Politics / Social Issues
Of all the candidates in the Republican and Democratic primary races, Ben Carson’s views make me scratch my head the most. I expect Donald Trump to act in the same manner as a bully and Hillary Clinton to change her position based on the next focus group data points, or try – albeit unsuccessfully – to appeal to young people. But Ben Carson’s views are mystifying. Given his level of education and skill as a neurosurgeon that is virtually unmatched, it would be logical to conclude that he is a brilliant man who has the capability to come to reasonable conclusions. Yet, he defies that logic.
Let’s start with what should be his area of expertise: health care. Long before the start of his campaign he became part of the political arena by stating the Affordable Care Act was, “the worst thing that has happened to this nation since slavery.” Let that sink in for a minute. To compare a piece of legislation that is attempting to give people access to health care to a system of oppression, violence, and marginalization that lasted for four hundred years is ridiculous. That was back in 2013, since then he has compared the Affordable Care Act to 9/11.
He recently attacked women’s reproductive rights with his stance on abortion. However, one of his more puzzling and outlandish theories is that Planned Parenthood is a bigger threat to black people, and more specifically black babies, than racism. The abortion rate for black women, along with other women of color, taken as a percentage of the population still remains notably higher than average. There are a myriad of causes for this disparity, but the most predominate are income levels and structural barriers. Therefore, Carson is correct in his assertion that there is a gap, but the conclusion he draws from said data is severely flawed.
Equally important are Dr. Ben Carson’s views on science, specifically Evolution and the Big Bang. His positions on these issues are an extension of his interpretation of the Bible and the tents of his extreme Church, the Seventh Day Adventist. He is an outspoken advocate of Creationism, and is under the impression that the Theory of Evolution is the work of Satan. He has also argued that the Big Bang theory is a “fairy tale,” but that he would not denigrate individuals for their “faith” in said theory, if they do not denigrate him for his. This statement is inordinately problematic. The Big Bang is a theory, however, it is based on a scientific model and is backed by a very substantial amount of evidence. That is the antithesis of faith. At this point any scientific credibility that Carson may have had given his background is squashed.
Finally, Ben Carson’s views on society and “American values” are entirely skewed. Given his inability to separate his faith from policy and governance, it is interesting that his Islamophobia has led him to say that he would not advocate for a Muslim in the White House unless they rejected certain tenets of Islam. That’s rich coming from a Christian theocrat.
Additionally, a far right wing author and ex-CIA agent, Willard Cleon Skousen, helps shape his political world and ideology, as evidence by his repeated endorsement of the man and ideas. Skousen, among other ludicrous ideas, believed that there were communists everywhere, that they had infiltrated every level of government and society as a whole, he even declared that President Eisenhower was a communist agent. He also advocated for the abolishment of the minimum wage, anti-discriminatory laws, national parks, and unions, along with a host of other institutions. He was a man so far right that members of his own party called him a nut-job.
At the beginning of 2015, Carson was accused of plagiarism; and one of the sources he failed to cite was a Skousen book “The Five Hundred Year Leap.”
Carson, following a similar line of thinking as Skousen, has warned of a coming Nazi-like regime, and the cancelation of the 2016 elections followed by President Obama declaring marital law. While he wouldn’t specifically state that Obama is America’s Hitler, he did everything but.
Moreover, while attempting to paint President Obama, the Democratic Party, and progressives as Nazis he is the one using language that resembles totalitarian propaganda. Presented specifically through a combination of finger pointing and scapegoating, fear mongering, and zealous nationalism.
It’s difficult to watch election’s increasingly concern unsubstantiated beliefs and the leveraging of individual and community fear. There will always be extremes on both sides of the aisle, and within a democracy they have the right to voice their opinions. However, when given an excessive amount of power and such a large platform, democratic society begins to falter: sensibility, facts, and compromise are left in the dust.