Ben Carson: The man who would be king

Photograph: Pexels

Who is Ben Carson? This is the question perplexing unsuspecting politicos across the globe as the race for the GOP nomination heats up. World-renowned paediatric neurosurgeon, and subject of his own biographical film, Carson is the newly installed closest challenger (very close according to the latest polls) to a Trump campaign that, still, shows no signs of abating.

Tagged by GQ as ‘a hero to black America’ (we’ve heard that one before), Carson is a classic example of the quintessential American dream. To his supporters, Carson typifies the sort of social mobility of which conservatives are so fond. Singlehandedly, as apparently those from the lowest social strata must, Carson dragged himself from childhood poverty to professional fame. Carson’s story is certainly a truly remarkable one, and on paper, he is a truly remarkable man. Yet, in putting himself forward for the role of leader of the free world, it is his political credentials that deserve our considered attention.

Carson is definitively a right-wing ideologue. For Tea Party apparatchiks, he is an early Christmas present, a political extremist, who is both highly presentable, and most importantly, a black man. To justify the labeling of Carson as a political extremist is certainly not difficult. He has genuinely hinted at a comparison between Obama and Adolf Hitler. His commentary on the Obama administration can be confined to his description of the president as a ‘psychopath.’ He earns his Republican spurs with his stance on guns. In the past week, in an interview on CNN, he suggested that maybe the Holocaust could have been avoided if all the Jews had been armed. Either he’s insane or he’s playing to the Republican gallery. Or both.

Carson’s policy matches up to the extremity of his rhetoric. On taxation, the man is an ardent believer in the system of tithing, whereby every good or person is taxed at 10%. According to Carson, God believed in the tithing system and as he is a ‘fair buy tetracycline hydrochloride man’, such a system would be fair for America. He has also gone on record to argue that nothing in the American constitution supports the notion of the redistribution of wealth. In effect, Carson has climbed the ladder to prosperity and intends on shaking the same ladder away from the preying hands of the poor. While he’s at it, he intends on exacerbating America’s growing inequalities by kowtowing to the filthy rich. He has openly advocated tax avoidance, arguing that the rich taking advantage of tax loopholes is not unpatriotic.

As a candidate, his appeal diminishes even further upon an analysis of his musings on foreign policy. He is set on increasing American activity in the Middle East. For Carson, tackling the Islamic State issue is simple. America must send troops to Syria and Iraq (it worked out really well last time) and cut ISIS out like the cancerous tumor it is. This is his diagnosis for real-life medical tumors, so why not imprint it onto international affairs? He seems to be ignoring basic medicine. Some tumors prove to be inoperable. Some cannot be removed in one fell swoop. What is clear, is that a man with no experience of political office is making sweeping foreign policy generalizations on the hoof, a dangerous proposition.

Carson’s candidacy is clearly a confused one. He has gone on record giving his supported for unfettered free markets. Yet he blames the 2008-9 global financial crisis on 1990s deregulation. He spouts his virtue as a man who came from nothing, then demonize the poor, stating that they need to be taught ‘responsibility.’ For Carson to be running second in the GOP race demonstrably illustrates the stark lack of quality on the Republican side. Seemingly Hillary has very little to worry about, and on the basis of the Tuesday night debate, her only challenge is going to come from Bernie. For Ben Carson’s

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Sam Julius 2 Articles
Sam Julius has a degree in Politics from University College London. He's studying for an Msc in International Relations at the London School of Economics. His interests include the regional International Relations of the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, as well as the British Labour Party.

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