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JAMA 100 Years Ago
September 14, 2011

THE VENDER OF INTELLECTUAL NOSTRUMS

JAMA. 2011;306(10):1148. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1207

It was a notable warning which President Butler recently gave the graduating class of Columbia University, against the nostrum-venders, political, literary and religious—and he might well have added, the medical—all of whom now so dreadfully infest our American civilization. These, he well observed, are the men of “new ideas” (such ideas as Plato discarded many centuries ago as perverse); the men (and women) who preach “new thought” without ever having learned to think; the multitudinous advocates of change for the sake of change; of reforms springing from no need and growing out of no experience; the shallow, unqualified, half-baked horde who are letting loose on the land a torrent of talk, to the degree that “the educated man or woman of to-day has literally to struggle against being swept into the current of irrationalism.”

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