Cumberland Times-News


June 13, 2014

What specifically would Carson suggest?

— The major problem I find with Ben Carson’s opinion pieces is that he writes in broad generalizations without offering concrete examples or solutions.

While his text remains vague, one can sense the bias in the subtext, though he would be more honest to articulate his views concretely.

 Because of word limitations, I can only point to a few examples in his recent pieces. He mentions “poor prioritization of issues by our leaders” as a major problem that can be overcome by “common sense.” What issues?

I would call recent Supreme Court decisions — that corporations are equivalent to people and that the wealthy can make unlimited contributions to political campaigns — as lacking all common sense. These decisions strike at the heart of democracy.

Is Ben suggesting we should revolt against these decisions? That constitutional amendments are in order?

Carson brings up our children and grandchildren and their future, mentioning government growth and expenditure. But he doesn’t suggest the reason for government growth (actually the number of all government employees declined during Obama’s first term) nor does he suggest how we might reduce expenditure.

For instance, why do we spend more on our military-industrial-intelligence complex than the next 10 countries in the world combined? Why do we need 11 aircraft carrier groups — even the navy admits these relics of WWII are indefensible from over-the-horizon missiles—when no other country has more than two?  

Any rational look at our militarism over the last 50 years clearly shows its failure. We’ve killed millions of people — and seen many of our soldiers killed and wounded — and for what? Iraq is a shambles — the number of civilians now being killed each month staggering. Libya is a basket case. Al-Qaida, once a minor entity located in the hills of Afghanistan, now has affiliates around the world.

A new Rand report says that “between 2010 and 2013, jihadist groups grew by 58 percent, their fighters doubled, and their attacks nearly tripled.”

Is Ben making a rational proposal that we reduce our military, close our thousand bases around the world, stop pivoting hither and thither, let others decide their fate (as President Kennedy once suggested) so our children might have a future? I would hope so, but I don’t know.

 He talks about “traditional American values and traditional interpretation of our Constitution.” What does that mean? The Constitution was written 200 years ago by men who couldn’t begin to comprehend the complexity of modern life.

Carson has written about activist judges. But every judge must interpret. There’s no other way because our world is so totally different from the world of the Constitution.

Is Carson suggesting that judges shouldn’t protect us from unmitigated pollution from greedy corporate entities? From faulty products that kill? From financial entities that cheat and rob us? Just what does Carson mean?

 In almost every one of Carson’s pieces, he mentions how we are an exceptional nation. But he never mentions specifically how we are exceptional? We are exceptional in our gun violence; 30,000 die from guns each year in this country.

We are exceptional in our incarceration rates — seven times greater than other developed countries. We are exceptional among developed nations for the number of our citizens who face hunger — one in six — not to mention lack health care.

 What is Carson suggesting in his vague language. What would he suggest specifically? Cut back the military-industrial-intelligence budget, which is the single biggest reason we’re in such debt? Make the wealthy pay their fair share? Close off-shore tax havens? Tax Wall Street brokers who broke so many Americans in the last recession?

Tell us, Ben.

Craig Etchison, Ph.D.

Fort Ashby, W.Va.


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