Ben Carson, Not A Serious Candidate, Still Equates America To Nazi Germany

Ben Carson is not a serious candidate for President, but he's likely to get a lot of support from the GOP's Tea Party wing.

Dr. Ben Carson Speaks At Launch Of New Media Online Network In Scottsdale, Arizona

Several times over the past couple years, Baltimore neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has become something of a celebrity on the right thanks to his incindiary comments about President Obama, has made direct analogies between the policies of the Obama Administration and either slavery or Nazi Germany. Indeed, it is rhetoric like this that has no doubt made him so popular among the Fox News/talk radio crowd and led to the speculation about him running for President. Most recently, Carson has hinted that there was a “strong likelihood” that he would run for the Republican nomination in 2016 and, immediately after the election in November, he released a video that many saw as the start of that bid although it did not constitute a formal announcement of any kind. That move led to Carson and Fox News cutting ties, which is usually a sign that someone is on track to run for office. More recently, Carson finished quite strongly in a new CNN/ORC poll of potential candidates, garnering the support of 10% of the respondents, putting him in second place behind Mitt Romney and ahead of all the other potential candidates.

Yesterday, Carson had what probably qualifies as his first serious press interview in an appearance on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, and he refused to back down from his previous comments:

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson stood by his controversial comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.

Asked by Blitzer whether he would amend or take back his comments, Carson said “Absolutely not.”

Carson made the comments during a March interview with conservative news outlet Breitbart.com. He noted that the Third Reich was “using its tools to intimidate the population,” and said that “we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”

In elaborating on those comments Wednesday, he again suggested that the U.S. “government is using instruments of government, like the IRS, to punish its opponents.”

Pressed by Blitzer on whether the comparison was appropriate, Carson argued his focus on the specific words was “part of the problem.”

“What you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said. And that’s part of the problem,” he said.

“You are just focusing on the words ‘Nazi Germany’ and completely missing the point of what is being said,” he added.

He was also asked about comments that Obamacare was the “worst thing” that’s happened in the U.S. “since slavery.” Carson said whether the health care reform law was worse than other crises that have gripped the nation, like the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 or the Great Depression, is “not the point.”

“The point of what I’m saying…is a major fundamental shift of power has occurred,” from the people to the government, and “if we continue down that road the United States of America becomes something very different than it was intended to be.”

Rhetoric like this will no doubt play well with the base of the Republican Party. Indeed, the things Carson has said that most people would consider “controversial” are commonly repeated among the Tea Party wing of the GOP and largely considered not controversial at all. If anything, equating Obamacare with Nazism, slavery, and the September 11th attacks is likely to help enhance Carson’s profile with GOP base voters rather than detract from it. Obviously, that says something about what’s going on the with the GOP base, but all it really does in reinforce what we’ve already known about that segment of the Republican Party, which four years ago was backing candidates like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann and in recent years has rallied around people like Ted Cruz and causes like a scheme to “defund” Obamacare” that was doomed from the start. Obviously, comparing the Affordable Care Act to examples of some of the worst events of recent human history, even thought it is ridiculously over the top, is going to appeal to them. I suspect that Carson knows this and is using the rhetoric deliberately for precisely that purpose.

Perhaps the more interesting part of the interview, though, came later when it seemed like Carson was wondering why anyone would want to be President:

Ben Carson, a potential contender for the GOP presidential nomination, said that running for president “has not been a goal” and called the position “horrible and stressful.”

“I’m not sure that anybody wants to put themselves in that kind of horrible and stressful situation, that has never been a goal of mine,” Carson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.

He continued, “However, I do recognize that the direction of our country is not a good one…many Americans have been indicating that they want me to [run], so whether I want to do it or not, I do feel an obligation to at least very seriously consider the possibility.”

As Jazz Shaw notes, at some point every potential candidate faces the “Why do you want to be President?” question, and if you’re going to be a serious candidate you’ve got to come up with some kind of a serious answer to that question. Perhaps most famously, the late Senator Ted Kennedy pretty much doomed his 1980 bid for the office when Kennedy flubbed his answer to that question in an interview with Roger Mudd. Carson’s answer is even stranger than Kennedy’s because he’s basically saying why would anyone want that stupid job? Well, Dr. Carson if that’s how you feel about it, then why would you run for it? In the end, I doubt that the true believers that might be inclined to support him are going to care one way or the other.

Much like Herman Cain, Ben Carson is not going to be a serious candidate for the Republican nomination in the sense that he has no realistic chance of actually winning the nomination. At the same time, like Cain, it is quite likely that Carson will garner something of a cult following during the course of the campaign, and that’s likely to lead to more press coverage. This will especially be true of he continues making ridiculous analogies to Nazis and slavery. Not only will that rhetoric gain him support among the hardcore basis, though, it will also force more serious candidates to respond to questions about whether or not they agree with him, just as candidates like Romney were put on the spot to respond when candidates like Bachmann and Cain made ridiculous statements during the 2012 campaign. That won’t be helpful to efforts by the serious candidates for the nomination to navigate that always tricky path between being conservative enough to win the GOP election but not so far to the right that they poison the well should they end up winning the nomination and have to campaign in the General Election against a Democratic candidate who will obviously use their words in the primary campaign against them. That’s the real danger that novelty candidates like Carson, who in the end is running for reasons that have nothing to do with being the nominee, pose in races like this, and why it would be in the interest of the more serious candidates to neutralize them as much as possible by taking measures such as limiting the number of multi-candidate debates, a step that the Republican National Committee is hoping to implement in 2016. The success of those efforts could go a long way toward deciding the GOP’s fate in 2016.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. SenyorDave says:

    The national Republican party is no longer a serious party. Why not Carson, who isn’t serious, as the Republican presidential candidate?

  2. gVOR08 says:

    As with many Republicans, there’s the question of whether he believes the stupid stuff he says or is playing a role. As with the question of whether W Bush was not bright enough to think things through, or just didn’t bother, eventually you have to realize that a) you’ll never know, b) it doesn’t matter, and c) being conservatives they’ll eventually believe their own BS anyway. Bush was “effectively stupid” whatever his IQ and Carson is effectively a RW whack job.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    See my earlier paraphrase of Pappy O’Daniel wrt/ Michael Steele. Carson, and Caine, represent the Republican belief that Obama was elected only because he’s black. Actual research seems to say being black cost Obama maybe 6%. That was IIRC ’08 data, but imagine the freakout we’d be seeing if Obama had taken Romney by say 56/42.

  4. stonetools says:

    I dunno. Is Ben Carson that much more of an unserious candidate than Ted Cruz? He is simply a little further along on the wacko right wing continuum.

  5. Kylopod says:

    Carson’s answer is even stranger than Kennedy’s because he’s basically saying why would anyone want that stupid job? Well, Dr. Carson if that’s how you feel about it, then why would you run for it?

    He’s trying to paint an image of himself as a selfless martyr walking across a bed of hot coals simply out of a sense of duty. It’s basically a right-wing parody version of politics, and that’s also how to interpret his remarks on Nazi Germany, which come down to comparing whatever you dislike to Nazis. What sets him apart from his predecessors like Bachmann or Cain is that he’s unquestionably a brilliant, well-educated, and accomplished human being, and that makes his comments sad on top of ridiculous, because he’s someone who should know better.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Off Topic, but related to Republicans speaking nonsense; the last we heard from OTB on Obamacare was Schumer reinforcing the company line.
    Here’s what you won’t hear about on this website (or Fox News for that matter).
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/12/4-new-studies-obamacare-working-incredibly-well.html

  7. CSK says:

    Carson did say something once to the effect that he’d prefer it if crazy people were prohibited from access to automatic weapons, and that cost him some of his fan base.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    If anything, equating Obamacare with Nazism, slavery, and the September 11th attacks is likely to help enhance Carson’s profile with GOP base voters rather than detract from it

    Of course who better than a Baltimore neurosurgeon to understand the similarities between and among ACA, Nazism and slavery?

    A Cruz/Carson or Palin/Carson ticket would be exactly what America deserves.

  9. James Trout says:

    Actually Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain are well educated and accomplished human beings in their own right. Bachmann is a lawyer and Cain is a prominent business leader. The real difference is that until Dr Carson essentially told President Obama to his face to suck it last year, he was best known for his genuine Horatio Alger story, his rise from poverty in Detroit to becoming a prominent and successful pediatric neurosurgeon. He had certainly written books and columns making his socially conservative views known, but not many people noticed. He’s clearly not in this to win it. If he was, he would have run for elected office at a smaller level long before.

  10. Kylopod says:

    @James Trout:

    Actually Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain are well educated and accomplished human beings in their own right

    But would you describe either of them as brilliant? In any case, while both may be accomplished, neither one comes close to the work Dr. Carson did with conjoined twins.

  11. bitterclinger says:

    Ben Carson’s lack of understanding the 2nd Amendment told me he wasn’t a serious candidate. Trying to make him sound dumb facing Wolf Blitzer doesn’t really accomplish the author’s purpose as Wolf’s a partisan hack.

  12. JohnMcC says:

    Much more revealing regarding Dr Carson and conservatism in general is the denial that words have actual meaning. “You are focusing on the words Nazi Germany and completely missing the point,” he says. His point is that delaying a request for tax exempt status based on phony ‘social welfare’ claims is exactly like Nazi Germany — a form of state terrorism designed to silence political opponents through fear. He is wrong. But saying he is wrong joins Mr Blitzer with the tyranny of ‘policial correctness’.

    When I was in my twenties, I was a conservative. I adored Russell Kirk. When I became a man I put away childish things, as the apostle Paul did. But I still rest firmly on the granite assertion that words have meanings or politics becomes a contest of power not of ideas. RIP Dr Kirk. May you be spared from knowing what has become of your movement.

  13. humanoid.panda says:

    @gVOR08: I’ve read that research, and I do have to say I am skeptical. I could see a scenario when someone like Clinton beats McCain by 12-14 point rather than the 8 points Obama beat him by. However, given the economic grind of Obama’s first term, and the growing polarization of the electorate, how likely it is any Democrat would have had a historic landslide in 2012?

  14. humanoid.panda says:

    @bitterclinger:

    Trying to make him sound dumb facing Wolf Blitzer doesn’t really accomplish the author’s purpose as Wolf’s a partisan hack

    Yes, the only way for the child of Holocaust survivors to be a little bothered about someone running for President by comparing liberals to Nazis is because of his undying loyalty to the democRAT party.

  15. Tillman says:

    “What you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said. And that’s part of the problem,” he said.

    “You are just focusing on the words ‘Nazi Germany’ and completely missing the point of what is being said,” he added.

    This is so mindbogglingly stupid and ignorant of history that I have to contest everyone above this post who asserted Carson is brilliant.

    Like, is he trying, unsuccessfully, to channel Derrida-esque deconstruction here? Is he actually saying a lake is blue at midday when talking about Nazi Germany? If I can’t use the words he used to decipher the meaning of what he was saying, WTF am I supposed to use?!

    @JohnMcC: Beat me to it.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    …he’s unquestionably a brilliant, well-educated, and accomplished human being…

    I’ve seen this in friends of mine. They’re not brilliant, but reasonably bright and well educated, yet they unquestioningly believe nonsense. It’s not just that they believe it, but they seem unable to even discuss it. They’ll write a thousand word email and leave you unsure what their point was. I came to realize they have years of education, but very narrow education. They simply don’t have the basic background in history or econ or literature to think about a lot of problems.

    There’s an old story, quite possibly apocryphal, that NASA needed a group of people cross trained in engineering and medicine. They did the obvious thing, hired some doctors and sent them to engineering school for a year or so. They failed. Eventually they gave up, hired engineers, and sent them to several years of med school. Medicine relies very heavily on rote learning as opposed to derivation. The doctors couldn’t learn the math and reasoning skills for engineering. If you know Newton’s Laws and math thru integral calculus, you can reason out half of mechanical engineering.

    I don’t have one myself except for electives and reading, but there are things to be said for a Liberal Arts education.

  17. Davebo says:

    @James Trout:

    Bachman is a graduate of the last class of Oral Roberts University’s O. W. Coburn School of Law.

    It was originally denied accreditation by the ABA.

    As to her accomplishments they amount to basically getting elected to the House and garnering hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal subdues for her husband’s Christian counseling practice and her father in law’s farm.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @humanoid.panda: Don’t disagree at all, hence my quibble about ’08 data. I used Romney as a more recent, immediate, example for rhetorical effect. I do think Obama’s victory over McCain was surprisingly low given the financial crash and his clear superiority as a campaigner. I think were Obama Caucasian he’d have easily gotten into double digits. Possibly also Clinton. I voted for her in the primary for no reason other than electability, but I have no idea how to factor in gender. I think the Rs were a little slow learning how to dog whistle against Obama. They might have been quicker with a woman.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Davebo: She did practice as an IRS lawyer. (Ain’t that a hoot?) But by some accounts she wasn’t very good at it. One of life’s lessons it that strivers, by hard work, diligence, and perhaps luck, can go a long way despite amazing talent gaps. Take Madonna as an example. On the other hand there’s Palin, who somehow went far despite no hard work.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Sarah Palin had the political equivalent of starlet-discovered-on-diner-stool happen to her. Once she was pushed in front of the cameras, everyone with a brain quickly realized that the aw-shucks folksy charm required to run a cash cow state with more bears than humans had nothing to do with what was required to run the U.S.A.

    In fact, Palin gave the impression that she didn’t realize anything outside of Alaska existed, or that a sizable percentage of the U.S. population lives in these things called “towns” and “cities”.

  21. John Peabody says:

    I will now glaze over any article with “Ben Carson” in the headline. Would that others did the same! I have a feeling that OTB peopel will still mention him…why?

  22. NorthCharlton says:

    “There’s an old story, quite possibly apocryphal, that NASA needed a group of people cross trained in engineering and medicine. They did the obvious thing, hired some doctors and sent them to engineering school for a year or so. They failed. Eventually they gave up, hired engineers, and sent them to several years of med school. Medicine relies very heavily on rote learning as opposed to derivation. The doctors couldn’t learn the math and reasoning skills for engineering. If you know Newton’s Laws and math thru integral calculus, you can reason out half of mechanical engineering.”

    You have an apocryphal story, I have an anecdote. My kid sister is a graduate engineer from a premier upper Midwest university who practiced in her field for a while and then moved on to become a medical doctor: an internist, and specialist, and professor of medicine, at that same school.

    So I rather doubt that the intellectual skills necessary for success in one preclude success in the other.

    That said, your point about the value of a liberal education is well taken, since one who is liberally educated, that is educated in the arts necessary to the l’homme libre, would quickly recognize that Carson’s remarks are close enough for ‘government work’, as they say. Especially, if you compare the present Democrat party membership to those Reichstag members who passed the enabling act. It is also likely that Obama’s left-fascist love of “positive liberty” fits this template quite well, thank you.

    And of course Obama’s attempt to rule by decree, something Democrats openly applaud, but even the Washington Post recognizes as unprecedented under our laws, reminds us that Democrats’ love democracy the way a burglar loves a ladder; as something to be kicked away once the thief gets where he’s aiming to go. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/president-obamas-unilateral-actionon-immigration-has-no-precedent/2014/1/03/3fd78650-79a3-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html

    We also now find that the White House has been accessing tax payer documents in contravention to the law. Does anyone imagine that that is all about drug cartels, and not significantly related to the same kind politically motivated program of harassment that Lois Lerner was shown to be involved in?

    “In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. ”

    “Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain unaffected.”

    “Treaties of the Reich with foreign states, which relate to matters of Reich legislation shall for the duration of the validity of these laws not require the consent of the Reichstag. The Reich government shall adopt the necessary legislation to implement these agreements.”

    In this case of course, the left-fascist Democrats signaled their desires with public acclimation, rather than with an actual legislative act.

    You see someone had to act. It was too important to leave up to the lawmaking body.

    Where before, have we heard the kind of reasoning currently used by Democrats? Oh yeah, the enabling act: “Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich”

  23. michael reynolds says:

    We need to stop falling for IQ as the universal signifier of worth. No doubt Dr. Carson has a high IQ – you don’t get through med school without being bright. Bright ≠ Right.

    IQ is horsepower. Let a fool drive a Lamborghini and it just goes real fast into a wall. Or think processing speed. It’s still GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out, and it doesn’t matter how fast the garbage is processed.

    IQ is not wisdom. IQ is not knowledge or understanding. IQ can be extraordinarily narrow. So even very intelligent people can be flaming jackasses, as Dr. Carson regularly demonstrates.

  24. NorthCharlton says:

    I see, I left in the “the” preceding the ” ‘l “, a potential redundancy for those who might want to read the sentence without pause bracketing “l’homme libre”. Just pretend the “L” isn’t there.,

  25. Scott F. says:

    @JohnMcC:

    This. Carson’s inflammatory rhetoric serves exactly it’s purpose. For his primary audience, the RW base, it’s red meat. For his secondary audience, anyone who’s not already onto his rhetorical games and is therefore still persuadable, it allows him to claim others are twisting his words and losing focus on his core message, while diverting attention away from the fact that his core message is paper-thin and full of holes. There is no other audience, as Carson couldn’t give any other person listening to him.

    It actually is kind of brilliant – in an evil mastermind sort of way.

  26. CB says:

    @NorthCharlton:

    That took a lot of words for you to say “I don’t understand comparative politics.” Seriously, deep breaths. It’s not that bad.

  27. Scott F. says:

    @Scott F.:

    Note that Blitzer never says: “Okay, forget the Nazi thing. Can you name anyone in the US who’s truly being intimidated from saying what they believe because the fear the IRS?”

    Point Carson.

  28. george says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t have one myself except for electives and reading, but there are things to be said for a Liberal Arts education.

    That is true, though my experience (full disclaimer – I’m an engineer with an undergrad degree in physics) is that your average scientist has taken more liberal arts classes, and more importantly, is more interested in Liberal Arts (especially history for some reason – lot’s of us are history buffs, though of course we’re talking about reading popularizers like Barb Tuchman or J.M. Roberts rather than original material) than your average liberal arts student has taken science courses or has read popularizations of science.

    More scientists will have read in their spare time something like Dickens or Tolstoy than liberal arts students will have read Scientific America or even Popular Mechanics. So I’d argue that in general scientists are probably closer to having a general education (both the physical world and the the cultural world) than Liberal Arts students. C.P. Snows “Two Cultures” makes the point that more scientists could tell you something about Shakespeare than humanities students could explain the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Of course, the best undergrad education would be an equal mixture of science and humanities (and not the simplified courses given to non-majors in both science and humanities- everyone would take science major and humanties major courses). But that’s not happening anywhere.

    And yes, Carson is not a serious candidate, even for a bat sh*t crazy party like the current GOP.

  29. Franklin says:

    Ben Carson:

    we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe

    Apparently this jackass has never looked at a comment section on the Internet.

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @NorthCharlton:

    So I rather doubt that the intellectual skills necessary for success in one preclude success in the other.

    Despite missing that my point was that the problem is one-way, not symmetric (and I certainly don’t meant to imply that it’s absolute, applying to all doctors), you were doing OK until you went full wingnut, which has what to do with what I said?

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @george: It used to be that a solid Liberal Arts curriculuum started on a firm basis of stuff like a good knowledge of Latin and Greek and went on from there. Pounding Latin into one’s head is a good way to develop at least SOME skills. Plus people were expected to have wide experience in what we’d probably call “cultural background” — reading essays by the greats, reading Montesquieu, reading (and understanding all the cultural references) of great works of literature.

    Based on my own experience, I have to say that present-day M.A. programs in the US in the liberal arts are pretty thin soup by comparison to what’s demanded in Europe. I spent one year in a Master’s program in London, and they didn’t even allow me into the program until I demonstrated fluency in both Latin and Medieval French. (I also had a teacher that expected we would be able to translate legal Latin on the fly in class.)

  32. NorthCharlton says:

    @gVOR08:

    You wanted to attack Carson ad hominem. But, obviously lacking leverage as far as his intellectual credentials went, you had to try another tack.

    So, you presented an apocryphal story concerning doctors’ difficulties with math and engineering style reasoning.

    I quoted you fairly, and then presented a real example which showed that your apocryphal story was about worth what you paid for it.

    Don’t blame me for not divining what you would have said or meant, if you had actually thought of it.

  33. NorthCharlton says:

    @CB:

    CB says:
    Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 13:20

    @NorthCharlton:

    That took a lot of words for you to say “I don’t understand comparative politics.” Seriously, deep breaths. It’s not that bad.”

    Guess you didn’t follow the link to the Washington Post article.

  34. Another Mike says:

    @Franklin:

    Apparently this jackass has never looked at a comment section on the Internet.

    Nicely said Mr. Franklin Anonymous. Or is that Mr. Anonymous Franklin. Or maybe something else entirely.

  35. stonetools says:

    @george:

    And yes, Carson is not a serious candidate, even for a bat sh*t crazy party like the current GOP

    I dunno. there is at least one commenter here who takes seriously Carson’s proposition that Obama is the real Nazi, so there is a constituency that Carson can appeal to.

  36. Rex Crouch says:

    My problem with Carson is… He said on the Glen Beck show that he supports banning semi-automatic firearms inside city limits. If he can’t read and understand what the 2nd Amendment says, he probably can’t read the rest of the Bill of Rights. We already have a President like that.

  37. Rick DeMent says:

    My problem with Carson is… He said on the Glen Beck show that he supports banning semi-automatic firearms inside city limits. If he can’t read and understand what the 2nd Amendment says, he probably can’t read the rest of the Bill of Rights. We already have a President like that. –

    Right, I’m sure you interpret the commerce clause literally as well.

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @NorthCharlton: Umh…no.

    Many people have observed that Carson seems to say things that are surprising given his obvious intelligence. I generalized this to a common situation I’ve observed with other people and offered some explanation of the phenomenon. If you wish to score that as an ad hominem attack on Carson, what ever.

    Your sister starting as an engineer and becoming a doctor actually supports my story.

    You then went on to describe Obama as literally like Nazi Germany. a step even Carson declined to take when challenged.

  39. Dave D says:

    and said that “we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”

    Says the man comparing the USA to Nazi Germany

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Rex Crouch: Having a few minutes and being slightly curious, I looked up Carson’s position on guns. Struck me as mostly incoherent. Underpants gnome stuff: The 2nd Amendment is sacred, ??, so bad things won’t happen with guns.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @NorthCharlton:

    Both you and Dr. Carson should take some time to learn something about the actual 3rd Reich. Were you to do so, you’d recognize, as the rest of us already do, that such comparisons are ignorant and contemptible.

  42. Barry says:

    @Tillman: “Like, is he trying, unsuccessfully, to channel Derrida-esque deconstruction here? Is he actually saying a lake is blue at midday when talking about Nazi Germany? If I can’t use the words he used to decipher the meaning of what he was saying, WTF am I supposed to use?!”

    Simple – he’s a liar. Somebody pointed out a lie, and he is trying to weasel out of it.

  43. Barry says:

    @NorthCharlton: “You have an apocryphal story, I have an anecdote. My kid sister is a graduate engineer from a premier upper Midwest university who practiced in her field for a while and then moved on to become a medical doctor: an internist, and specialist, and professor of medicine, at that same school.

    So I rather doubt that the intellectual skills necessary for success in one preclude success in the other.”

    Talk about reading incomprehension – that’s what the guy was saying!

    “That said, your point about the value of a liberal education is well taken, since one who is liberally educated, that is educated in the arts necessary to the l’homme libre, would quickly recognize that Carson’s remarks are close enough for ‘government work’, as they say. ”

    No, they wouldn’t, because they’d know better.

    “Especially, if you compare the present Democrat party membership to those Reichstag members who passed the enabling act. ”

    Let’s see: squabbling sorta centrists to liberals who on a good day can flustercluck in the same direction vs. right-wing fascists fanatically supporting a dictatorship.

    “It is also likely that Obama’s left-fascist love of “positive liberty” fits this template quite well, thank you.”

    No, but thanks for playing!

    – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ben-carson-not-a-serious-candidate-still-equates-america-to-nazi-germany/?#comment-1988822

  44. Perhaps most famously, the late Senator Ted Kennedy pretty much doomed his 1980 bid for the office when Kennedy flubbed his answer to that question in an interview with Roger Mudd.

    I’m pretty sure the death of Mary Jo Kopechne is what doomed Ted Kennedy’s 1980 bid for the office.

  45. Franklin says:

    @Another Mike: Heh, you *do* have a point. 🙂

  46. al-Ameda says:

    @NorthCharlton:

    Especially, if you compare the present Democrat party membership to those Reichstag members who passed the enabling act. It is also likely that Obama’s left-fascist love of “positive liberty” fits this template quite well, thank you.

    There is no “Democrat Party,” there is, however, a “Democratic Party.”
    The rest of your false equivalence follows nicely.
    Please continue.

  47. JohnMcC says:

    @NorthCharlton: In regards to ‘left-fascist’, see my comment above regarding words, meaning, etc. Then go soak you head and get the stinky stuff out of it.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    Aww….look at the cute troll that followed me home, Mommy….can I keep him? Huh? Huh?

  49. Gustopher says:

    This really does show how screwed up America is about race. Republicans are so happy to have any black people support their policies that they will hold them up on a pedestal no matter how incredibly crazy they happen to be.

  50. NorthCharlton says:

    Klypod says: “he’s unquestionably a brilliant, well-educated, and accomplished human being, and that makes his comments sad on top of ridiculous, because he’s someone who should know better. – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ben-carson-not-a-serious-candidate-still-equates-america-to-nazi-germany/?#comment-1988859

    gVOR08 says:
    Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 12:14

    @Kylopod:

    …he’s unquestionably a brilliant, well-educated, and accomplished human being…

    I’ve seen this in friends of mine. They’re not brilliant, but reasonably bright and well educated, yet they unquestioningly believe nonsense. It’s not just that they believe it, but they seem unable to even discuss it….

    There’s an old story, quite possibly apocryphal, that NASA needed a group of people cross trained in engineering and medicine. They did the obvious thing, hired some doctors and sent them to engineering school for a year or so. They failed. Eventually they gave up, hired engineers, and sent them to several years of med school. Medicine relies very heavily on rote learning as opposed to derivation. The doctors couldn’t learn the math and reasoning skills for engineering. If you know Newton’s Laws and math thru integral calculus, you can reason out half of mechanical engineering. …
    – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ben-carson-not-a-serious-candidate-still-equates-america-to-nazi-germany/?#comment-1988859

    NC:

    “So I rather doubt that the intellectual skills necessary for success in one preclude success in the other.”

    Barry:

    Talk about reading incomprehension – that’s what the guy was saying!
    – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ben-carson-not-a-serious-candidate-still-equates-america-to-nazi-germany/?#comment-1988859

    What the guy Barry is referring to actually said:

    “Medicine relies very heavily on rote learning as opposed to derivation. The doctors couldn’t learn the math and reasoning skills for engineering – See more at: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ben-carson-not-a-serious-candidate-still-equates-america-to-nazi-germany/?#comment-1988859

    Now, apparently you imagine that what “the guy” was saying in his apocryphal story demonstrates that engineers, or some engineers, have the intellectual wherewithal to become doctors, but that the reciprocal is certainly not true; and, that my true anecdote of success in both fields – engineering first – merely reinforces the negative proposition advanced within the apocryphal story rather than the likelihood that the intellectual capacity for one field is sufficient for success in another.

    But your insinuation does follow as a reasonable inference.

    Since the story of cross-over failure is admittedly apocryphal [forget the motivational issue involved in a doctor of medicine really wishing to become an engineer], and the story of cross-over success is true, it merely demonstrates what I said it did, that it is doubtful,” … that the intellectual skills necessary for success in one preclude success in the other”

    You cannot infer a negative conclusion confirming the “the guy” from a positive premiss formed from my true anecdote; and the “the guy’s” negative conclusion regarding the intellectual capacity of doctors to reason remains at this point not only unconfirmed by any subsequent citations or studies but apocryphal in the first place.

    Now, if the general observation that the Democrat Party has enthusiastically embraced what might be fairly called left-fascism, offends Democrats, then they had better get used to being offended; since Obama is on record as endorsing the fascist version of “liberty”; his “Obama care” architect is on record as stating that it was only due to the stupidity of the program’s supporters and the deceitfulness of its Administration and congressional sponsors that it actually passed into law [pure Democrat support], and we have not even started on the Administration’s IRS targeting of conservative activist groups, the executive action that was even too much for the Washington Post, or clowns like Nancy Pelosi, who coyly announced, in contravention of every applicable principle of valid law making, that “you have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it”

    “Left-fascist” hardly begins to fully describe the depths of political depravity top which the Democrat faithful have descended.

  51. Bokonon says:

    @SenyorDave: But clearly, being a serious political party (or not being a serious party) has got nothing at all to do with amassing massive amounts of power, and controlling a dominant share of statehouses (plus both houses of Congress).

    They are certainly an excellent advertising and entertainment group, though.

  52. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve seen this in friends of mine. They’re not brilliant, but reasonably bright and well educated, yet they unquestioningly believe nonsense.

    I know a woman who has a degree in biology and has always struck me as a highly intelligent, sharply critical thinker. I was therefore more than a bit surprised when she revealed to me one day that she believes in astrology. It seems to be a fact of life that people can be incredibly smart in one area and mind-numbingly dumb in another. It’s one of the reasons I’m a bit more hesitant than some of my fellow liberals to apply the “stupid” label to some people.

  53. An Interested Party says:

    “Left-fascist” hardly begins to fully describe the depths of political depravity top which the Democrat faithful have descended.

    Unserious candidates have unserious people trying to defend them…who in their right mind thinks of the Democrat(ic) Party as being full of fascists? I mean, who thinks that among people who aren’t in mental hospitals, that is…

  54. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Another Mike: This particular criticism coming from “Another (anonymous) Mike. Hmmmm………

    (Or are you admitting that you actually do think you are living in Nazi Germany? And if so, have you been living there since the dawn of the Internet or have you gone “into the wind” only recently? We’ll never know.)

    (As for me, I disguise myself because in my real life, I’m afraid of what people will think if they know that I am just another ignorant cracker. So far, I’ve fooled them.)

  55. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @NorthCharlton: There’s only one problem with your explanation: you are using a similar to disprove that the opposite assumption (a counter factual) is also valid. In his (possibly) apocryphal story, the doctors were unable (or uninterested in) learning engineering. He went on to posit an explanation for why that happened and went on to note that engineers were able to learn medicine, with an explanation of why.

    In your anecdote, you note that your sister went from engineering to medicine–exactly as those in his apocryphal did– and concluded that her ability to do what he acknowledged others succeeded at (while providing a theory for success) was because of the same quality that he alluded to in his explanation and somehow disproves his original assumption about the failure of the other group.

    Not seeing all the dots connect in your explanation. But you are welcome to try a 5th time.

  56. Bananafish says:

    Love how the left is calling the right stupid when the word ‘incendiary’ is spelled wrong in this article.

  57. Grewgills says:

    @NorthCharlton:

    You have an apocryphal story, I have an anecdote. My kid sister is a graduate engineer from a premier upper Midwest university who practiced in her field for a while and then moved on to become a medical doctor: an internist, and specialist, and professor of medicine, at that same school.

    You do realize that this only reinforces his point don’t you? The MDs could power through on rote learning while the engineers had to think critically and derive answers to more complicated problems from simpler axioms. The MDs did not do well in engineering programs while the engineers were able to succeed in the medical training. Your sister is an example of the latter, not the former.
    The rest of what you wrote was ahistorical tripe.

  58. Scott O says:

    @Bananafish: I’ll see your incindiary grammar Nazism and raise you an improper use of single quotation marks grammer Nazism.

  59. SJ Reidhead says:

    That’s okay. If Ben Carson equates the US with Nazi Germany, then he is Sgt. Schultz “I know nothing…”

  60. amazedhuman says:

    He IS a serious candidate, at least for millions of Americans. And he’s only saying what we millions of Americans are saying too.

  61. Barry says:

    @Franklin:

    Ben Carson:
    “we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe”

    Franklin: “Apparently this jackass has never looked at a comment section on the Internet.”

    Or the words coming out of his own mouth, or of the mouths of the whackjob section of the GOP (i.e., all of it).

  62. Barry says:

    @grumpy realist: “I spent one year in a Master’s program in London, and they didn’t even allow me into the program until I demonstrated fluency in both Latin and Medieval French. (I also had a teacher that expected we would be able to translate legal Latin on the fly in class.)”

    A master’ s program in what?

    For example, my statistics master’s required no Latin, and not even fluency in Modern French. Neither my second master’s program, nor the Ph.D. program I spent some time in. They did require math, for some reason 🙂

  63. Barry says:

    @NorthCharlton: “You wanted to attack Carson ad hominem. But, obviously lacking leverage as far as his intellectual credentials went, you had to try another tack.”

    Well no, and Carson attacks himself quite nicely.

  64. Barry says:

    @Rex Crouch: “We already have a President like that.”

    We had a President like that in the last administration, and right-wingers were just fine.

  65. Barry says:

    @gVOR08: “Your sister starting as an engineer and becoming a doctor actually supports my story.”

    It was an amazing comprehension or logic fail, wasn’t it?

    “You then went on to describe Obama as literally like Nazi Germany. a step even Carson declined to take when challenged.”

    Which explains his first part.

  66. Barry says:

    @Dave D: “Says the man comparing the USA to Nazi Germany..”

    Publicly, repeatedly, with not only no legal consequences, but positive social and political consequences.

  67. Barry says:

    @NorthCharlton:

    “Now, apparently you imagine that what “the guy” was saying in his apocryphal story demonstrates that engineers, or some engineers, have the intellectual wherewithal to become doctors, but that the reciprocal is certainly not true; and, that my true anecdote of success in both fields – engineering first – merely reinforces the negative proposition advanced within the apocryphal story rather than the likelihood that the intellectual capacity for one field is sufficient for success in another.”

    Gawd.

  68. Mikey says:

    “What you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said. And that’s part of the problem,” he said.

    “You are just focusing on the words ‘Nazi Germany’ and completely missing the point of what is being said,” he added.

    There are two points to make here.

    First, Dr. Carson should realize the invocation of “Nazi Germany” will immediately become the focus of the conversation, because it represents a pinnacle of evil oppression, genocide, and aggression. Throwing out a phrase so closely associated with images of fascistic leader worship, bombed-out cities, and piles of emaciated corpses, and then complaining the listener is somehow distracted from “what was actually being said,” is utter foolishness.

    Second, any equation of America 2014 to Nazi Germany is the height of historical ignorance. There is simply no valid parallel that can be drawn. It’s ludicrous on its face, and anyone who buys it calls their own level of intellectual discernment into serious question.

  69. Kylopod says:

    amazedhuman:

    He IS a serious candidate, at least for millions of Americans. And he’s only saying what we millions of Americans are saying too.

    Millions? Millions? Wow. Of course, in a nation of some 316 million people, millions could still be less than 1% of the public, but that’s still real intimidating, ain’t it?

  70. Another Mike says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    This particular criticism coming from “Another (anonymous) Mike. Hmmmm………

    I have been waiting for this comment. It occurred to me as I typed the post.

    I am an old retired guy from the first post-war baby boomer year. I write letters to the editor of our small town newspaper, which requires giving my real name and address. At first the editor contacted me to be sure I was who I said I was. Yes, I am really a Mike.

    Writing using one’s real name and address can cause problems. It is not just that one reveals how stupid or ignorant one is, or is it about embarrassment. Luckily in my case I have no employer and boss to piss off. I also have no customers to offend. Heck, I don’t even have any friends to make mad, and my relatives I tell to deny that I am from their line.

    Dr. Carson is correct that speaking out can get a person in trouble, and not just with the government, but dragging Nazi Germany into the discussion is a very bad idea almost every time.

  71. NorthCharlton says:

    Grewgills says:
    Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 22:31

    @NorthCharlton:

    You have an apocryphal story, I have an anecdote. My kid sister is a graduate engineer from a premier upper Midwest university who practiced in her field for a while and then moved on to become a medical doctor: an internist, and specialist, and professor of medicine, at that same school.

    You do realize that this only reinforces his point don’t you? The MDs could power through on rote learning while the engineers had to think critically and derive answers to more complicated problems from simpler axioms. The MDs did not do well in engineering programs while the engineers were able to succeed in the medical training. Your sister is an example of the latter, not the former.”

    Ok, here’s the problem with you folks. You are bandying the term “logic” around without apparently understanding anything about the rules of inference.

    The first rule is that no true conclusion follows from false premise. Until such time as Barry or Gork8 or whomever provides the actual story so it can be evaluated and placed in context no sound real world conclusion follows from a fictional premiss..

    The second principle is that while the “apocryphal story” demonstrates nothing, my anecdote at least shows that the person who was capable of being a doctor had also demonstrated the capacity for being an engineer. Had she become a doctor first, is there any reason to believe that – other than the obvious motivational issues concerning additional cost versus personal benefit – she would have lacked the capacity for becoming a doctor?

    Yet you use that very assumption and apply it to Carson in order to attempt an impeachment of his intellectual ability to comment perceptively on the Administration’s IRS political targeting scandal and the resultant political effects.

    The next problem you have is that you are implicitly trying to draw an E form proposition from an O form proposition as a form of immediate inference. You use weasel words such as ‘tends’ or ‘supports’ as if you are instead engaging in induction; but you are not: an apocryphal story tends or supports nothing. Leaving you with … well, nothing.

    The real question is ‘what would motivate the average doctor to go through the bother of becoming an engineer, rather than vice versa.?”

    http://www.quora.com/I-feel-inferior-for-being-an-engineer-instead-of-a-doctor-What-should-I-do

    The rest of what you wrote was ahistorical tripe

    Too bad for you that Obama is on record endorsing the so called notion “positive liberty”, as opposed to the ‘old fashioned’ constitutional kind.

    He has set the IRS on political opponents, and his attempts to control press access are infamous … http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2013/04/president_obamas_image_machine.html

    Your buddies sneeringly imply that the supposedly fascistic trait of leader worship does not apply to Obama, yet the Internet is filled with videos of goofballs singing his praises, and he was un-ironically referred to by his devotees as “The One” before it became a painful embarrassment on YouTube as blue shirted acolytes sang of hope and change and solidarity with the typical arm and hand gestures so beloved by left-fascists.

    You clowns wouldn’t recognize reason or evidence if it walked up an smacked you right in the chops. Because it has, and you haven’t.

  72. Moosebreath says:

    @Kylopod:

    Since about 19 million voted in the 2012 Republican Primary (cite), and Carson is the first choice of 10% of the persons surveyed, he is in roughly the 2 million range.

  73. grumpy realist says:

    @Barry: It was the M.A. program at the Warburg Institute. It turns out to be one of the very few graduate programs in the UK outside of classics that requires fluency in Latin. (Mainly because we were reading so bloody much of it.)

    One of the joys of my time there was the experience of reading a piece (in Latin) of legal snark and laughing until the tears flowed. Anyone who thinks that medieval jurists were too pompous to ever write bitingly sarcastic commentary should investigate further.

  74. Ted says:

    The larger point Dr. Ben was making is very important. The Obama administration influenced the fearful power of the IRS to intimidate political enemies. This should concern every American. Right or left, this is bad and needs to be exposed and opposed.

    I am an educated research engineer, and when I hear Dr. Ben speak on issues like how he would improve healthcare I hear a man of wisdom and common sense. I am willing to give a chance to someone who is plain spoken and who understands the value of hard work and who has actually accomplished things of value in this world.

    Career politicians are a dime a dozen…let’s try something else.

  75. gVOR08 says:

    @NorthCharlton: Let me tell you another story. This is a true story I saw in Scientific American some years ago. Stuck in my mind because I’m so often reminded of it.

    Late 1800s, there was a wealthy, eccentric Englishman who believed the earth is flat. He offered a challenge, a significant cash prize for anyone who could demonstrate the curvature of the earth. A couple of guys took him up on it. They set up an elegantly simple demonstration.

    There was a conveniently located abandoned canal. Straight as an arrow for miles with stagnant water. A long, absolutely flat, level lake. They made three floats with flags several feet above the water and anchored them one, two, and three miles from a low bridge. On the bridge they set up a thoedolite at the same height off the water as the flags. They leveled the theodolite and saw exactly what they expected to see, the closest flag below the cross hair, the second a somewhat greater distance below the first. And the third an even greater distance below the second. They invited the flat earth gentleman to take a look. He took a long look, stepped back, and said, “See, I told you it was flat.”

    Enjoy your flat earth. Goodbye.

  76. gVOR08 says:

    @Ted: It’s only important if it’s true, which y’all have failed to demonstrate.

  77. JohnMcC says:

    @Ted: What happened regarding the IRS was that a large number of requests for 501(c)4 status were received from politically active organizations. The benefit to the organization being granted that status were twofold: First, they became exempt from paying taxes and second, they could prevent disclosing their donors.

    Other politically active (meaning financially active) organizations have to disclose donors of over $200.

    But the 501(c)4 law specifies that only ‘social welfare’ organizations are allowed the exemption. Examples are the NAACP and the NRA. Both contribute to political campaigns but that is only part of their purpose.

    The IRS delayed the requests and made an effort to verify that the requesting organizations met the critera. Since most (not all) of the requests came from conservative groups it became a cause-celebre (or causus belli).

    The last American president known to have actually targeted political opponents was Mr Nixon.

    Sorry this worried you. Hope you rest easier.

  78. Rick DeMent says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The last American president known to have actually targeted political opponents was Mr Nixon.

    Not Exactly:

    The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California’s largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.

    Rector J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena told many congregants during morning services Sunday that a guest sermon by the church’s former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas, on Oct. 31, 2004, had prompted a letter from the IRS.

    Link keeps getting caught in spam filter

    The lager point though is that this issue was raised to the level of suppressing speech yet no ones speech was ever in danger of being suppressed, the worst that would have happened is that they would have to pay taxes and revel the donors. The level of Perl clutching that went on over this is breathtaking. You would have thought these groups were being water boarded.

  79. Sharon Barnard says:

    Interesting…I seriously doubt if any of these responders can compare their intellect with that of Dr. Carson…what a rambling compilation of nonsense..even the “knowledge” of history is inadequate. Inexperience in the political world is appealing to most of us…He says what he(and we) believe and he has the courage to stand by his beliefs..much more than can be said of our current leader who changes his rhetoric daily to suit and promote his arrogant stances. This fine man brings promise to our country and must be very frightening to his Democratic opponents.

  80. gVOR08 says:

    @Sharon Barnard:

    This fine man brings …must be very frightening to his Democratic opponents.

    At this point he doesn’t have a Democratic opponent. (But thank you for saying Democrat-ic.) He has to get past the long list of Republican opponents first. And there is essentially zero chance of that.

  81. Davebo says:

    @Sharon Barnard:

    My biggest fear is that he will fall by the wayside in the GOP primary just as Bachman, Santorum, Cain and others have in the past.

    Carson is pure gold and every democrat even considering a run for president is paring Crazy Ben can win the primary.

  82. Tillman says:

    @Sharon Barnard:

    He says what he(and we) believe and he has the courage to stand by his beliefs

    How do you know that? He says his words are useless signposts for directing you to what he’s actually saying. At least when Barack Obama flip-flops, there’s a definite statement of his to let you know. With Carson, anything that comes out of his mouth could be considered misinterpreted since he communicates by telepathy, and his mouth-noises are just so much glossolalia.

    Read this again:

    Pressed by Blitzer on whether the comparison was appropriate, Carson argued his focus on the specific words was “part of the problem.”

    “What you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said. And that’s part of the problem,” he said.

    “You are just focusing on the words ‘Nazi Germany’ and completely missing the point of what is being said,” he added.

    Remind me — when people say something, what do they use to say it with?

  83. Grewgills says:

    @NorthCharlton:
    1) Given your equivalence of A therefor B so B therefor A you have no room to lecture any of us on failing to understand the rules of logic.
    2) You are also failing to understand is that medical school and engineering programs are both sorting mechanisms. Medical school sorts strongly for rote memorization. Engineering programs sort more heavily for math and problem solving. The original story pointed out something that comports with my experience teaching, that sorting based on math and problem solving ability is more valuable when trying to find someone who can excel in a variety of disciplines than does sorting based on rote memorization.
    3) Anyone who thinks present day America is remotely comparable to Nazi Germany needs to pull his head out of his a$$.

  84. al-Ameda says:

    @Sharon Barnard:

    He says what he(and we) believe and he has the courage to stand by his beliefs..much more than can be said of our current leader who changes his rhetoric daily to suit and promote his arrogant stances. This fine man brings promise to our country and must be very frightening to his Democratic opponents.

    I suppose he is courageous to stand by his belief that ACA is equivalent to slavery and Nazism. I don’t see it that way, but perhaps I do not understand his asinine phony equivalence?

  85. Tillman says:

    @Tillman: Keep in mind that Doctor Ben Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon, is essentially agreeing with Rafi from The League when he says

    “Words are bullshit, they’re just useless sounds that we make with our stupid mouths!”

  86. JohnMcC says:

    @Rick DeMent: Thank you for the reminder of that event. I recall there have been other so-called-churches that have actually intentionally violated the IRS rules regarding religious tax exemption.

    As you point out, the worst that could happen is that the congregation in question would have to actually pay taxes.

    It seems to me that there is virtually zero chance that the investigatory letter was ordered by the White House. Mr Nixon, on the other hand, personally selected some of the targets of IRS audits. So there’s some distinction.

  87. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Sharon Barnard: Which kind of intelligence? There are more than one and the differences between each can be stark for the same person. He’s ventured into an area where his medical intellect is of limited applicability. A broadly intelligent person would understand that.