Ben Carson’s Appalling Claim Some Values Are More Equal Than Others


“They’ve tried to paint me as somebody who is insensitive.”
Ben Carson to Sean Hannity, 10.8.2015

No, Ben Carson, you’ve painted yourself as somebody who is insensitive. And here is how:

On a Wednesday radio interview on Sirius XM, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson turned into Rick Santorum by calling for “traditional, intact values.” According to Carson, not “every lifestyle is exactly of the same value,” and he turned his Santorum-like wrathiness on the “p.c. police.”

We have got to stop paying attention to the ‘p.c. police,’ who say every lifestyle is exactly of the same value. No, it’s not of the same value. It is very clear that intact, traditional families with traditional, intact values do much better in terms of raising children. So let’s stop pretending that everything is of equal value.

I’ll just point out here that this is not what the Constitution says, and leave it at that. Republican opposition to everything the Constitution says outside of the Second and Tenth Amendments is too well attributed to need repetition here.

The Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius is supposed to have said, “poverty is the mother of crime.” Carson, on the other hand, appeals to the same time-worn conservative claims that children born out of wedlock or raised by single parents become criminals.

We need to face the fact that when young girls have babies out of wedlock, most of the time their education ends with that first baby. And those babies are four times as likely to grow up in poverty, end up in the penal system or the welfare system. You know, I’m not making this stuff up. That’s well-documented. That’s a problem.

I’ll just point out here that this is not what actual scientific studies show, and leave it at that. Republican opposition to actual scientific studies is too well attributed to need repetition here.

As it happens, Marcus Aurelius was right, and Ben Carson is wrong. It’s the poverty, not the single mothers that are the problem. For example, in 2012 homicide rates dropped dramatically despite the number of single-parent households remaining the same. As Erin Gloria Ryan wrote at Jezebel that same year, this is “The party of the War Against Facts” we are talking about here.


Far more usefully, we are told at

Starting from the 1970s, studies in the US pointed more and more at the link between unemployment, poverty and crime. After that other connections with income level, time spent at school, quality of neighborhood and education were revealed as well. Fresh research from the UK even indicates that economic cycles may affect variations in property and violent crimes.

But most importantly, what reveals the unmistakable connection between poverty and crime is that they’re both geographically concentrated – in a strikingly consistent way. In other words, where you find poverty is also where you find crime. Of course this doesn’t include “softer” crimes such as corruption which causes massive damage to people’s lives but in a more indirect type of violence.

Time Magazine hit upon the truth in 2012 (emphasis added):

“Marriage limits material hardship, even in less educated and low-income families,” writes Robert Lerman, a senior fellow in labor and social policy at the the Urban Institute. “If more parents were married, remained married and remained in healthy marriages through government initiatives, poverty could be lowered.” And with lower poverty comes lower rates of violent crime.

Yet there is not a single Republican candidate, including Ben Carson, who is willing to do a single thing about the poverty. All they want to do is help their rich benefactors.

Carson, like his fellow presidential candidates, is living in a land of Republican fantasies. He has said that to combat urban violence “we need to be talking about, ‘How do we instill values into people again?’ And those are family and faith.”

He won’t admit that President Obama is a Christian (“he says he is”) or that he is even a black president (Wolf Blitzer could not get him to answer a simple yes/no question yesterday), and he says Black Lives Matter is “silly” and “divisive” and nobody will ever forget his claim that people go into prison straight and come out gay. Amazingly, he has found it possible to cast blame at “the hip-hop community” and not the Republican Party for hurting black folks.

And of course, this fierce defender of traditional values, Ben #IamAChristian Carson, when faced with an armed gunman, told the gunman to terrorize the cashier instead of him.

That’s traditional values for you.

Ben Carson likes to talk about “political correctness going amuck” but the real thing going amuck here is Republicanism and its false facts and invented realities and math that makes Republicans feel better about themselves. That, and a hefty dose of personal cowardice, apparently. But hey, it’s every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost with the traditional values set.

He told Sean Hannity yesterday that in the course of his career he has saved thousands of lives. But the cashier wasn’t going to be one of them.

That’s right: Carson proved you don’t have to be the fastest man in the room, just faster than the cashier.

And yes, Ben Carson, black lives matter, and not just yours. Remember that next time you throw a cashier into the line of fire.

Dr. Carson has shown himself to be appallingly insensitive, and if his values are more equal than ours, we are all in a lot of trouble.

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