In these days of widespread irrational intellectual weakness, op-eds seem to be the ultimate catalyst for partisan madness. Earlier this year, when Sen. Tom Cotton — who served in the United States Army in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — wrote an opinion piece titled “Send In The Troops” for the New York Times, the Left’s outrage (including multiple journalists at the Times) was so profuse that the organization apologized for publishing the opinion of a sitting U.S. Senator.
“We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication,” said Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the New York Times. “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an op-ed that did not meet our standards.”
Another opinion piece, written by Joseph Epstein, sent the Left into a similar frenzy last week. This time, they rushed to defend the wife of President-elect Joe Biden, Jill Biden, after Epstein’s piece titled, “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D,” drew accusations of “disgusting” sexism.
.@jamestaranto, you and the @WSJ should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack on @DrBiden running on the @WSJopinion page. If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) December 12, 2020
While much of the reaction has been nothing but political theater used to build an impenetrable shield around the Biden family — much in the same way as criticism of the Obamas was “racist” or criticism of Hillary Clinton was “sexist” — it’s important to notice a deeper hypocrisy beneath this absurd controversy.
Firstly, a few obvious truths. Yes, Jill Biden has a doctorate. That doctorate is an Ed.D., a “doctor of education,” earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” Jill Biden has every right to be proud of her academic accomplishments. However, let’s not pretend that all doctors are equal.
An Ed.D. from the University of Delaware is less impressive than an Ed.D. from a more prestigious or competitive university. Again, this isn’t to say that Jill Biden shouldn’t be proud of her accomplishments. It is to say that all credentials exist along a spectrum of value. Next, an Ed.D. from most institutions is less meaningful than a PhD from most institutions. Next, an M.D. from almost any institution is more impressive, valuable, and indicative of academic and physical achievement than a PhD or an Ed.D.
Therefore, all doctorates exist on a scale, meaning that all doctorates are not “equal.” The work and sacrifice required to become a medical doctor dwarfs that of Jill Biden — we would hope. Outside of academic circles, where it is the cultural norm that the prefix “Doctor” means you are a medical doctor, Epstein is completely accurate in his analysis. Publicly referring to yourself as “Dr. Jill Biden” indeed “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
And here’s where the hypocrisy lies. Before Joe Biden became the latest recipient of Leftist worship, Jill Biden’s embarrassing insistence on the use her “title” — with even her Twitter handle being @DrBiden — was the target of similar mockery from the Left.
In 2009, for example, Robin Abcarian — an opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times — wrote an op-ed titled “Hi, I’m Jill. Jill Biden. But please, call me Dr. Biden,” saying that Jill Biden’s request “strikes some people as perfectly appropriate and others as slightly pompous, a quality often ascribed to her voluble husband.” By 2020’s standards, Robin Abcarian is a filthy misogynist. Welcome to the team, Robin!
Abcarian also continued to say, “Newspapers, including The Times, generally do not use the honorific “Dr.” unless the person in question has a medical degree.” Scandalous!
Not only is the Left’s sudden respect for doctorates of education itself comical, readers will be shocked to hear that they don’t even follow their own standards. If you have a moment, search for “Ben Carson” on Google. You will find that Carson — who became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center at the age of 33, and retired as a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine — is referred to as “Ben Carson,” not “Dr. Ben Carson,” time after time by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN.
It’s one thing to argue that obsessive credentialism is a problem in our society. But if we’re going to agree — as we should — that some doctorates are better than others, if Carson’s prowess doesn’t earn him the title of “Dr,” then Jill Biden’s doctorate in education from the University of Delaware certainly doesn’t.
Ian Haworth is host of The Ian Haworth Show and The Truth in 60 Seconds. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.