What can we expect from the GOP’s latest Black Hope, Dr. Ben Carson, the Baltimore brain surgeon who finally declared his candidacy to be the next African-American president? If his policy positions on issues like climate change and energy policy are any clue — not to mention sexual identity and marriage equality — we can expect a lot of detached-from-reality quibbling.
Despite Carson’s profession, which requires some level of respect for science, he rejects the science on climate change, a stance that not only puts him at odds with 97 percent of scientists globally, but also 88 percent of African-American physicians. That’s pretty terrifying, considering that the National Draft Ben Carson for President PAC out-raised the popular Ready for Hillary PAC last year.
Apparently there are a lot of people out there who know Carson is performing malpractice with the facts on climate change, and will still pay a whole lot of money to see him in the White House — an affirmative action move that a lot of those same people would not tolerate under any other conditions.
Below are seven more reasons to be terrified of Carson’s candidacy — quotes from Carson explaining his positions on a range of issues, from climate change and energy policy to Obamacare and jobs:
Carson on not accepting climate change science: “There’s always going to be either cooling or warming going on. As far as I’m concerned, that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that we have an obligation and a responsibility to protect our environment.”
Yes! There are cool days and warm days. And days that are neither, according to Stringer Bell’s 40-degree day theory. But to protect the environment responsibly you need to know the difference between hot and cold, and the planet is warming, unequivocally. This shouldn’t be brain surgery, Dr. Carson. This is what rapid warming over decades looks like:
Carson on data: “The wonderful thing about medicine — when you show data, it changes people’s minds. That doesn’t happen in politics.”
But all those scientists and black physicians showed you the data on climate change, and it hasn’t changed your mind? Bye, Felicia.
Carson on the EPA: “Our Environmental Protection Agency should be told to work in conjunction with business, industry, and universities to find the most eco-friendly ways of developing our energy resources.”
The EPA is already doing this! Take the agency’s Clean Power Plan for addressing greenhouse gas emissions — there are over 2 million public comments on that thing. You know who submitted them? Businesses! Industry trade groups! Universities! The EPA’s environmental justice collaborative problem-solving model begs industries and universities to work with the agency and communities — even in communities who don’t want to be anywhere near those industries!
Carson on the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline: “It’s perfectly safe, so I can’t really see a good reason not to do it.”
Dude, you’re a doctor. Since when do you talk with that kind of certainty about anything? If you wouldn’t use those words to describe brain surgery to your patients (and I hope you wouldn’t) then you probably shouldn’t use them to describe Keystone XL, which could add as much as 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon equivalent to the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of State doesn’t even say that the pipeline is perfectly safe.
Carson on Obamacare: “I think [it’s] the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
I can think of a few worse things have happened to this nation since slavery: the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, Gone With the Wind, Jim Crow, Elvis Presley, Taco Bell, Cuba Gooding Jr., Cuba Gooding Jr. playing Ben Carson in a movie, oh … and climate change!
Carson on jobs: “We need to understand the connection between dynamic economic growth and the general welfare of the people. For anyone who does not understand: Robust economic growth creates plenty of jobs and opportunities for everyone and decreases the need for government dependency.”
I could go in on how Carson needs to understand the connection between climate change and the general welfare of the people, but if the data can’t do it, I have no hope. As for jobs, Here’s James Baldwin addressing a similar point for Esquire in 1968:
What [this country is] afraid of is that when the Negro comes into the factory, into the union, when he comes, in fact, into the American institution, he will change these institutions because no Negro in this country really lives by American middle-class standards. That’s why they pick up half-dozen Negroes here and there, and polish them up, polish them off, and put them in some ass-hole college someplace, and expect those cats to be able to go back to the streets and cool the other cats. They can’t. The price in this country to survive at all still is to become a white man. More and more people are refusing to become a white man. That’s the bottom of what they mean by on-the-job training. They mean they want to fit you in. And furthermore, let’s tell it like it is: The American white man does not really want to have [an] autonomous Negro male anywhere near him.
I’ll let Baldwin go in some more on this:
And by the way, while we’re on this subject, one of the things we should do is cease protecting all those Texas oil millionaires who are one of the greatest menaces any civilization has ever seen. They have absolutely no brains, and a fantastic amount of money, fantastic amount of power, incredible power. And there’s nothing more dangerous than that kind of power in the hands of such ignorant men. And this is done with consent of the federal government.
Carson on America: “Remember when I said at the National Prayer Breakfast, in order for an eagle to fly high and straight, it needs two wings, a left wing and a right wing? … If you do everything in a lopsided way, my way or the highway, you’re going to crash.”
Dood, you do understand that America is not actually an eagle, right? But even if we entertain your metaphor, you know what else causes crashes? Broken wings. And birds end up with broken wings when they don’t pay attention to their environment, and when they can’t tell the difference between hot and cold.