I apologize profusely to my readers for having been out of action, due to an illness. Frankly, some things could have been missed—Obama told us all that the sky would fall on our heads if the Republicans allowed the Sequester—his idea!—to occur by not granting all of Obama’s spending whims. However, the Sequester, not a spending cut but only a small reduction in spending growth, came and went, and no one noticed.
But also while I was out of action, an outstanding conservative rocketed onto the scene, first appearing at Obama’s prayer breakfast. This was Dr. Ben Carson (b. 1951), the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital (oh, and he’s black too, which normally matters to liberals although not to conservatives).
Hard early life
Dr. Carson was hardly born into privilege. Rather, his family was abandoned by his father, and his mother raised him while working three jobs. In this, he reminds me of another outstanding black conservative, economist Dr. Walter Williams (see my review of his autobiography). Both of them had wise mothers who set high standards.
Ben’s own mother refused to allow anyone to feel sorry for themselves. Ben himself hated school and had a hot temper and low grades. But his mother switched off the TV most of the time and made her sons read two books per week, and even write reports. The boys didn’t realize that mom herself could hardly read them, but she knew the value of learning.
Ben eventually learned to love reading, developing his imagination, and learning. Then he reached the top of his class, and the start of his brilliant career. And Dr. Carson and his wife started the Carson Scholars fund to help other kids read books and excel academically.
Dr. Carson was inspired to learn medicine from missionary doctors who did such good work in healing people both physically and spiritually. He not only excelled academically, but he had excellent hand-eye coordination and 3D visualization skills that made him excel in surgery. He specialized in neurosurgery, i.e. the brain, and then even more in pediatric neurosurgery.
Dr. Carson achieved world fame when he separated conjoined (“Siamese”) twins, who were joined at the back of their heads. He has also operated on unborn babies, such as relieving the pressure on the brain of one twin suffering from hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
Dr. Carson has even had a film made about him, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story” (2009). But his later life has not always been easy—he is a cancer survivor.
Since Dr. Carson has operated on unborn babies, he knows very well that the unborn is more than just a clump of cells:
But here’s how I respond to the question of abortion – “Is it alive?” Take an endoscope and put it into the uterus of a 20 week fetus and see a tiny creature moving about – reacting to stimuli, having eyes, a mouth, little fingers, the heart’s beating, and all kinds of things are going on. Tell me that’s not a living organism. I just don’t buy it!
There are a lot of people who say, “I agree with you. I think that it is wrong, and I would never have an abortion; but I don’t feel that I have the right to impose my feelings on other people.” That may be the response of many people, but suppose the abolitionists had felt that way back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Suppose they had said, “I’m not going to own any slaves. I really think that slavery is wrong, but if you want to own slaves…that’s fine.” If the abolitionists had had that attitude, where would we be now? We have to grapple with these great moral issues, and abortion is an important issue for our generation. You just can’t stick you head in the sand.
It certainly looked like President Obama was uncomfortable with the soft-spoken, witty and immensely logical conservatism of Dr. Carson’s speech. He wasn’t afraid to reject political correctness and attack the national debt:
I’m not politically correct, so I’m sorry, but you know—our deficit is a big problem. Think about it. And our National Debt—$16.5 Trillion dollars—you think that’s not a lot of money? I’ll tell you what! Count one number per second, which you can’t even do because once you get to a thousand it will take you longer than a second, but…one number per second. You know how long it would take you to count to 16 Trillion? 507,000 years—more than a half a million years to get there. We have to deal with this.
Then Dr Carson brilliantly summarized the idiocy of our envy-addled taxation system:
What about our taxation system? So complex there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle of our tax system. If I wanted to get you, I could get you on a tax issue. … I see the fairest individual in the Universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called tithe. Now we don’t necessarily have to do it 10% but it’s principle. He didn’t say, if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithes. He didn’t say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 Billion dollars you put in a Billion. You make $10 you put in $1. … but now some people say, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 Billion dollars as much as the guy who made $10. Where does it say you have to hurt the guy? He’s just put in a billion in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him. It’s that kind of thinking—it’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here, building our infrastructure and creating jobs—and we’re smart enough—we’re smart enough to figure out how to do that.
Then Dr. Carson proposed an ingeniously simple free-market solution for our health system (but what would a leading doctor know about health, wonder leftists):
When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [HSA], to which money can be contributed, pre-tax from the time you are born, to the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members so that when you’re 85 years old and you’ve got 6 diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on and nobody is talking about death panels.
Dr. Carson: star of CPAC
Dr. Carson gave an even better speech at CPAC, if that were possible, “Economics Is Not Brain Surgery”. Among many other things, he reminded politicians that they work for “we the people”, and gently slammed those who demanded that blacks should be liberal.
Conclusion: Dr. Carson for President?
Well, he is certainly a most attractive candidate. It doesn’t worry me too much that he is not a politician—President Reagan was not for most of his life either, and our Founders were not career politicians. The only problem is that it would be a huge loss to the medical field. And of course the liberal attack machine would be out in full force against an outstanding black man who dared to leave the Democrat Plantation.