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A Message to Obama, Served Cold
Townhall.com ^ | February 13, 2013 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 02/13/2013 7:07:02 AM PST by Kaslin

In an earlier era, Dr. Benjamin Carson's speech before the National Prayer Breakfast last week would have been a really big deal rather than mere fodder for a brief squall on Twitter and cable news.

Born in crushing poverty to an illiterate single mother dedicated to seeing her children succeed, Carson became the head of the department of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins medical institutions when he was 33. He's been a black celebrity role model ever since.

Even if you didn't like the substance of what Carson had to say at the breakfast, his speech made for great political theater. President Obama was seated on the stage, just a few feet away, and he didn't look like he was having a good time.

Intellectual historians of black America might make a great deal out of the image of a frowning Obama listening as Carson inveighed against a culture of victimology and dependency. It's too trite to say that the president is the incarnation of W.E.B. DuBois and Carson of Booker T. Washington. After all, DuBois renounced his American citizenship, became a communist and moved to Ghana at the end of his life. Obama, the son of a leftist (if not an actual communist) from Africa, went on to become the president of the United States -- a significantly different story, to put it mildly.

But as Mark Twain allegedly said, history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. The great argument between DuBois and Washington is often boiled down to integration versus self-help. Washington believed that blacks should emphasize education and self-advancement first and worry about integration later. DuBois favored a civil-rights-first strategy combined with reliance on the leadership of technocrats, including what he called the "talented tenth," or the best African-Americans.

Culturally, DuBois won the argument and the allegiance of liberals and the left, while Washington has often been unfairly cast as an Uncle Tom (despite fighting against racial injustice his whole life).

But in a country that's elected a black president -- twice -- and passed the Civil Rights Act half a century ago, even if Washington was wrong about the sequence of priorities, it seems fair to ponder whether the time has come for his philosophy to get a second look.

Although much of Carson's speech focused on personal responsibility, he offered two concrete policy ideas. The first is a flat tax. The Bible endorses the idea, Carson explained. Everyone should tithe -- give 10 percent -- in good times and bad. It doesn't have to be 10 percent, he conceded. It's the principles of proportionality and simplicity that matter.

Critics complain that the poor guy who puts in $1 will be hurt more than the rich guy who puts in $1 billion. But, Carson asks: "Where does it say you've got to hurt the [rich] guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands."

Carson's idea for health-care reform is even more Washingtonian. Instead of the technocratic behemoth of Obamacare, empower the individual. "When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account to which money can be contributed -- pretax -- from the time you're born till the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members ... and there's nobody talking about death panels."

The beauty of Carson's argument exceeds its simplicity, particularly as even economist Paul Krugman now concedes that something like death panels are inevitable if we stay on our current path. Taxpayers, the rich or charities can contribute extra money to the accounts of the poor, but at the same time, Carson says, the poor will "have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're going to learn how to be responsible."

As a conservative, I'm obviously partial to all this. But there's something bigger than a policy dispute going on here. Although DuBois and Washington were understandably consumed by racial questions, the philosophical divide between Obama and Carson is one we are all part of now. And that's a sign of the racial progress both DuBois and Washington fought for.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: barackobama; bencarson; bookertwashington; budgetandgovernment; flattax; healthcare; webdubois

1 posted on 02/13/2013 7:07:05 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

The difference I see is that one wants Control, the other wants Freedom. Choose your path wisely.


2 posted on 02/13/2013 7:14:44 AM PST by griswold3 (Big Government does not tolerate rivals.)
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To: Kaslin

It was really something seeing these two guys side by side.

Carson is the McCoy... “O” is the knock off.... and a cheesy one at that!!

It’s sort of like the difference between Kate Middleton and Lindsay Lohan!!

Looking at the GLARING differences between them and if I had a son...I’d sooner he took Carson for a role model than that half-wit who is passing himself off as a President.


3 posted on 02/13/2013 7:19:34 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: Kaslin

I see Carson as more of a Frederick Douglass than a G.W. Carver. He’s a very lone voice in a wilderness of very loud racist white (and black) men whose calm, collected way of imparting logic and common sense can bend the ear of even the most accidental of liberals.

I was in awe of Douglass and Carver going through my collegiate studies. When I was an undergrad, just 15 years ago, the big push was for “multi-cultural” studies that focused on black history more than today’s “inclusion” studies that impart homosexuality as the new acceptable “norm.” What I learned through my studies helped me to form a cogent and ardent respect for the hard-working black man than I ever had growing up in my very white part of the Tampa Bay area.

Since then, I’ve met more and more black men and women who are powerful conservative voices, pillars of their respective communities, and respected members of their secular and spiritual organizations. I hope that Carson can reach the black community and overpower the voices of people like Sharpton and Jackson. They promote more slavery and subjugation in the name of sloth and apathy, while black men like Carson stand strong in front of their communities to say, “We have the right to pursue whatever life we wish, our fathers and grandfathers fought and died for that right; it’s now our turn to stand up strong, walk through life as God-fearing, self-sustaining individuals and live among a society that promotes hard work and self-reliance over laziness and self-righteousness.”


4 posted on 02/13/2013 7:22:06 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: griswold3

Hussein “You Lie” Obama made one point perfectly clear last night when he read President Valery Jarrett’s 2013 State of the Union teleprompter speech.

That point was made in the sentence: “ It all works better when we work together.”

What the sentence REALLY means is: ‘It all works better when YOU do things MY way !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’


5 posted on 02/13/2013 7:26:40 AM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Commune Obama"care" violates Anti-Trust Law s, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: rarestia
You're kind of like that casting agent out there in Hollywood who doesn't call for American Indian actors unless there's an American Indian role in the script.

I see Doctor Carson as a young Ronald Reagan. He's upcoming, and he's a fine man.

I don't see him as any kind of Stepinfetchet where we have to cast him in some kind of Black mien.
6 posted on 02/13/2013 7:40:11 AM PST by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: righttackle44

I would encourage you to read some of Douglass’ work. You might change your tone a bit. I don’t disagree with your assessment, but remember that a lot of people compared Herman Cain to Reagan, and he didn’t do so well.

I believe it’s in the best interest of the country to frame conservative black men as black men and not compare them to some “old white man” of the past. I say this as a white man, because the establishment has worked very hard to ingrain a sense of guilt into white men and women, and they’ll be all-too-willing to pull the lever for a black man, regardless of his politics. The problem comes into play with the black community at large, and that’s the uphill battle Carson faces.

It’s not the white people he needs to impress, he’s already done that in spades. He needs to bring black men and women over to his side to help them realize that historically, black men and women have been served as chattel and regarded as such. Until they break the old slave mentality by which they’re still burdened from the likes of Jackson and Sharpton, they’re forever going to be liberal Democrats.


7 posted on 02/13/2013 7:55:27 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: Kaslin
For Freepers who aren't aware of it, they made a GREAT TV movie about him in 2009.

It's called "Gifted Hands - The Ben Carson Story"

I just watched it last night. Very pro-life, and WHAT A GUY! If you get your movies online, try to find it. Otherwise, google it up.

8 posted on 02/13/2013 8:03:49 AM PST by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: Slump Tester

Amazon has it. Unfortunately it is unavailable right now. They must have had lots of requests


9 posted on 02/13/2013 8:12:03 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
(Article) DuBois favored a civil-rights-first strategy combined with reliance on the leadership of technocrats, including what he called the "talented tenth," or the best African-Americans.

Jonah, say it plain. DuBois was all about vanguardism and confrontation, a Marxist battle against Whitey, a battle led by vanguard generals barking orders and being instantly obeyed.

10 posted on 02/13/2013 10:15:03 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Kaslin
(Art.) "When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account .... If you die, you can pass it on to your family members ... and there's nobody talking about death panels."

Doctor Carson, don't you understand? For Obama, it's all about the Death Panels -- his American Holocaust, his epic historical revenge against Old White America, that will sweep away all the people who remember freedom, and make clear the way of the New Marxist America.

11 posted on 02/13/2013 10:19:54 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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