Republican presidential aspirant Ben Carson is afflicted with incurable cerebral deficit disorder.
The disease manifests itself in part through Mr. Carson's chronic, non-responsive, bizarre answers to questions as if he were in a stupor at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It also finds expression in hallucinatory incredulities, for instance, the personal conviction that Joseph constructed the pyramids to store grain; they were not the handiwork of insatiably vain Egyptian Pharaohs seeking amusement from the ennui of philosophically empty lives.
Mr. Carson is probably also convinced that Ptolemy was wiser than Copernicus, that Lysenko knew more than Mendel, and that Moses built the Chinese Wall after losing his way to the Promised Land. But the questions are not free from doubt.
We should all be frightened if Mr. Carson ever came to occupy the White House. He could easily initiate war against China believing he was ordering marine training exercises in Darwin, Australia, or sign a second edition of TARP believing the bill called for social security reform. Mr. Carson has already had a dream that China is militarily engaged in Syria as a dress rehearsal for Oval Office fantasies.
During the Fox Business-Wall Street Journal Fourth Republican debate, Mr. Carson responded to the simple question, "Do you think JPMorgan and other big banks should be broken up?" with an evasive, 344- word carnival of incoherence scornful of Aristotelian logic. Here is the movie trailer:
"[S]ome of the monetary and Fed policies that we're using makes it very easy for them, makes it very easy for the big corporations, quite frankly, at these very low interest rates to buy back their stock and to drive the price of that up artificially. Those are the kinds of things that led to the problem in the first place."
"Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton won't tell you that that's [regulation] the thing that's really hurting the middle class in the core. They'll say it's the rich, take their money, but that won't help. You can take all of the rich's money and it won't make a dent in the problem that we're having. We have to come back to the fundamental principles that made America great."
Let's attempt a dissection of Mr. Carson's stream of consciousness.
He argues that banks have become big by purchasing their own stock and driving up the price artificially. But stock purchases do not enlarge the assets of banks. And no price set between a willing buyer and willing seller is "artificial." They reflect the fundamental principles of free market pricing that made America great. Mr. Carson's concept of an artificial price is like Karl Marx's zany labor theory of value divorced from the laws of supply and demand and an invitation to precisely the type of government regulation he professedly deplores.
His cavernous leap to Mr. Sanders, Ms. Clinton, and to regulations generally (of which only a tiny fraction are bank-related) is first cousin to Franz Kafka's The Trial: "Everything is connected with everything else and will continue without change, or else, which is quite probable, even more closed, more attentive, more strict, more malevolent."
Mr. Carson absurdly conflates the debt ceiling with the budget, like mistaking an arm for a leg. The following October 7, 2015 exchange on Marketplace is conclusive:
Ryssdal: As you know, Treasury Secretary Lew has come out in the last couple days and said, "We're gonna run out of money, we're gonna run out of borrowing authority on November 5th." Should the Congress, then, and the President, not raise the debt limit? Should we default on our debt?
Carson: Let me put it this way, if I were the President, I would not sign an increased budget. Absolutely not do it. They would have to find a place to cut.
Ryssdal: To be clear, it's increasing the debt limit, not the budget. But I want to make sure I understand you. You would let the United States default rather than raise the debt limit.
Carson: No, I would provide the kind of leadership that says, "Get on the stick, guys, and stop messing around, and cut where you need to cut, because we're not raising any spending limits, period."
Ryssdal: I'm gonna try one more time, sir. This is debt that's already been obligated. Would you not favor increasing the debt limit to pay the debts already incurred?
Carson: What I'm saying is we have to restructure the way we create debt. I mean, if we continue along this, where does it stop?
Carson was also asked at the Fourth Republican Debate, "Do you support the president's decision to now put 50 special ops forces in Syria and leave 10,000 troops in Afghanistan?" His juvenile response: "Well, putting the special ops people there is better than not having them there, because they -- that's why they're called special ops..."
Imagine what Mr. Carson's response would have been to General William Westmoreland's request for hundreds of thousands of additional troops in Vietnam on the heels of the 1968 Tet Offensive: "Well, putting the troops there is better than not having them there, because otherwise they would not be called troops."
Only fools would entrust power to a dangerous man who does not know what he doesn't know.