A Conversation with Dr. Ben Carson
One Nation by Dr. Ben Carson is an inspirational book. It begins with his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, as he stood a few feet from President Obama. He warned of the dangers facing this nation and called for a return to the principles upon which this nation was founded. Dr. Carson discusses current important issues including the increasing national debt, ObamaCare, and the inability to debate subjects in a civilized manner. He takes aim at political correctness and its impact on curbing honest speech by encouraging Americans to take more individual responsibility. American Thinker had the privilege of interviewing him.
American Thinker: Why did you write the book?
Dr. Ben Carson: Our nation is in a tremendous amount of trouble. People are afraid and desperate about the future, especially for their children. I wanted to include in the book action steps that shows people what they can actually do to empower their own lives as well as collectively move this country in the right direction. We need to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws that were critical to the Founding Fathers of our nation.
AT: You have become a role model for many Americans. Do you think you will run for president?
BC: It is not something that I want to do, especially since everyone that has held this position comes out looking many, many years older. But, seriously I do realize that this nation is in a great deal of trouble. I look to the elections in November as a tell tale as to what the people actually want. Do they want to continue down the road of big government intrusion and control of their lives? Or do they want to move back to a country that is for and by the people where there is great value in the individual, compassion, understanding, and hard work. Either direction will be heard loud and clear by me.
AT: So if the Republicans win big does that mean you will run?
BC: If in 2014 we elect conservatives and people who will rule by common sense then I might consider it.
AT: You speak a lot about common sense in the book, but do you think Republicans have shot themselves in the foot with past elections?
BC: People in the Republican Party need to recognize whoever wins the primary needs to be supported. Whether you like them completely, or not, you cannot say ‘I am taking the marbles and going home.’ That is what has been happening over the past elections and is why conservatives and people with common sense lose. We need to remember that we must elect people into office that might agree with us 80% of the time rather than having someone in office that disagrees with you nearly 100% of the time.
AT: Are you speaking of the 2012 Presidential election?
BC: If all the conservatives would have voted in 2012 Romney would have won by a landslide. Those people who did not vote and were disgusted, are they happy now? I doubt it. I think politically the left are smarter than we are right now. We need a strategy and to be pragmatic. This is how we have to think to get America on the right track again or we will destroy it, as we know it. Make no mistake we are in a political fight. I use the example of Esther from the Bible in my book. She hid her identity as a Jew but was able to marry the king. This ultimately led to her saving her people. She had a big plan in mind.
AT: Can you explain the quote from the book, “Education does not necessarily make one wise?”
BC: It’s simple but true. Look at our universities that should be exemplifying free speech, intellectual pursuit, and an exploration of alternative ways of doing things. Instead they say we don’t want to hear someone we disagree with. This is coming from people who are knowledgeable, but not wise. They don’t want people to hear alternatives because they are afraid it will make sense and prevent people from being so manipulated.
AT: One of my favorite quotes in the book, “Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon and can’t possibly know anything about economics. How many of these same people were involved in crafting the ACA even though their training is not in health care.” Were you referring to the elitist mentality?
BC: After I heard it I thought it to be pretty hilarious. I suspect I probably know a whole lot more about business than they know about health care. One of the points I try to make in the book is to not let yourself be limited to any particular sphere of knowledge. How many physicians were consulted about the Affordable Care Act? Did you know that five physicians signed the Declaration of Independence? No one has to confine themselves because of their occupation. It is interesting no one ever makes this assumption about lawyers.
AT: You also refer to common sense versus knowledge. Can you explain?
BC: Most people don’t investigate anymore. The average person goes into the voting booth looking for a ‘D, R,’ or a name that is familiar. People don’t know about issues anymore. For example, I saw a news program where they asked people to name the person who sings ‘The Happy Song.’ Everyone knew the answer; yet, when they asked about Benghazi most people thought it was a person, a singer. We need to refer to what our Founders said about our system and freedoms being dependent on a well-informed populace. After speaking to a group I gave an assignment asking them to spend time over the next year learning something new.
AT: In the book, you refer to a media bias. Can you explain?
BC: The media has relinquished its responsibility to seek the truth. They are no longer investigating, but are just protecting. This only works when the public does not have a lot of information, does not understand the facts, and is not well read. People need to think critically and objectively. It’s sad people don’t realize that they are being taken advantage of by the media.
AT: Throughout the book you discuss your own life story as an example. Your mom is a very special person to you, correct?
BC: My mom never allowed herself to be a victim. She never allowed us to be victims. She never made excuses. She never expected excuses. I think that is a big part of why my brother and I are successful. He is a rocket scientist and I am a brain surgeon. We were not brought up dependent on government programs. What is much more compassionate is to provide people with a means to move out of poverty.
AT: Thank you for your time and insight. One Nation is a fantastic read since it not only outlines the issues facing this nation but also offers solutions. As with this interview, the book is very up front and truthful with what is necessary to get this country back on track.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.