documented racially constructed clinical guidelines have been uncovered and some rewritten over the past few years. They include obstetrical guidelines that disadvantaged black mothers seeking vaginal birth over Caesarian Section, and limitations on treatment of black children with fever and acute urinary tract infection, as just two examples. Other studies uncovered reinforcement of myths that “black people have higher pain thresholds,” greater strength, and resistance to disease – all in support of their original usefulness as slave laborers. If racism has found a way historically to insinuate itself into these tools, is it unreasonable to believe that committed Christian Nationalists might do the same to control women’s health autonomy?

Can’t we just make a fresh start on clinical guidelines? Sadly, it is not that easy. As James Baldwin famously wrote, “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” The explosion of technologic advance in health care has the potential to trap the bad with the good, as vast databases are fed into hungry machines indiscriminately. 

Computing power, genomic databases, EMR’s, natural language processing, machine based learning, generative AI, and massive multimodal downloads bury our historic biases and errors under multi-layered camouflage, and leave plenty of room for invisible inserts by the Leonard Leo’s of the world.

Modern day Dobb-ists have now targeted vulnerable women and children using carefully constructed legal cases and running them all the way up to the Supreme Court. This strategy was joined with a second approach (MAGA Republican take-over’s of state legislatures). Together they are intended to ban abortion, explore contraceptive restrictions, eliminate fertility therapy, and criminalize the practice of medicine. It is one more simple step to require encodement of these restrictions on medical freedom and autonomy into binding clinical protocols.

In an age where local bureaucrats are determined to “play doctor”, and modern day jurists are determined to provide cover for a third wave of protocol encoded Dobb-ists, “the enemy without” runs the risk of becoming “the enemy within.” 


4 Responses to “Will Dobb-ists Infect Clinical Protocols?”

  1. Larry McGovern
    February 29th, 2024 @ 11:46 am

    Mike –

    Wow, this is SO good – masterful I would say.
    And a good warning to us, and especially all in the health field, and policymakers. Should be required reading for them!!
    Thank You!!!


  2. Mike Magee
    February 29th, 2024 @ 4:15 pm

    Thanks, Larry. Hope you and others will share it “far and wide.” Best, Mike

  3. Randy Souders
    March 12th, 2024 @ 6:29 pm

    Excellent article as always. I might add that few today are aware that the first victims of the Holocaust were the mentally, physically and neurologically disabled people. They were systematically murdered by several Nazi programs specifically targeting them. The Nazi regime was aided in their crimes by perverted “medical doctors” and other experts” who were often seen wearing white lab coats. Branded as “useless eaters” and existing as “lives not worthy of life” people with disabilities were declared an unbearable burden both to German society and the state. From 1939 to 1941 the Nazis carried out a campaign of euthanasia known as the T4 program (an abbreviation of Tiergartenstrasse 4 which itself was a shortened version of Zentral Dienststelle-T4: Central Office T4). These most vulnerable of humans were reportedly the first victims of mass extermination by poison gas and cheaper CO2 from car and truck exhaust fumes. But first “a panel of medical experts were required to give their approval for the euthanasia/ ‘mercy-killing’ of each person.

    In the end an estimated quarter million people with disabilities were killed in gas chambers disguised as shower rooms thereby providing “the model used for killing disabled people was later applied to the industrialized murder within Nazi concentration and death camps.

    Much has been written on this topic but few seem to know the chronology and diabolical history of how these “beneficial cleansings” of undesirables often start. The Nazi’s enlisted medical doctors to provide them with a veneer of moral justification for their atrocities.

    Throughout history, authoritarian political despots have worked diligently to silence dissent and co-opt religion in order to assist in their mutual quests for total control and authority. And theocrats are convinced their particular splinter of a schizm is the ultimate authority on earth as well as the entire universe. Stonings, beheadings and the hanging of transgressors and non believers is mandated by arbitrary interpretations of their particular holy book. There is much to fear when politicians exploit the religious beliefs of medical professionals in order to pass laws denying the rights of others to control their own bodies. Such obvious pandering for votes on religious wedge issues results in leaders being deified by their followers. This is aided by a campaign of rationalization absolving them of their obvious failings. Such a campaign of apologetics by religious leaders is active and widespread in America as I type.

    The current Republican candidate for President is on the record as being a believer in the “racehorse theory” –the idea that selective breeding can improve a country’s performance, which American eugenicists and German Nazis used in the last century to buttress their goals of racial purity. On September 18, 2020 he told a mostly white crowd of supporters in Bemidji, Minn. “You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it? Don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.” This is one of many such statements he has made regarding genetics that has resulted in his personal superiority and that of his family (though he neglected to explain his niece Mary Trump –a vocal critic of her uncle). The NYT reports “Mr. Trump was talking publicly about his belief that genetics determined a person’s success in life as early as 1988, when he told Oprah Winfrey that a person had “to have the right genes” in order to achieve great fortune.” These statements combined with those “about undocumented immigrants “poisoning the blood” of America should equate to a 100 alarm fire.

  4. Mike Magee
    March 13th, 2024 @ 10:07 am

    The voice of Randy Souders, a clarion messenger for the rights of the disabled and fellow traveler with Jean Kennedy Smith, offers a clear summary of past history and a concrete warning of the danger Trump represents to us all. Thanks, Randy! Best, Mike

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