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March 20, 1909


Author Affiliations

Professor of Surgery in the University of Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS

JAMA. 1909;LII(12):935-937. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.25420380001001

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Conservatism has no place in modern surgery, and it has even gone out of date in religion. If we wish to speak of a surgeon in the highest praise we should not use the word conservative. There was a time—fortunately for us long ago—when to designate one as a conservative in medicine, religion or politics was to bestow on him the highest praise. The Century Dictionary defines conservatism as "the disposition to maintain and adhere to the established order of things; opposition to innovation or change;" and a conservative as "one who is opposed by nature or principle to innovation and change; in an unfavorable sense, one who from prejudice or lack of foresight is opposed to true progress." Conservatives in this sense have ever clogged the wheels of progress.

While we use the term now in a more liberal sense, applying it to one who is progressive without going

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