I am never surprised when stupid people say stupid things but am always fascinated when smart people say stupid things. I have Dr. Ben Carson in mind.
The other day, when CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked Carson if he believed homosexuality was a choice, the doctor replied, “Absolutely.”
There may be a few fringe scientists somewhere on the planet who agree with Carson. And there are more than a few people of faith who believe it. But this only confirms another of my long-held beliefs: Religion has the power to make some people better than they otherwise would be. It may even make some people noble. But it also has the capacity to make people incredibly ignorant, especially when the subject has anything to do with science.
Ben Carson, his substantial medical credentials notwithstanding, is just such a person — a person of deep and abiding faith who at times confuses the Bible for a science book.
Still, how can a doctor of Ben Carson’s stature actually believe homosexuality is a choice? “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight,” he told Cuomo, “and when they come out, they’re gay.”
He really said that. Which prompted Michael Che, one of the fake newsmen on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update to report that, “Dr. Ben Carson went in as a neurosurgeon and came out as a complete idiot.”
And this isn’t the first time the good doctor has put himself in the crosshairs.
He once said that there might not be an election in 2016 because of widespread anarchy. When Chris Wallace asked him about that on Fox, Carson said, “Well, I hope that that’s not going to be the case, but certainly there is the potential. Because you have to recognize that we have a rapidly increasing national debt, a very unstable financial foundation. And you have all these things going on like the ISIS crisis that could very rapidly change things that are going on in our nation. And unless we begin to deal with these things in a comprehensive way, and in a logical way, there is no telling what could happen in just a matter of a couple of years.”
Carson is right about the national debt and ISIS and the need to deal with them as serious threats to America’s wellbeing. But to conclude that anarchy is percolating in America and that we may not be able to hold elections as scheduled in 2016 … is strange. And I’m using that word only out of kindness.
Here’s another gem from Dr. Carson: America is very much like Nazi Germany. He said we’re living “in a Gestapo age,” and when asked to explain, he said:
“I mean, [we are] very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”
So Dr. Carson believes that because some people supposedly are afraid to speak their minds, the United States is like Nazi Germany? Does this man understand anything about the fundamental nature of Nazi Germany?
There’s more. Carson has also said that ObamaCare is “the worst thing that has happened to this nation since slavery.”
I have no doubt that members of the far right of the Republican Party love Ben Carson for saying such things. I’m sure they see him as courageous. But they, like Dr. Carson, spend too much time where the buses don’t run.
When challenged on his odd observations he tries to clarify them with “What I was trying to say but the liberal media distorted my remarks was ….” I’m all for blaming the liberal media for all sorts of things. But you can’t blame them for quoting you accurately.
In his most recent scientifically unsound observation, the one about gays, Carson has apologized. “I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”
Apologizing for dumb remarks is always a good thing. Not saying them … and not thinking them in the first place … is better.
Unlike the suicide wing of the Republican Party, the ideological purists who proudly announce they’ll sit home on Election Day if Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham or anyone else who disagrees with them about almost anything wins the nomination – I will only sit home only if one particular GOP candidate winds up as the party’s standard-bearer.
Take a guess which one.