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QUESTION AUTHORITY

Richard B. Johnston Jr, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(11):1109. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140250035030.
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I have a lapel button in my middle desk drawer that reads simply "Question Authority"—not resist or overthrow authority, just question it. Whenever I chance to focus on it, I feel a mixture of mild excitement and genuine inspiration. It comes from an era in America when its message was more commonplace in the everyday world than is the fashion today. In my opinion that is unfortunate, considering the number of political and sociologic "authorities" that still deserve questioning. But that is a subject for some other forum. Rather, my lapel button suggests to me authorities that are peculiarly relevant to the medical profession—those that we have not just the right but also the responsibility to question.

We might begin by questioning the authority of our own certainty. How satisfied are we with our own skill and knowledge? Are we sure our understanding of that disorder is current,

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