Playing the Indian Card

Saturday, December 17, 2016

That Crazy Ben Carson

As each new Trump cabinet pick was announced, all the red flags went up from the left saying they were alarming and completely unqualified.

In the case of Ben Carson, they dredged up this article from when he announced his presidential candidacy way back a couple of years ago.

Titled "13 Ridiculous Things Ben Carson Actually Believes," it lists "13 arguments that Carson has made during his political career":

Women who get abortions are like slaveholders
On NBC’s Meet the Press in October, Carson compared women who terminate their unwanted pregnancies to slaveowners who “thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave.”

Carson is wrong. Abortion is objectively worse than slavery. Slaves were allowed their most basic right, the right to life.

Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery 
Back in 2013, when Carson was still gaining recognition in the Republican Party, he said in a speech that “Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
Carson is exaggerating here. Agreed. But does it really represent a "belief" of his, or is it just a case of hyperbole for rhetorical effect?
‘Hitler’ could happen in the U.S. today 
In September, he said at a campaign event that a Nazi-like force could come to power in the United States.
So when Carson said it a year ago, it was "ridiculous." Yet left wingers are saying it all over the place now.

Jews could have prevented the Holocaust if they had guns 
In an interview with CNN in October, Carson blamed the Holocaust on the fact that Nazis took guns away from the Jewish people. “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said. “There’s a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.”
Carson is obviously right; it's common sense, and something Jews have been saying since at least the days of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Not, as the headline falsely implies, that having guns would necessarily have prevented the Holocaust, but, as Carson actually said, the odds of the Nazi program succeeding or being worth pursuing would have been greatly diminished.

College campuses should be monitored for liberal political speech 
On Glenn Beck’s radio program in October, Carson advocated for the censorship of “extreme political bias” on college campuses, saying the Department of Education should “monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.”
Again, Carson is obviously right. But the headline lies. He did not call for censorship, nor for campuses to be monitored for liberal political speech, but for the suppression of free speech. He was calling for the opposite of what the headline claims. Up is not down, and black is not white.

Muslims should be disqualified from the presidency 
During an interview on Meet the Press in September, Carson now infamously said that a Muslim could not become the president of the United States. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” he said. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Another lying headline. Carson was saying that he would not vote for or support a Muslim for president. He would presumably say the same about a Democrat. Does that mean he believes Democrats should be disqualified from the presidency?

It is reasonable, too, to argue that Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy. It does not, for example, recognize the separation of church and state. A Muslim president would be duty bound, by his religion, to impose its religious obligations and law on the nation.

There’s a war on ‘what’s inside of women’ 
During a campaign stop this summer, Carson denied the argument used to describe the Republican Party’s policies that restrict women’s rights. 
“There is no war on women,” he said. “There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.”
Carson is of course right. There is no war on women in the US, or anywhere else. To deny this propagandistic lie is "ridiculous"? Where's their body count?

Being gay is a choice because prison turns people gay 
Carson said in a CNN interview in March that homosexuality is a choice, citing people who “go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay” as proof. He later attempted to apologize for the remarks in which he addressed those who were offended, but reinforced his belief that sexual orientation is chosen.
I wonder--what is the precise difference between "apologizing" and "attempting to apologize"? It does rather seem like the attempt is the thing itself.

In the original interview, Andrew Cuomo first asked Carson whether gays "have control over their sexuality." Which of course they, like everyone else, do. Otherwise, how could we prosecute for rape? Carson had every reason to think Cuomo was then speaking of "being gay" in this sense: of indulging in acts of gay sex. So Carson was just saying what is obvious.

Even so, later that same afternoon, he withdrew the comment as possibly misleading, and clarified, properly, that the jury was out on how much of homosexuality as a predisposition is genetic, and how much a matter of choice. To avoid any misunderstanding.

But how come we are all now free to choose even our own gender--except homosexuals?

There’s no such thing as a war crime 
Carson also said earlier this year that the U.S. should not hesitate to send troops to defeat the Islamic State and should not fear prosecution for any of its actions abroad. In the Fox News interview, he suggested that the military should not be subject to any war crimes law. 
“If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war,” he said. “Other than that, we have to win.”
Another bit of fake news. Carson did not mention war crimes. What he said was, "Our military needs to know that they’re not gonna be prosecuted when they come back, because somebody has said 'You did something that was politically incorrect.' There is no such thing as a politically correct war. We need to grow up, we need to mature. If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war. Other than that, we have to win. Our life depends on it."

Are international laws of war, things like banning genocide or torture, simply a matter of "political correctness"? The author may believe so, but he has no business ascribing that opinion to Carson. Granted, his saying "no rules" was incorrect if taken literally, but it was clearly a matter of hyperbole to underline a point.

Is this wrong? Hyperbole is commonly used by Jesus in the New Testament. Not a bad moral guide. Maybe these folks ought to read it some time.

Obama is depressing the economy to keep people on welfare 
After appearing on The View last year and saying that Americans have become dependent on welfare, Carson elaborated on Fox News. “Do you think that people who are on welfare want to be on welfare?” Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked him. 
“I think some people have that as a way of life,” Carson responded, later adding that “perhaps some of the things that are going on right now which could be easily remedied are not being remedied in order to keep the economy depressed because there would be no appetite for many of the social programs if people were doing well.”
Carson's response to Kelly is reasonable. We may fairly debate how widespread the problem is; but surely it is not sane to claim that nobody is ever on welfare voluntarily. It is also a fair point that bureaucrats in social services ultimately have a vested interest in keeping the economy, and their "clients," doing relatively poorly. Why would it be wrong to point this out? It seems just as unreasonable, or at least terminally naive, to insist, without evidence or argument, that a deliberate hobbling of the economy for political purposes or personal self interest never happens. Two words: trade unions. Not to mention anti-trust laws. Is that two words, or three?

Obama signed immigration reform to bring in government-dependent voters 
After speaking out about welfare, Carson said in an interview months later that Obama’s executive action on immigration was part of a “nefarious agenda” to bring new voters into the United States who will be dependent on government. 
“Is he just trying to instead of get out the vote, bring in the vote?” former Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth asked Carson. “Is this all designed to have new voters — despite the fact he claims they’re not going to get citizenship — is the long-term goal to bring in a new class of voters dependent on government?”
“Of course it is,” Carson replied.
Recent immigrants are a block vote in the US, Canada and the UK, and they tend to vote for the left. (Special interest politics--their natural allegiances tend still to be to their own ethnic group, not to their new home). We have good reason therefore to fear that leftist parties may be inclined to pump up the immigrant flow not for the best interests of the country, but the best interests of their party and political future. It is a strategy that has been employed more or less openly by Labour in Britain, the Liberals in Canada, and the Democrats in the US. Surely we all know this? 

Congress should be able to remove judges for voting for marriage equality 
In an interview with a conservative radio host earlier this year, Carson said it was “unconstitutional” that judges have ruled in favor of equality despite statewide ballot initiatives that resulted in different outcomes. Carson said that when federal judges make rulings like this, “our Congress actually has the right to reprimand or remove them.”

I thought that Carson was mistaken here, but it seems he may be right. I found a paper lamenting that this power to dismiss judges was never used: Of course, the issue is not, as stated, "equality"--that begs the question--but a constitutional right to gay marriage.

Anarchy could cancel the 2016 election 
Carson warned in an interview in 2014 that if we “continue down this pathway that we are going down,” referring to “this pathway where everything is framed in a political sense and our representatives are not working for the people, they’re working for their party,” then the anarchy could lead to the 2016 election being called off. He claimed that the growing national debt, ISIS and the then-Democratic controlled U.S. Senate’s refusal to consider legislation passed by the Republican House of Representatives all pointed toward the idea that the country is headed toward anarchy.
You could argue, I suppose, that the election was not actually called off. But surely Carson has been provenright here. He said this two years ago. Look at how bad things have gotten since, with people in the streets protesting the results of the election, claiming the election was hacked, that "fake news" falsified the vote, that the electoral college must be abolished, that the electoral college must, on the other hand, overturn the results of the vote, and so forth. It hasn't come to anarchy or to dictatorship yet, but that is surely the road the US is jogging down. After all, if we cannot accept that elections decide things, and cannot agree on what is objective truth, if everything is relative, what can settle anything, but naked force?

And speaking of accepting the existence of objective truth, and the rules of fair play, and the risk of anarchy or dictatorship otherwise, why is it that left wing spokespeople so consistently, as here, either misrepresent the views of the right, or anathematize them, both without addressing the arguments?

Why can they not tolerate open discussion?

This is not the view naturally held by anyone who is confident they can win the argument.

The left considers open discussion of the issues a threat. This means they hold at least one common view that they know in their heart is untenable.

I think, in the end, it starts with a scarlet "a" and rhymes with Tim Hortion.

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