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The slippery Ben Carson

March 5, 2013

By John F. Kirch


Ben Carson

I have always had a positive impression of Dr. Ben Carson, the motivational speaker and professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University whose rags-to-riches story personifies the American Dream.

That all changed last week, though, when I heard Carson interviewed on public radio’s On Point With Tom Ashbrook.

It didn’t matter to me that Carson articulated traditional conservative talking points like limited government, personal responsibility and a flat income tax.

The problem with Carson is that (1) he would not acknowledge that he is a conservative, characterizing his beliefs as simply “common sense,” (2) he refused to answer questions directly and (3) he would not defend his positions with facts and evidence.

Throughout the interview, Carson skirted major questions about taxes, healthcare, race and history.

He complained about politicians who demonize their opponents, but then he called people who disagreed with him “absurd;” he said those who support “Obamacare” are ideological but that his proposal for health savings account was just common sense; and he arrogantly dismissed callers who challenged his interpretations of American history.

Carson was so slippery that when one caller criticized him for extolling the robber barons while ignoring the fact that they exploited thousands of laborers to build the nation’s infrastructure, Carson simply said: “I think there is absolutely nothing that is ever done that is perfect. It doesn’t matter what you bring up, I can find something wrong with it.”

The most egregious example of Carson’s arrogance, though, came when he was asked to defend his position that political correctness stifles honest debate in America .

The good doctor had just finished ridiculing a group of people who, he said, had “ostracized” a man for using the word “oriental” to describe an Asian. When host Tom Ashbrook followed up by asking if Carson, as an African-American, could think of any terms that might be offensive to him and other black men (i.e., the “N” word), Carson slithered around the issue.

“Let me tell you a secret,” Carson said. “I was doing an NPR interview a few years ago, and the correspondent said, ‘Dr. Carson, I notice y0u don’t seem to mention race very often. Why is that?’ And I said, ‘It’s because I’m a neurosurgeon…’ And I said, ‘You see, when I take someone to the operating room and I cut the scalp and peel it back and take off the bone flap … I’m actually operating on the thing that makes that person who they are. The cover doesn’t make them who they are. And those of us who are extraordinarily superficial in our thinking, we spend way too much time thinking about the cover and way too little time thinking about the content.”

His “answer” not only ignored the important point of the question — namely, that words are powerful instruments that can be destructive and hurtful — it showed that Carson was trying to avoid an issue that undermined his own logic about political correctness.

The interview exposed Carson as a fraud — a man with paper-thin opinions based on either ignorance, self interest or his own sense of right and wrong. They were certainly not based on any facts.

Carson has every right to speak his mind. But for his own credibility, he might want to stay in the operating room rather than venture into the public square.

For more information on Carson, see Towson University journalist Bailey O’Malia’s story.

  1. Car Will permalink

    “Conservative” view are common sense views…believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.

    A doctor or educated individual that can think…doesn’t need Government to get involved in personal choices. If you do not agree with that statement; can you honestly tell me Government is doing a great job and has the American people’s best interest in-mind?

    As far as “Obamacare” are you a doctor? Ask your doctor about “Obamacare” and then tell him/her they are “absurd”. A doctor knows what’s best…and if you think doctors are greedy go see a social-worker for your medical issues.

    Comm’on you are making a deal about the “N” word. Aren’t you unprofessional to even want a stupid answer to a stupid question? Adults should’t fly off the handle for some derogatory name calling….We aren’t in grade school…

  2. I appreciate your point of view and posted my response as an article on the blog. See above.

  3. Carl Will permalink

    Liberal Views like Conservative views have changed over the years…Common Sense? Currently how are Liberal Views working out? Do we not have Laws, Scholarships do we not have a Healthcare system? Is it common sense to keep throwing money at a broken system? Is it common sense to blame the private enterprise when the “private enterprise” is how the Government get’s its funding? Like all Liberals and Liberal Views everything is to the extreme. “If you don’t raise taxes people are going to die!’ If you don’t raise taxes your house will burn down” So, the answer is keep feeding money into a system that has proven not to work. Of course you are going to say things like “Anarchist or Racist or Selfish”
    Are there people starving on the streets? Yes, but Government will NEVER fix that. When your views are blinded by the false pretenses Government is the answer Liberal Views are flawed. This is not R or D. I myself am responsible for knowing what is right or wrong…that is common sense. Once again…you (meaning Liberal’s) will twist and change things around. I’m not saying “No Government.”

    The actual fact is Government is needed for the incapable, uneducated and unwilling. Government is need to protect our Liberties not take them away NO matter how small. Putting more “TAX” money into broken system in the pretenses of “empower people — all people” for their own good and blaming or saying the “private individual/sector/enterprise” is unable; does not show common sense. When Government impedes on the People’s Rights to make a living, supports a family make their own educated decisions as consumers it’s a moral failure. Unfortunately Government will never educate or feed all the people.
    Acting above the “Fray”, “so completely objective that we should trust all of his judgments “or “support those statements with facts” I will take a page from the Liberal Media…and point the direction elsewhere….”Obama and his Administration” 2 wrong never make a right…but blaming someone else seems to work…Like you; Dr. Carson has his views…and we would hope a bright individual can choose to trust “all” none or some of his judgments.

    He has said he has “Conservative views” but is NOT a Republican or Democrat he’s an Independent. Saying it’s a “Cop Out” Seems to be “YOUR” way to bunch him in the Republican Party. Which in turn Liberals, Liberal Media and Democrats can just say “Oh see he’s a Republicans” Then of course the person reading your blog can agree with your views and gives them a right not to think. “ObamaCare” You choose your doctor…Obviously if you picked a doctor you would be able to trust his/her opinion on ObamaCare. We are talking about the “private” doctor’s views on ObamaCare NOT their medical options’ on your conditions. It has been said by the opposing side there are good things…but to say “pass the bill and find out”; Common sense or Idiotlogical?
    “Should not be considered offensive” He said the person who said “Oriental” didn’t know better. So, just because someone is not around today’s PC world it’s okay to attack the person? People of different ethnicity, age groups (elderly) and uninformed just don’t know about being “Politically Correctness” Do we blame Government or the Individual? Or choose to understand where the person is coming from. Using one’s race to get elected, saying someone is racist and pointing out someone is not “politically correct” only shifts the fact you don’t have a point or logical response. I don’t have a PhD in Journalism; not even a College Degree. I barely graduated High School so attack on my grammar skills…won’t work. But I know you’re above that.

  4. To: John Kirch And others

    John (and others)……………. Wake up to the fact that ANYONE can stand before a group of (gullible) people and say whatever they want to hear. It does not require intelligence. Nor competence. Only the ability to again say whatever they want to hear.

    Enter scruffy, shuck and jive GOP negro plant Ben Carson, a huckster if ever there was, moreover a raging incompetent with 0.00000 percent experience to so much as ever be conisidered for CiC – that’s Commander in Chief for the illiterate. All Carson has ever done is quote various passages from the GOP feel good soundbite book and beyond gullible – dumbed down listeners stand and applaud this scruffy, mush mouth fraud as being some sort of “genuis”. Jesus H. Christ, get a clue.

    Let’s see if I can do it, too…………….., quote all the GOP feel good sound bite points/phrases………

    “Founding Fathers, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, protecting our borders, lower taxes, rugged individualism, strong military, better education, protecting our borders, Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers, lower taxes, Constitution, lower taxes, protecting our borders, Declaration of Independence, rugged individualism, Bill of Rights, protecting our borders, better education, ad inf…………………………………..” (I’ll refrain from mentioning Carson’s PRO-amnesty and ANTI-firearm stance).
    I’m a “genius”, right? Right? C’mon, I’m saying exactly what the GOP wants me to say while they too screwthis nation into oblivion as bad as the Marxists (Democrats).

    Wake up………….. It’s the same derriere, just two different cheeks and scruffy, shuck and jive Carson is a con artist, a fraud, a plant. Just gotta have a negro, dontcha know?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Is Dr. Carson’s conservativism just plain common sense? | Media Politics in Perspective

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