Monday, March 18, 2013

The Conservative Neurosurgeon

On Saturday, March 16, the Conservative Political Action Conference ended. Despite my fervent wishes, I was not invited to speak or go to the conference for free. But what all happened? Did anything relevant happen?

Well, here's a list of the speakers

So, for the next couple of posts, I might try to give you as much information as possible about this conference to see if it strikes your fancy. If not, oh well.

If you've been paying attention to right-wing media, and let's face it, who isn't, you'd realize there is a new person who everyone is falling all over. Dr. Ben Carson. I read his auto-biography when I was younger. I cannot be certain but I think my friends and I made a move about the book that we showed in Religion class. I was fantastic. But I digress.

Dr. Carson got some notoriety during the National Prayer Breakfast. He called for a flat tax designed from the Bible in which we would tithe 10%. These types of taxes are more regressive than our current progressive tax structure. The progressive tax structure has been something that Republicans and Conservatives have been, increasingly, critical of in the last couple of years. Dr. Carson was also critical of Obamacare calling for an expansion of the free market into health care. He also talked about the health savings account which everyone would have at birth to help pay for health care later in life. Dr. Carson's speech was criticized by liberals for being critical of President Obama while mere feet away from him and also for the ideas expressed in his speech. Liberals and Conservatives alike were critical of him for bringing things like that up in a traditionally nonpartisan event. Dr. Carson also railed against the politically correct nature of America which plays well with Conservatives and talked briefly about getting back to God which definitely appeals to Conservative voters.

Now that you're all caught up on Dr. Ben Carson, it should be noted that he was invited to be a speaker at CPAC despite him repeatedly saying that he is “politically independent.” Dr. Carson announced in his speech at CPAC that he will be retiring from medicine. His speech touched on what would happen if “you magically put him in the White House.” His speech at CPAC, which was carried live on Fox News something Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann can't say, was a continuation of his comments from the National Prayer Breakfast. He called again for a flat tax saying that “if God thinks that proportionality is fair, who are we to say that it is unfair?” He called for the health savings accounts. He also stated that corporate taxes should be lower to encourage growth, not surprising considering where he was making that speech. But most importantly, he talked about ending the war on God. Apparently, there's a war that I was unaware of, being waged against an omnipotent and omniscient being. It doesn't sound winnable.

Dr. Carson talked briefly about some other subjects, too. Stating that charities do a better job providing for the needy than the government. He said, “nobody is starving on the streets. We've always taken care of them. We take care of our own; we always have. It is not the government's responsibility.” I agree with part of that sentiment. I'm sure charities are better providing for the needy in some cases. There are certain things that they are more equipped to do. But to say that nobody is starving on the streets is just ludicrous. You're welcome to walk with me in Los Angeles from Union Station to my internship. If you don't see someone starving in the streets, I'll personally introduce you for your inauguration as president.

It wouldn't be a speech for Conservatives if we didn't talk about socialism. Dr. Carson claimed that socialism was born in response to America and a lot of people don't know that. Socialism was probably born out of the French Revolution in 1789. At least the roots of socialism were. The phrase socialism was not coined until 1832. It was primarily thought of in response to the industrial revolution and the large disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor. If you squint long and hard enough, I suppose that you could make the claim that socialism was born in response to the United States. I don't think it's a claim, I would be comfortable with saying at a conference in front of potentially millions of people.

Dr. Carson left the possibility open for him to run for president in 2016. This made a lot of Conservatives happy. He finished tied for 7th in the Washington Times/CPAC 2013 straw poll with Ted Cruz at 4% of the vote. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio were the two leaders with over 20% of the vote, each. Dr. Carson finished fairly strong out of the 24 people mentioned, despite a lack of name recognition or being previously elected to office.

Note: I'm an idiot and had to fix the language in the part about progressive and regressive taxes


  1. Just a small correction, a flat tax is not regressive. It is by definition a proportional tax, which is neither regressive nor progressive. It is more regressive than the current tax structure in the same way that 0 is more negative than 5.

  2. Quite right. I'll update that. Thanks!