Ben Carson is a religious nutcase, and he is a POLITICAL nutcase as well. He is a double threat to the national security of the United States of America, and a double threat to the well-being of every American citizen.
Fortunately, even the know-nothing republicans of Iowa appear to have discerned that Ben Carson would make a lousy president. Hopefully, in a few weeks, Ben Carson will drop out of the presidential race and go back to fleecing right-wing idiots with his various books and book tours.
NOTE: Jeff Lowder wants to keep political posts on this site to a minimum, and I’m in agreement that our focus should be on naturalism, atheism vs. theism, and philosophical critique of religious beliefs. So, after this post, I plan to cool it on my political posts, and keep my focus on our usual issues and topics here at The Secular Outpost.
As I mentioned in the previous post on Ben Carson, the irrationality and stupidity of his political views has a striking similarity to the irrationality and stupidity of his religious views. Seventh Day Adventism was founded by Ellen White, and White grew up as a Millerite. William Miller was a The-End-Is-At-Hand alarmist who persuaded thousands of gullible American Christians that Jesus was going to return to the Earth and judge all mankind in October of 1844.
I’m not familiar with the writings of Ellen White, but she did have many “visions” and did take herself to be a modern-day prophet, so it appears that she did not escape from the irrational alarmist view of the world that she was raised to believe as a Millerite. And it also appears to be the case that at least in some Seventh Day Adventist circles, there are still Chicken Littles who go about proclaiming that “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”.
The irrational alarmist tendencies of Ben Carson’s Seventh Day Adventism is similar to his irrational anti-communist paranoia and alarmism. The anti-communist paranoia and alarmism of the McCarthy era was stupid back in the 1950s, but it is no longer stupid; it is CRAZY to be an anti-communist alarmist in the 21st century. The hysterical anti-communists that can be found on the internet these days are like members of the Flat-Earth Society. They are people who have lost touch with reality and who are in need of counseling, therapy, and in some cases, serious anti-psychotic medication.
There are at least three reasons to believe that Ben Carson is a POLITICAL nutcase:
1. Ben Carson read The Naked Communist and thought it was a good book.
2. Ben Carson frequently promotes The Naked Communist and urges that everyone shoud read this book.
3. Ben Carson believes that The Naked Communist was a very prescient book: “You would think by reading it that it was written last year. ” (Quoted in the Preface of the current edition of The Naked Communist)
W. Cleon Skousen was the author of The Naked Communist, and Skousen was one of a number of hysterical anti-communist writers/speakers in the 1950s who made a living by stirring up fear and paranoia about communist spies, communist subversion, communist conspiracies, communist plots, etc. Skousen was an unhinged crackpot, so the fact that Carson not only agrees with Skousen but actively promotes Skousen’s book The Naked Communist, is a clear indication that Carson is a political nutcase. For further details, see David Corn’s article in Mother Jones:
See also the background article on Skousen at Salon.com:
The last nail in the coffin, however, is reason (3) above. Reason (3) shows that Ben Carson is most definitely a POLITICAL nutcase. This point will require a bit of explanation, and some description of the contents of the book The Naked Communist (hereafter: TNC).
One important fact about TNC is that the first eleven chapters, spanning the first 240 pages of the book (out of 358 pages for the whole book), are devoted to an exposition of the history and philosophy of communism. These 240 pages clearly date the book.
TNC was first published in 1958. The most current book referenced in the bibliography is dated 1955 (Fifty Years in China by John Leighton Stuart). There are also footnotes on some pages, and a few footnotes refer to magazine or newspaper articles from 1960 (see for example the footnotes on the bottom of page 216). In the chapter called “Communism in the United States” the most recent document mentioned in footnotes is dated 1953 (footnote 69 on page 130). In the chapter called “Post-War Communist Attacks” the most recent book mentioned in footnotes is dated 1955 (The FBI Story by Don Whitehead).
In the first 11 chapters of TNC, there are just a few publications or documents mentioned in footnotes that date from 1961 (footnote 99 on page 207, footnote 94 on page 198, footnote 111 on page 224). So, Skousen apparently added a bit of new material after the original publication of TNC in 1958. But, it is clear that Skousen’s exposition of the history and philosophy of communism is based on books and articles mostly from the 1950s and prior decades, with just a few points added from sources dated to 1960 and 1961. So, the history and philosophy of communism presented in the first 240 pages of TNC is based on information that was available in books and articles from more than 50 years ago.
Because the exposition of the history and philosophy of communism in the first 240 pages of TNC is obviously dated, there is no good reason for Carson to say, concerning this portion of the book, that “You would think by reading it, that it was written last year.” No. Any person of modest intelligence can plainly see that the material on the history and philosophy of communism was written mostly in the 1950s, with a few bits and pieces added in 1960 and 1961.
In fact, based on an examination of the contents of TNC, Carson’s comment only makes sense in reference to Chapter 12: “The Future Task” (p. 241-275). The final chapter, Chapter 17 also has some material relevant to Carson’s claim, but that is because that chapter is basically a summary of the whole book (it is a speech delivered by Skousen in 1953). Chapter 13 is more material on communist philosophy. Chapters 14 and 15 are focused on American political philosophy and capitalism. Chapter 16 is a very brief discussion of the relationship between Christianity and communism. Nothing in Chapters 13 through 16 would provide a reason to view TNC as being prescient or as seeming to have been written in the 21st century. Therefore, we can confidently conclude that Ben Carson’s frequent comment that you would think “it was written last year” is based primarily on Chapter 12, and perhaps the parts of Chapter 17 that correspond to the content of Chapter 12: “The Future Task”.
Chapter 12 of TNC contains a list of 45 “Communist Goals”, and these goals can be found all over the internet on web sites created by right-wing crazies who are convinced that Obama is a communist and that the communists have either already “taken control” of the United States government, or will do so any day now.
In repeatedly making the assertion that The Naked Communist is a book that seems like “it was written last year”, Ben Carson is revealing himself to be one of the hysterical paranoid right-wing nutcases that can be found barfing up their paranoid anti-communist views across the internet. Here is just a small sample of these looney-tunes wing-nuts:
What all of these right-wing nut cases have in common is a breathless awe at how Skousen’s 45 “Communist Goals“ so clearly predicted the future, and how (Oh My God!!) nearly every one of the 45 Goals has been attained. The extreme stupidity of these right-wing crazies is what is truly worthy of breathless awe.
FIRST, although Skousen did provide many quotations and references to Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and various communist publications in support of his claims about communist philosophy and practices, there is not a single quotation or footnote supporting the list of 45 Communist Goals. Since Skousen was a crackpot who often made wild and unsupported claims, we have no reason to believe that these are actual goals of any communist party or communist organization. Skousen has provided no evidence supporting these claims, so he might well have just pulled them out of his ass, for all we know.
SECOND, there is an obviously false assumption made by Skousen and the right-wing crazies who are followers of Skousen:
If some communists are in favor of X that means that X is a bad idea.
A third grader of moderate intelligence can see the stupidity of such a broad generalization, but not these nutjobs, and not Ben Carson. For them, if the commies are for it, then they are against it; no thinking required.
Even if communism is the worst and most evil ideology that humankind has ever produced, it does not follow that EVERYTHING that communists desire or have as a goal is bad or undesireable. Communists want to eat food and drink water, so is it EVIL to eat food? Is it EVIL to drink water? Of course not. To draw such a conclusion would be pure idiocy. Therefore, the fact that communists have X as a goal DOES NOT MEAN that X is evil or that X is a bad idea. We have to look at each goal and each policy and do our own independent evaluation of it; we have to use our brains and think about this stuff.
To be reasonable, when examining a specific goal or policy, we should take into consideration not only right-wing and capitalist reasons and arguments, but also liberal, left-wing, socialist and even communist reasons and arguments about each specific goal. In some cases the reasons and arguments of conservatives and capitalists will be stronger than the reasons and arguments of liberals, left-wingers, socialists, and communists. In other cases, however, the reasons and arguments from liberals and the left will be stronger than those coming from conservatives and capitalists. Thus, some of the 45 Communist Goals are simply GOOD IDEAS that were implemented because they were GOOD IDEAS, not because of some imaginary secret society or evil conspiracy.
Of course, if one is a dogmatic right-wing nutjob, then no arguments from liberals or leftists are given serious consideration, and so the right-wing point of view wins out on every issue, in spite of the fact that in many cases liberals or left-wingers have very good reasons to support their views on particular issues or policies.
Some of the alleged “Communist Goals” seem to be good ideas to me, at least there are good reasons that can be given to support these goals:
12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13. Do away with loyalty oaths.
34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
C0ncerning goal (12), I don’t want to live in a country where the government decides which political parties will be allowed and which will be shut down by the government. That is contrary to the ideals of freedom and democracy. If a political organization openly advocates violence and terrorism, then I have no problem with the government keeping an eye on that organization and placing constraints on the organization, and even taking the property and assets of the organization, so long as laws prohibiting this kind of activity are clear and the government follows due process constraints, giving such suspect organizations their day in court. But to simply outlaw a political party because we strongly disagree with the views and policies of that party is contrary to American ideals of freedom and democracy, and this is an obvious point that requires no significant study or investigation to discover. Only an idiot would view outlawing a political party as being an unproblematic proposal.
Concerning goal (13), according to Skousen and the right-wing nutcases who follow him, the commies are evil to their core. They are ruthless, wicked, immoral, lying, deceiving, murdering bastards. So, what communist is going to hesitate to lie when asked to take a loyalty oath? Suppose that taking the loyalty oath will give the communist access to top secret military information. So, this evil, lying, subversive communist is going to refuse to take the loyalty oath, and give up access to top secret military information in order to avoid being dishonest? Obviously not.
The people who will be hurt by loyalty oaths are people of conscience and integrity who have some hesitancy about publically giving up some of their independence and autonomy from the government. People who don’t want to bow-the-knee before the U.S. government but who also don’t want to participate in making a dishonest oath. So, loyalty oaths do NOTHING to prevent communist spies and subversives from gaining access to government jobs, but loyalty oaths do prevent some people with solid moral consciences and good moral character from gaining access to government jobs. Loyalty oaths seem like an incredibly STUPID idea. It would be a good thing to get rid of them.
Concerning goal (34), you would have to have shit for brains to think that the House Committee on Un-American Activities was a good idea. This committee was a direct assault on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, due proccess, and the right to privacy. Nothing could be more Un-American than that fascist committee of thought police. Shutting down that committee was a very good idea.
THIRD, many of the goals have clearly NOT been acheived, but are only believed to have been acheived in the confused and paranoid minds of right-wing idiots, like Ben Carson. Here are a few of the alleged “Communist Goals” that have obviously NOT been achieved:
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, and policy making positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV and motion pictures.
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive meaningless art.”
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
People who believe that the Communists have acheived goals (15), (17), (18), (20), (21), (23), and (37) are people who are likely to be suffering from mental illness. Unfortunately, based on the fact that the internet is chock full of right-wing extremists who are amazed by Skousen’s prescient list of “Communist Goals”, mental illness seems to be a very widespread phenomena in this country.
In conclusion, Skousen gives us NO EVIDENCE that any of the 45 alleged “Communist Goals” are actually goals of any communist party or organization. Skousen makes the idiotic assumption that any goal supported by communists must be a bad idea. Some of the 45 goals are clearly GOOD IDEAS (or at least can be supported with strong reasons and arguments), and many of the 45 “Communist Goals” have clearly NOT been acheived, particularly the “scary” goals to the effect that “The commies have taken control of X.”
Skousen is a crackpot and an idiot, at least concerning Chapter 12 of his book The Naked Communist, and this chapter is precisely the chapter that Ben Carson and thousands of mentally ill right-wing extremists have grabbed onto as the truth from on high. Ben Carson’s comment that The Naked Communist seems like “it was written last year” reveals that Ben Carson buys into the very craziest Chapter of a book written by a fear-mongering crackpot. Thus, Carson is indeed a POLITICAL nutcase, as well as a religious nutcase.