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Ben Carson on Principles & Values


DIRECT: Deny, Ignore, Resist, Exempt, Conform, Transform

The rebellion of the old Boston Tea Party has many similarities with the new Tea Party political movement. When the Patriots first began to resist, those in power DENIED there was any real resistance from anyone except extremist fringe individuals. But as the protests became more prolific, the powers-that-be decided to IGNORE the movement, but that gave it time to grow. Those in power fought back with more force than necessary; many of the regulations subsequently imposed were a part of this punitive RESISTANCE phase.

At some point, it becomes easier for a ruler to EXEMPT an unruly but powerful subject from punishment than to suffer defeat. As those formerly in power desert, they began CONFORMING to the ideology and actions if their previous enemies. The final phase is the TRANSFORMATION phase, in which the ideology of the resistance movement becomes the mainstream philosophy.

If one were to make an acrostic of the first letters of each of these phases, one gets the word DIRECT.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 20-22 , Jan 24, 2012

Naively committed plagiarism in college psychology course

Researching a paper for an advanced psychology course, I found some passages that seemed particularly appropriate, and I included them in my writing. I did not, however, indicate that this was the work of someone else; frankly, I had never even heard of the term "plagiarism."

When the professor asked me to make an appointment to discuss my paper, I was befuddled. When I stepped into his office, he pointed out that I had plagiarized and told me that the consequence for doing so normally included expulsion. I could see all of my dreams of becoming a doctor dashed by my stupidity. Even though I did not know the implications of plagiarism, I certainly should have known inherently that what I was doing was wrong. I had done it before without consequences and probably would have continued doing it if I had not been caught. Fortunately for me, the professor was very compassionate, realized that I was naive, and gave me a chance to rewrite the paper.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 98 , Jan 24, 2012

Ben Carson on Personal Background

Raised in inner-city Detroit; poor student in grade school

Ben Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951. The second son of Sonya and Robert Solomon Carson, Ben grew up in the hardened climate of inner-city Detroit.

His mother, though undereducated herself, pushed her sons to read and to believe in themselves. Carson went from being a poor student to receiving honors and he eventually attended medical school. Both Ben and his brother experienced difficulty in school. Ben fell to the bottom of his class, and became the object of ridicule by his classmates. The poverty he lived in and the difficult times he experienced in school seem to exacerbate the anger and rage.

Source: Carson biography on , Mar 31, 2013

Neurosurgeon who specialized in separating conjoined twins

As a doctor, he became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33, and became famous for his ground-breaking work separating conjoined twins. In 1987, Carson attracted international attention by performing a surgery to separate two 7-month-old craniopagus twins from Germany. Because the boys were joined at the back of the head, and because they had separate brains, he felt the operation could be performed successfully. On September 4, 1987, Carson and a team of 70 doctors, nurses, and support staff joined forces for what would be a 22-hour surgery. Carson applied a technique used in cardiac surgery called hypothermic arrest. The boys' bodies were cooled down so the blood flowed slower and bleeding was less severe. This allowed the surgeons to perform the delicate task of untangling, dividing, and repairing shared blood vessels. Although the twins did have some brain damage, both survived the separation, making Carson's surgery the first of its kind.
Source: Carson biography on , Mar 31, 2013

Ben Carson on Political Philosophy

Raised a Democrat, but became a registered Independent

Growing up in Boston and Detroit, I had political views that largely reflected those of the adults around me. By the time I reached high school, the civil rights movement was in full swing, and the Democratic Party was positioning itself as the champion of civil rights. Like most young black people, I accepted the label of Democrat and endeavored to be part of the struggle.

[By 1976], although I was still a Jimmy Carter Democrat, the speeches of Ronald Reagan appealed to me. Even though I ultimately voted for Jimmy Carter both in 1976 and 1980, my political views were gradually shifting, and by 1984, those views were much more consistent with Ronald Reagan's and those of the Republican Party.

Over the years, I found that no political party really represented my views of fairness, decency, and adherence to the principles set forth by the United States Constitution in 1787. So I became a registered Independent and have remained so until this day.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.155-158 , Jan 24, 2012

Democracy was never intended as a spectator sport

Democracy was never intended as a spectator sport. The founding fathers of America were "the well fed, well bred, well read, and well wed." These men certainly feared having a government that was too big and too powerful, as they had experienced across the ocean.

Could a government's power truly rest in the hands of the people? Could such an experiment really work? By definition, in legislative- and decision-making processes, a democracy requires full participation of all the people. But most people are so involved and preoccupied with daily duties and routines, they have neither the time nor energy to participate.

Although the noble goal of democracy had been tried by other societies, power usually eventually shifted to some central authority and the dream of autonomy died. Therefore, they decided that a republic-type government would be much more efficient, in which elected representatives of the people would make decisions. Also, with a republic there is no limitation on expansion.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 30-31 , Jan 24, 2012

Wise voters look at their representatives' voting records

If everyone in the US Senate voted [on] principles and beliefs rather than on the party line, I believe we would all be shocked by how rational and reasonable the bills would be coming out of the congressional chambers. All voters would be wise to look at their representatives' voting records to see if they agree with their views or whether they are always consistent with the party view. If your views and their views coincide the vast majority of the time and the areas where they do not coincide are not deal breakers, then this is likely someone who represents you well. If, on the other hand, you find major disagreements with your point of view, you should do the responsible thing, which is to vote for the person who represents your views regardless of party affiliation. If we all made a concerted effort to do this, I believe we would be delighted with Congress and their actions instead of having a congressional body with an approval rating of less than 20%.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.159-160 , Jan 24, 2012

Tea Partiers & Independents reject spoon-fed biased media

There is perhaps more hope for our country than currently meets the eye. It would seem as if we are hopelessly gridlocked by Democrats and Republicans, each with very different ideas of government and its role in our lives. The ray of hope is found in the fact that there is an ever-increasing number of Independent voters who sometimes vote one way and other times vote another way, and therefore cannot be taken for granted by either party.

There is also the rise of the Tea Party. The very fact that so many people are joining the Tea Party or becoming politically Independent suggests that people are less willing to be spoon-fed by a largely biased media and are thinking for themselves again.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.160-161 , Jan 24, 2012

For eagle to fly straight, balance left wing & right wing

Some wanted a turkey as our national emblem. The bald eagle was chosen because it symbolizes strength, courage and freedom.

In "The 5000 Year Leap," W. Cleon Skousen writes that the founders had many other symbolic reasons for choosing the eagle. But the reason that impressed me the most is that in order for the eagle to fly straight, its two wings must be balanced. If either the left wing or the right wing is too heavy, the bird will veer off to one side and crash. The liberals represent the left wing and the conservatives represent the right wing. The liberals tend to have lots of great ideas that cost a great deal of money and, if left unchecked, would quickly bankrupt the nation. The conservatives simply want to maintain the status quo and are not very adventurous, and if our nation were left solely to their ideas, stagnation would occur. However, when you balance the right & the left wings evenly, the eagle is able to fly high and straight, and the potential for progress is tremendous

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.188 , Jan 24, 2012

Ben Carson on Religion

Bible study overcame youthful violence and anger

In a final incident [in a long series of angry violence as a young man], Ben nearly stabbed to death a friend after arguing over a choice of radio stations. The only thing that prevented a tragic occurrence was the knife blade broke on the friend's belt buckle. Not knowing the extent of his friend's injury, Ben ran home and locked himself in the bathroom with a Bible. Terrified by his own actions, he started praying, asking God to help him find a way to deal with his temper. He found salvation in the book of Proverbs in the passage, "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."

Ben realized that much of his anger stemmed from putting himself in the center of everything. Once he took himself out of the equation, he could see that not everything was directed at him and that he wasn't the only one with troubles. He began to see things from other points of view. He soon realized he could control his anger, rather than it controlling him.

Source: Carson biography on , Mar 31, 2013

Not running for office, but God may call on me

Carson, who told the Christian Post this month that he is not interested in elected office but that God may call on him to run in the future, was evasive in front of the audience of hundreds when he was pressed about his post-retirement plans. "I'm very dedicated to education of the next generation," Carson told the audience at the conference, held in Prince George's County. "Once we get that taken care of, who knows?"

Earlier in his appearance, after bringing the crowd to its feet by setting up a hypothetical with the words, "Let's say you just magically put me into the White House," Carson quickly reversed course: "OK, I take it back. Let's say somebody were there... ."

Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Baltimore Sun , Mar 17, 2013

End the "war on God"

In a wide-ranging speech, Carson advocated for a flat income tax and called for an end to the "war on God." He also spoke passionately about the need to improve the American education system, the thing he attributed to leading him from an impoverished inner-city childhood in Detroit to a storied medical and writing career. "Education worked for me," Carson said.
Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Baltimore Sun , Mar 17, 2013

2010: Vetted for Lt. Gov., but decision to run "up to God"

Setting aside the Wall Street Journal's hyperbolic call for a President Carson, does the doctor have a future in politics? He left the door open this weekend, saying, "That's not my intention, but I always say, 'I'll leave that up to God.'" In 2010, former Maryland Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich approached Carson about running with him in an attempt to reclaim the governor's mansion, but Carson declined, Fund reports. Carson says he's an independent, but assuming his views would push him toward the GOP, Maryland is generally tough going for Republicans. There's only one in the Congressional delegation. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat, won't be up for reelection until 2016, and her fellow Democrat Ben Cardin has a term that ends in 2018. But Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley will have to step down in 2014 due to term limits. If Carson wants to make a run for it, it's clear he's got some fans in the conservative media to help him get started.
Source: David A. Graham in The Atlantic magazine , Feb 19, 2013

All religions provide beliefs that make us reasonable

As a Christian, I am not the least bit offended by the beliefs of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, and so forth. In fact, I am delighted to know that they believe in something that is more likely to make them into a reasonable human being, as long as they don't allow the religion to be distorted by those seeking power and wealth.

When I was asked to deliver the keynote address at the 1997 Presidential Prayer Breakfast, I contemplated the question, "Are we a Judeo-Christian nation or not?" I spoke about integrity, particularly in public office. I finished the speech with my philosophy for success in life, which includes strong faith in God and my Savior Jesus Christ. Out of the thousands of people at the breakfast, and millions of people who heard the address, I received only one negative response for using the name of Jesus. This tells me that the level of tolerance for religious differences is much greater than the politically correct crowd would have us believe.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 43-44 , Jan 24, 2012

National Day of Prayer is a suggestion, not a requirement

Undoubtedly, there are some in our country who are very uncomfortable with our government recognizing and encouraging prayer. In April 2010, a US district judge ruled that the government-sanctioned National Day of Prayer, established by Congress and supported with a proclamation from the president, is unconstitutional.

I believe the problem arises from misinterpretations of what our founders intended with respect to government & religion. They never wanted to see the government endorse a specific religion, but neither did they want to see faith and religion suppressed. There is nothing at all in our founding documents forbidding or denigrating religious expression in public life. The judge in this case was responding to a lawsuit filed by a group of atheists and agnostics called the Freedom from Religious Foundation. They complained that the government did not have the right to tell them to pray, but perhaps they didn't notice that prayer was not a requirement, but rather a suggestion.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 47-48 , Jan 24, 2012

God granted me a miracle in passing freshman chemistry

[In college] I wasn't doing well in freshman chemistry, which was a prerequisite for medical school. The night before the exam I poured out my heart to God, asking forgiveness for squandering such a wonderful educational opportunity. I asked him to show me what he really wanted me to do with my life, since I obviously wasn't going to get into medical school. Preferably, I asked him to work a miracle.

As I tried futilely to memorize my entire chemistry textbook, I fell asleep and entered a dream: I was the only student in a large auditorium, and a nebulous figure was writing out chemistry problems on the chalkboard. I awakened with the dream vivid in my mind. When I opened the test booklet during the chemistry final exam, I was flabbergasted when I recognized each of the problems in the booklet as one of the problems that the nebulous figure was working out in my dream.

I knew that God had granted me my miracle. I promised God I would become a diligent student and make him proud of me.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.114 , Jan 24, 2012

Ben Carson on Risk

B/WA: Best/Worst Analysis for risk assessment

I explained to the parents [of Denise, an epileptic child requiring a hemispherectomy, removal of a brain hemisphere], "If we don't do anything, Denise is going to die. If we try this procedure, she may still die, but at least we have a chance."you're probably looking at the questions, shaking your head, and thinking, "Is it that easy?" I believe it is, and the remainder of this book looks at examples of how this simple risk-analysis approach can be applied in our personal and professional lives--and how the same prescription could be applied to some of the most complex and troubling issues facing our nation--and our world--today.
Source: Take the Risk, by Ben Carson, p.104-105 , Dec 25, 2007

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Ben Carson on other issues:
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Page last updated: Jan 14, 2015