Founders

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” ― Bertrand Russell

Few people credit the GOP with high intellectual standards. To a Republican, an opinion has the same weight as fact. Too often evidence contradicting some cherished religious belief is dismissed as being incompatible with God’s word as revealed in His book. Given the width and depth of the GOP’s ignorance, it is hard for one man to stand out. But Ben Carson has managed it.

Where to start?

How about his 1998 claim in an address to St Andrews University – a Seventh Day Adventist establishment? He told the students that “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves.”

Carson is equating his personal theory – based on what he has been inculcated to believe – with the collective wisdom of almost every scientist, who has studied Egyptology. Leaving aside that dichotomy, ask yourself why the Egyptians would build granaries so expensive and inefficient. The pyramids are mostly stones for chrissakes.

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The worst possible design for a granary.

Although he made the remarks 17 years ago, he affirms the belief today.

Carson has also claimed that he once had a conversation with a “well-known physicist” and stumped him – and his ‘faith’ in the Big Bang theory – with talk of entropy. Sounds fascinating. We should get the perspective of the “well-known physicist”. However, Carson has never said who it is. So we will just have to take his word for it.

His knowledge of American history is just as dismal. As conservative a newspaper as the Wall Street Journal called out Carson for his ridiculous claim that none of the Founding Fathers had held elected office. In an attempt to compare himself to these American immortals, he only illuminates the vast gap between their knowledge and his own. For starters, they never claimed that the pyramids were Joseph’s grain houses.

In fact, many of them had been elected to colonial office. And of course, all of the had been elected to the Continental Congress, from which emanated the Declaration of Independence.

Carson later edited his Facebook claim to read that the Founders hadn’t held ‘federal elective’ office. Which is a truism as there was no ‘federal elective office’ until the Founders wrote the Constitution in 1787.

Carson’s personal story is also coming apart. He has boasted that he was offered a scholarship to West Point. The Army has no record of such an offer. And there are no scholarships to West Point as the education is already free. Carson amended his claim to say that he was assured he would get in if he applied. So why not say that in the first place.

The Wall Street Journal is also calling Carson out for an unsubstantiated college story in his 1992 biography. In Carson’s account, he was called the most honest student in a class. But it seems it was an imaginary incident, in an imaginary philosophy class, leading to an imaginary photograph in the Yale Daily News.

A highlight of Carson’s personal narrative is his arrival at religion. He tells of a time he was so enraged he attacked a classmate with a large knife. The blade broke off in the intended victim’s belt buckle. In contrition, he vowed to reject anger. This oft-repeated story of his ‘come to Jesus’ moment has sprung a leak. No witness nor victim has stepped forward. And his classmates remember Carson as a quiet, studious boy.

Carson is by no means the first politician to feel the need to unnecessarily gild the lily. His story was already inspirational. Much as Hillary Clinton’s was before adding a make-believe Bosnian sniper attack.

Carson is following the standard Republican defense when caught in a lie or some inanity. Blame the ‘liberal’ media. Carson has added a personal spin. In his estimation, the media gave Obama – the acquiescent, lefty establishment, acceptable minority –  a free ride. Implying, in contrast, that the media is unduly smearing Carson for being a conservative black man. It is a common theme most vividly pictured by Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, in his complaint of a ‘high-tech’ lynching during his vetting.

Carson’s reputation for integrity and imperturbability is taking a beating. This political neophyte is feeling the heat focused on the frontrunner in a presidential primary contest. And cracks are beginning to show.

 

 

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Originalism Is a Fancy Word for Bigotry.

July 3, 2015

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think” ― Thomas A. Edison Justice Antonin Scalia is a fan of ‘constitutional originalism’. He is qualified – in his own estimation – to divine, as a modern day haruspex, what the […]

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