Ben Carson in America the Beautiful, by Dr. Ben Carson, M.D.

On Abortion: Persuaded mother of hydrocephalic baby to cancel abortion

A few years ago, I was consulted by a woman who was 33 weeks pregnant with a baby who had been diagnosed by ultrasound to have hydrocephalus or water on the brain. She was on her way to Kansas at the recommendation of her local obstetrician to have an abortion, as Kansas was the only state that would allow a baby to be aborted that was perfectly viable outside the womb without life support. I discussed with her in great detail the implications of having a baby with hydrocephalus, and I discussed with her the many options that were available. In the end, she decided to complete the pregnancy, and we were able to place a shunt in the baby after it was born to divert excess fluid away from the brain. Although the baby had some developmental delays, she continues to thrive today.

There were many premature infants in our neonatal intensive care unit who were several weeks younger than the baby in question. Why was it difficult to defend a baby that was 5 weeks further along in development?

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 99-100 Jan 24, 2012

On Budget & Economy: 1990s deregulation paved way for 2008 economic meltdown

Some degree of government regulation is necessary for our large financial institutions to prevent the kinds of tragedies that occurred during and immediately after the great stock market crash of 1929 and again in 2008. The real shame is that we did not recognize the importance of financial regulation after the great crash of 1929 and appropriately developed safeguards in the 1930s. Unfortunately, we decided to deregulate during the 1990s, paving the way for the economic meltdown in 2008.

When it comes to defending the economic viability of our nation, ir is načve to count on the honesty and integrity of people responsible for our markets when they stand to gain so much by manipulating the system to their advantage. If we become paranoid and overregulate the financial markets, however, we will not see peak performances from them. This is one of the reasons that a balance of viewpoints in our legislative bodies is not only healthy but also necessary.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 78-79 Jan 24, 2012

On Budget & Economy: Cut every agency spending by 10%, with no exceptions

Both Democrats and Republicans have strayed so far from the path of responsible financial policy that the concept of balancing the budget is foreign to them. I believe many of them simply cannot grasp the concept of only spending what you have. I do understand that making budgetary cuts will be painful, but it will not be nearly as painful as going bankrupt!

I believe the logical approach would be to have each governmental agency and department trim its budget by 10% -- with no exceptions. In each subsequent year, another 10% decrease would be required and would continue as long as necessary to bring the budget back into balance. This would mean there would be no sacred cows and no sparing of entitlements. No politician, agency, or special interest group could cry foul.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.108-109 Jan 24, 2012

On Civil Rights: 1960s: experienced racism in inner-city Boston and Detroit

I grew up in inner-city Detroit and Boston at the tail end of one of those dark periods in America's history. Slavery had long been abolished, but widespread racism remained. The civil rights movement was on the verge of completely transforming the social landscape, but such change often comes slowly. And today, decades later, I can still pinpoint the moment when I came of age regarding racism in America.

My brother and I were playing in Franklin Park in the Roxbury section of Boston when I wandered away alone under a bridge, where a group of older white boys approached me and began calling me names.

"Hey, boy, we don't allow your kind over here," one of them said. He looked at the others. "Let's drown him in the lake." I could tell they weren't just taunting me, trying to scare me. They were serious, and I turned and ran from there faster than I had ever run before in my life. It was a shocking introduction for a little boy to the racism that ran through America at the time.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 12 Jan 24, 2012

On Civil Rights: Reparations for WWII Japanese ok, but not for slavery

I can understand the idea of reparations for the Japanese-American families who were unjustly interned during WWII. In that case, corrective action was taken at a time when many of the victims could actually benefit from it. In the case of slavery, however, there are neither slaves not slave owners currently living, so it seems unfair to require people who had nothing to do with slavery to pay for it. I understand the argument that the descendants of slave owners inherited property and large sums of money accumulated through slave labor, and are thus obligated to share the proceeds with the descendants of slaves. There is some legitimacy to such an argument, but no one can really quantify the percentage of assets derived from slave labor in order to distribute them. Furthermore, where do you draw the line for reparations in the past?
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.101-102 Jan 24, 2012

On Civil Rights: Not all black candidates share Obama's left-wing politics

The election of Barack Obama as the 1st black president in 2008 was a momentous occasion and signaled the fact that race was no longer a barrier to election to the highest office in the land. However, people still disagree about whether or not the US remains racially divided. In the national election of 2012, we will have a wonderful opportunity to really see whether we have largely vanquished racism in America. Part of that final shift will require white Americans to set behind them the notion that most black candidates running for office share the same political left-wing leanings held by President Obama, and to embrace the process of scrutinizing candidates' positions rather than simply making assumptions about them. Doing so will help confirm that the evil of racism is losing its hold on this nation once defined by it.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.163-164 Jan 24, 2012

On Civil Rights: Redefining marriage is slippery slope with disastrous ending

As a Bible-believing Christian, you might imagine that I would not be a proponent of gay marriage. I believe God loves homosexuals as much as he loves everyone, but if we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire. I don't believe this to be a political view, but rather a logical and reasoned view with long-term benefits to family structure and the propagation of humankind. When children grow up in an environment with loving parents who provide security, they are free to be happy and playful and eager to learn. God obviously knew what he was doing when he ordained the traditional family, and we should not denigrate it in order to uplift some alternative.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.182 Jan 24, 2012

On Civil Rights: Legal binding relationship for gays to enjoy property rights

[Despite opposing a redefinition of marriage], I have no problem whatsoever with allowing gay people to live as they please, as long as they don't try to impose their lifestyle on everyone else. Marriage is a very sacred institution and should not be degraded by allowing every other type of relationship to be made equivalent to it. If gays or non-gays wish to have some type of legal binding relationship that helps with the adjudication of property rights and other legal matters, I certainly have no problem with that, but to equate that with marriage is going further than necessary.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.182 Jan 24, 2012

On Civil Rights: Free speech is wonderful, but hate speech causes actual harm

Of all the wonderful freedoms that characterize life here in America, freedom of speech is one of the most important. This was most dramatically demonstrated in a recent Supreme Court decision, which upheld the rights of members of the Westboro Baptists Church to display extremely offensive signs and shout obscenities during funeral services for veterans. They are an intolerant hate group that despises homosexuality and are angry with the military because gays are allowed to serve. There is almost no one who agrees with the Westboro Church, but because of the Supreme Court's decision to strictly interpret the Constitution, the rights of the church members could not be denied.

I actually have some doubts about that legal decision, because the signs, obscenity, and noise infringe upon the rights of other Americans to assemble peacefully for the burial of one of their loved ones. If my right to free speech causes you actual harm, it becomes time to curtail my speech.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.186 Jan 24, 2012

On Corporations: Tithing teaches about not hoarding as capitalist greed

Greed can manifest itself within the capitalist system. Unfortunately, however, greed is a significant drawback for ANY economic model, including communism and socialism. No one can justify ascribing a flaw in human character to one economic model or another, for greed is a human weakness seen in all societies.

In the Bible, God instituted a system of tithing, which meant giving 10% of one's profits back to God. Since God is all powerful and owns everything, he certainly does not need any percentage of our profits. So why did he institute tithing? Could it be that he understood that all human beings are subject to greed and that by requiring them to give away 10% of their profits they might learn a valuable lesson about not hoarding and about voluntarily sharing with others?

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 68 Jan 24, 2012

On Corporations: Highest corporate tax rate causes highest national debt

Our corporate tax rate is the second highest in the world. The only country with a higher corporate tax rate is Japan, which just so happens to also be the only country with a greater national debt than we have. Is that coincidence or evidence of cause and effect? I suspect the latter. By being shortsighted and greedy, our government is driving businesses to other countries, which deprives our people not only of jobs, but our government of vital income. If a low proportional tax rate is applied to everyone, including corporate entities, the flow of jobs and income would be into our nation rather than out of our nation. This is not complex economic theory, but rather common sense.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.122 Jan 24, 2012

On Crime: Motorcyclists not wearing helmets consume medical resources

On numerous occasions, a motorcyclist with no helmet on would whiz past us, seemingly without a care in the world. I had to fight feelings of anger as I thought about how often I was awakened at 2 AM to respond to a severe head trauma case from a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet. That motorcyclist had every right to neglect his own safety, and at that time, that right was protected by law.

Subsequently, helmet laws were enacted, much to the displeasure of many motorcyclists, but to the great relief of many health-care practitioners. The ramifications of such irresponsible behavior [by those] motorcyclists extend far beyond the inconvenience suffered by people like me who had to take care of them. Sometimes the head injuries were very severe. Few people stop to philosophize about whether the victims have a right to consume enormous amounts of medical resources. We do not discuss the behavior that created the problem, and we generally do not discuss the price of treatment.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.141-142 Jan 24, 2012

On Crime: Imagine the mayhem if all police protection were removed

I have great admiration for the police, who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect our lives, freedom, and property. Remove all police protection in our society for just a day, and imagine the mayhem that would ensue. Sure, corruption exists in some police departments, because police officers are human beings like the rest of us; give power to human beings and corruption naturally follows. But police provide far greater good than bad in our society.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.167 Jan 24, 2012

On Crime: Excessive litigation would end with "loser pays" arrangement

We have an overabundance of lawyers and so we can expect to have excessive litigation. The English system does not have the same kind of problem with excessive litigation because they have a "loser pay" arrangement. In that system, if you bring a lawsuit against someone and you lose, you have to pay all court costs and fees associated with the lawsuit--on both sides. In our system, most medical malpractice lawsuits are engaged on a contingency basis, which means the plaintiff has no out-of-pocket expenses, even if the case is lost. It's basically like playing the lottery; you have very little to lose, and you might become a millionaire if you instigate a medical malpractice lawsuit. Whether we add a "loser pay" arrangement to our legal system or devise another solution, the plaintiffs should have some skin in the game. To be able to bring lawsuits against people with no risk to yourself is antithetical to a harmonious and fair society.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.171-172 Jan 24, 2012

On Crime: Stop politically-correct prejudice against blacks vs. whites

A myopic view by our Justice Department resulted in the dismissal of three of the defendants in a voter intimidation case against the new Black Panther party in Philadelphia. The case was widely publicized because the incident was captured on film and distributed on YouTube, showing them verbally abusing voters and brandishing weapons. Would the Justice Department recognize such activity as voter intimidation if the perpetrators wore white sheets and burned crosses?

I am not accusing anyone of anything other than failing to look at the big picture when dealing with important legal matters. Some will say that I am advocating a conservative approach to the case, but I would strongly disagree and would say that this is neither a conservative nor liberal view, but rather a practical and logical one. If we can just tone down the rhetoric and discuss things like rational human beings, applying justice equally and not based on some political philosophy.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.175 Jan 24, 2012

On Drugs: Reducing blood alcohol limit to .02 reduces drunk driving

An example of how responsible policies can change a society's behavior is found in Sweden, where they decided in the 1990s that their nation's incidence of drunk driving was too high. They changed the legally tolerated blood-alcohol limit from 0.05 to 0.02 (in the US, the average tolerated blood-alcohol level is 0.08--4 times higher than that in Sweden) and enforced severe penalties for drunk driving, including mandatory jail time, astronomical fines, and confiscation of one's vehicle. As a result, there was a dramatic decline in alcohol-related traffic accidents and fatalities. The behavioral changes are so enculturated that hardly anyone even considers driving if they have consumed a single can of beer. This shows that people respond to appropriate legislative changes and that there is still great potential for our nation to use government in a responsible and uplifting manner that will not break the bank and that will encourage the development of responsible citizens.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.106 Jan 24, 2012

On Drugs: Religion kept me away from 1960s sex and drugs

Plenty of hippies and flower children around me smoke pot, used illicit drugs, and engaged in free love as part of that utopian dream.

Because of my love of God and my religious upbringing, I didn't become involved in sex or drugs, but I still identified strongly with the antiwar protesters and revolutionaries. I was quite unhappy when McGovern was soundly defeated by Nixon in 1972. I was a senior in college at the time and starting to think more about medical school than social justice. [At Yale in the late 1960s], I was proud to see groups such as the Black Panthers standing up to brutal police tactics, and though I never joined any radical student organizations, I kept abreast of the activities of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Weathermen, and other groups willing to use aggressive tactics to accomplish "social justice."

I voted for George McGovern enthusiastically along with multitudes of young people, all of us looking forward to a utopian world of peace & love.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.155-156 Jan 24, 2012

On Education: As child, mother required written book reports

My mother, with her 3rd-grade education, was terrified that because of our poor academic performance both my brother and I would end up with low-paying menial jobs as she had. She came up with the idea of turning off the television and making us read two books each week. She also made us submit to her written book reports, which of course she could not read, but we didn't know that. Her friends told her that her sons would grow up to hate her, but that did not matter to her, as long as we were successful

I didn't hate Mother, but in the beginning, I sure hated reading those books. After a while, however, I actually began to look forward to them, because they afforded me escape from our everyday poverty. There in the city, books about nature captivated me. My reading ability increased. I began to imagine myself as a great explorer or scientist or doctor. I learned things no one else around me knew. Every single day my knowledge of our world expanded, which excited me to no end.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 54 Jan 24, 2012

On Education: Southern slaveowners knew education would empower slaves

Our society is quite willing to spend millions on a new stadium for the city's football or baseball team, while leaving many of the same city's public schools in a dilapidated condition with tattered books--and in some cases no books at all. Our young people see through this hypocrisy and tend to emulate what they SEE more than what they are TOLD.

It was not always like this, however. Our nation's founders placed so much emphasis on education that towns in Massachusetts could actually be fined for not providing adequate public education, as early as 1642. Compulsory education was much slower to reach the southern states, and education of slaves was forbidden. The very fact that powerful men in the South went to great lengths to prevent slaves from gaining an education makes it clear that they fully understood how empowering education can be. This fact alone should encourage anyone who is poor, weak, and/or powerless to direct all their energy toward obtaining an education.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 57 Jan 24, 2012

On Education: Maintaining American pinnacle requires math, not athletics

There are many in our society who bring only entertainment value, and American society is as enamored with celebrity as British society is with royalty. Although I have nothing against sports and entertainment, I believe there is a danger of getting lost in a fantasy world while neglecting the serious things in life such as education and productive work. The enormous salaries paid to sports stars and entertainers lead people to believe that they are the most important people in our society, or have the most important jobs. I believe they are as important as anyone else, but we must ask ourselves what will maintain the pinnacle position of our nation in the world: the ability to shoot a 25-foot jump shot, or the ability to solve a quadratic equation.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 69 Jan 24, 2012

On Education: Carson Scholars Fund: for humanitarian & superior academics

Children are especially vulnerable to peer pressure, whether it be good peer pressure or bad peer pressure. It is definitely possible to affirm students who are not doing well academically while still providing encouraging extra recognition for those students who are achieving the highest levels. By providing extra recognition for those outstanding students, many of the other students are encouraged to try harder. We have certainly found this to be the case with the Carson Scholars Fund, which provides scholarships for student who demonstrate both superior academic performance and humanitarian qualities. Some teachers have told us that when we put a Carson scholar in the classroom, the grade-point average of the whole class can go up by as much as one point over the next year.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 74 Jan 24, 2012

On Education: THINK BIG: Talent, Honesty, Insight, Nice, Knowledge.God

An example of how political correctness tries to usurp power and impose rules occurred a few years ago when some lawyers approached my wife and me to inform us that our "Think Big" banners could no longer be displayed in public schools. The letter T is for talent, which everyone has to some degree; the letter H is for honesty; I is for insight; N is for nice; K is for knowledge; B is for books; I is for in-depth learning; and G is for God. Because G stands for God, they felt that was clearly a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. We informed them that the First Amendment prohibits government suppression of religious expression and a rather vigorous argument ensued.

[Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor agrees]. The audacity of some of the secularists who try to get God out of everything with no legitimate legal backing is astonishing, and they must be challenged and their objections defeated if our value system is to survive.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.193 Jan 24, 2012

On Education: Carson Reading Rooms: 4,800 scholarships totaling $2 million

The Carson Scholars Fund supports two main initiatives: Carson Scholarships and the Ben Carson Reading Project. Our scholarship program awards students who have embraced high levels of academic excellence and community service with $1,000 college scholarships. The Ben Carson Reading Project provides funding to schools to build and maintain Ben Carson Reading Rooms -warm, inviting rooms where children can discover the joy of independent leisure reading.

We award more than 500 scholarships annually. In total, we have awarded over 4,800 scholarships across the country. Carson Scholarship winners have attended more than 300 colleges and universities, and have received nearly $2 million in scholarship funds to help finance their education.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.211 Jan 24, 2012

On Energy & Oil: Petroleum independence would deprive terrorists of funding

After the 9/11 crisis, if the president had seized the moment and declared that we would become petroleum independent within the next 10 years, business, industry, academia, and everyone else would have been foursquare behind him, and we would have been much further ahead in the fight against terrorism than we are today.
  1. The moderate Arab states would have been terrified about losing their economic base and would most probably have turned over Osama bin Laden.
  2. An enormous number of jobs would likely have been created in the process of switching over to a new energy source, and Wall Street would have been booming.
  3. The environmentalists would have been ecstatic.
  4. Most importantly, the terrorists would have been deprived of much-needed funding, which would have gradually strangled their efforts.
Oil prices would have fallen dramatically in an attempt to soften our resolve, but good leadership would hopefully have recognized and compensated for such a ploy.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.134 Jan 24, 2012

On Energy & Oil: Intelligently tap our own resources offshore & in Alaska

We need to actively combat extremists in every way possible, including economic warfare. The terrorist network derives most of its money through oil revenues, and we, along with most of the rest of the world, have an insatiable appetite for oil. Unlike the rest of the world, however, we have enormous amounts of oil under North and South Dakota, Montana, and Alaska, as well as offshore oil. I am as much of a conservationist as anyone and love the natural beauty that surrounds us, but the pragmatic part of me warns that there will be no beauty at all if the world is consumed in nuclear conflagration. As we intelligently tap our own resources, we must doggedly pursue other energy sources. With appropriate incentives, I have no question that Americans, with all their ingenuity, can come up with new sources of clean energy in a relatively short period of time.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.137 Jan 24, 2012

On Environment: Protecting environment logical for capitalists & socialists

Greed really encompasses most of the other negative aspects of capitalism, such as lack of regard for the environment. Many of the industrialists who helped propel our country to the forefront of the global economy were much more interested in growing their businesses than they were in protecting the environment. The result? Dangerous pollution and the compromised habitat of many animals. Protecting the environment is neither a Democratic nor a Republican position, but rather it should be a LOGICAL position for capitalists AND socialists, because everyone should be looking out for the interests of future generations and trying to protect their own health as well. If our government were able to identify what needs to be done in our country to protect our environment, and our representatives (who are supposed to be looking out for their constituents) agreed on our policies and followed through on them, it would benefit us all.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 76 Jan 24, 2012

On Environment: Native Americans casinos are justified, but not beneficial

Many years ago I was asked to speak at an all-tribe graduation for a large group of Native Americans who owned a massive gambling casino complex. The reparations the tribe had received were certainly justified given the tremendous losses suffered by Native Americans at the hands of American settlers, but I'm not entirely certain that the end result benefited the tribe as it could have.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.101 Jan 24, 2012

On Foreign Policy: Rome's decline began with immoral lifestyle; like in America

The US is still the pinnacle nation in the world today. It is not, however, the 1st pinnacle nation to face a decline. Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Great Britain, France, and Spain all enjoyed their time at the top of the world, so to speak--in many cases, for several hundred years. Then, as they began to decline, they all experienced some peculiar similarities: an inordinate emphasis on sports and entertainment, a fixation with lifestyles of the rich and famous, political corruption, and the loss of a moral compass.

One certainly sees this pattern being repeated in American society today, and if we continue to follow the course of other pinnacle nations prior to us in history, we will suffer the same fate. The question is, "Can we learn from the experience of those nations that preceded us and take corrective action, or must we inexorably follow the same self-destructive course?"

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 9 Jan 24, 2012

On Foreign Policy: Freedom is why people come from Cuba to US, not vice versa

I had an opportunity to visit Cuba with a group of young American business leaders. There the government essentially owns and controls everything. The vast majority of the population must be satisfied with meager resources. However, their basic health care needs are taken care of and they are unlikely to be homeless or starving.

Having spoken to many Cuban refugees, I could only hope that someday they can experience true freedom. Although some people extol the virtues of Cuban society, the tide of illegal immigration is from Cuba to America, not vice versa. More people seem to prefer freedom with the opportunity to create security than security without freedom. If people could freely choose which type of society they preferred to live in, life would be very fair. Americans are free to leave this country any time they want to go live somewhere else; [but] such privileges are not afforded to the average Cuban or those in many other countries where the government controls their lives.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 84-85 Jan 24, 2012

On Foreign Policy: US poverty pales compared to billions in India & Africa

God has opened many doors of opportunity throughout my lifetime, but I believe the greatest of those doors was allowing me to be born in the USA.

Growing up, I heard many complaints from those around me about poverty, but visiting such places as India, Egypt, and Africa has provided me with perspective on what poverty really is. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people in the world live on less than $2 a day. Many of those living in poverty in this country, in fact, would be considered quite wealthy by poor people in other countries. Also, here in the US, there is no caste system to determine one's social status, so there are many opportunities for people to escape poverty without resorting to a life of crime. You are much more likely to be judged in this nation by your knowledge and the way you express yourself than you are by your pedigree. I'm not sure we realize how good we have it on this point.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.180 Jan 24, 2012

On Free Trade: Stop severe trade imbalance via stiff tariffs

[A friend of mine, a self-made multimillionaire who owns many businesses,] has proposed that we place a stiff tariff on products that are manufactured in other countries and are shipped here fully assembled, while reducing tariffs on products that will require assembly once they reach our shores. Given the severe trade imbalance, such a policy would have a dramatic impact on the American job market.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 79 Jan 24, 2012

On Free Trade: Stop severe trade imbalance

that will require assembly once they reach our shores. Given the severe trade imbalance, such a policy would have a dramatic impact on the American job market. Q
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 79 Jan 24, 2012

On Government Reform: Human nature makes giving up power difficult

Although the founding fathers thought of many things, they failed to realize that the facet of human nature that makes people strive for power and influence might result in it becoming very difficult for them to give up their seat in the House of Representatives once they had it.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 34 Jan 24, 2012

On Government Reform: Too many lawyers in government; get more doctors in

[In government, it is] detrimental having one profession overly represented. If there were too many doctors serving in and/or represented in government, there would probably be an overabundance of health-related legislation.

Perhaps you've wondered why a neurosurgeon is sharing his ideas about government. You might be surprised to know that 5 physicians signed the Declaration of Independence, and many of them were involved with the creation of the US Constitution. I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena and help guide our country. Physicians were once much more involved in their communities and with governance in general.

Today we have too many lawyers in government. Consequently, we have far too much regulatory legislation. Also, what do many lawyers learn in law school? They learn it doesn't matter how you fight as long as you win.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 34-35 Jan 24, 2012

On Government Reform: Lengthen House term to 6-10 years, with no re-election

In the scenario originally envisioned by the founding fathers, dedicated citizens served in Congress for a few years and then returned to their original walks of life. But because many in Congress want to keep returning term after term, they need to constantly campaign and seek funding, much of which is obtained from special interest groups. Needless to say, money from these groups is not given without strings attached.

One solution to the problem of special interest groups might be to lengthen the term one serves as a representative from 2 years to 6, 8, or even 10 years--with no possibility of reelection. You could couple that term with a right of recall by the populace every other year if the representative were doing an exceptionally bad job. Congressman could then govern based on the wishes of their constituents and pay little or no attention to special interest groups. Can you even imagine how much more efficiently and logically our government would work under such a circumstance?

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 35-36 Jan 24, 2012

On Government Reform: Bloated government keeps itself busy to justify existence

I believe we are in the process right now of learning that our government is far too big--and the bigger it gets, the more taxpayer money it needs to sustain itself. A gigantic, bloated government has to keep itself busy in order to justify its existence; hence, you have more regulations and meddling in the affairs of the people, whether they request it, need it, or not. Our government is now so large and expensive that each year our national debt grows larger. Currently it sits between $14 and $15 trillion--a number that is so large that it is virtually incomprehensible. That comes out to $50,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US.

It was obviously a mistake to allow our government to reach this size and to spend as much as it has, but it is not the fault of one party or the other. Rather, it is the natural tendency of government to expand if there is no conscientious effort to keep it under control.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.119 Jan 24, 2012

On Health Care: Two-tiered system ok as long as care is adequate

Our 1st child, Murray, was born in Australia. The health-care system in Australia provides substantial benefits for its citizens, and when a baby is born, the family receives a "baby bonus." Although it was a two-tiered system, I did not witness much resentment by those receiving their basic care free of charge against those who could afford private insurance. There may be some substantial lessons that we can learn from such a system.

Everyone has different needs and we do not have to have a one-size-fits-all system. Because one person drives a Chevrolet and another drives a Mercedes, it doesn't automatically mean that the Chevrolet driver is deprived or needs some supplement. The fact is, he can get to the same place as a Mercedes driver with perhaps slightly less comfort. People have different medical needs and some can afford the Chevrolet plan while others can afford the Mercedes plan. We should leave it at that and not try to micromanage people's lives as long as the care is adequate

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.143-144 Jan 24, 2012

On Health Care: Saudi Arabian solution: stiff penalties for medical fraud

Insurance companies would almost certainly object that some unscrupulous doctors would simply submit "evidence" that they had done two appendectomies instead of one.

There are very few physicians who would engage in fraud, but there certainly are some. However, the solution for dealing with those few is not to create a gigantic and expensive bureaucracy, but rather to apply what I term the "Saudi Arabian solution." Why don't people steal very often in Saudi Arabia? Because the punishment is amputation of one or more fingers. I would not advocate chopping off people's limbs, but there would be some very stiff penalties for this kind of fraud, such as loss of one's medical license for life, no less than 10 years in prison, and a loss of all of one's personal possessions. Not only would this be a gigantic deterrent to fraud, but to protect themselves every physician in practice would check every single bill quite thoroughly before submitting it, which would not be that difficult to do and document.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.145-146 Jan 24, 2012

On Health Care: Regulate insurance companies as non-profit services

Today, insurance companies call the shots on what they want to pay, to whom, and when. Consequently, even busy doctors operate with a very slim profit of margin.

This is an ideal place for the intervention of government regulators who, with the help of medical professionals, could establish fair and consistent remuneration. To accomplish this, essentially all of the insurance companies would have to become non-profit service organizations with standardized, regulated profit margins.

This is not the paradigm that I see for all businesses, [but] is uniquely appropriate for the health-insurance industry, which deals with people's lives and quality of existence. That may sound radical, but is it as radical as allowing a company to increase its profits by denying care to sick individuals? In the long run this would also be good for the insurance companies, who could then concentrate on providing good service, rather than focusing on undercutting their competitors and increasing their profit margin.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.147-148 Jan 24, 2012

On Health Care: Government responsibility for catastrophic coverage

There was a time when premature babies or babies with significant birth defects simply died, which cost the insurance company very little. Now, however, thanks to developments in medical technology, we're able to put such babies in incubators and treat them, usually saving their lives--but then we hand the insurance company a bill for $1 million. This kind of scenario, repeated on a regular basis, drove insurance companies to drastically increase their premiums.

One solution would be to remove from the insurance companies the responsibility for catastrophic health-care coverage, making it a government responsibility [like FEMA insures against hurricanes]. Clearly, if the health-care insurance companies did not have to cover catastrophic health care, it would be relatively easy by analyzing actuarial tables to determine how much money they are likely to be liable for each year. With this information at our disposal, health insurance companies could be regulated just as utilities are regulated.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.149-150 Jan 24, 2012

On Health Care: Let paralyzed quadriplegics choose to die if they wish it

We are facing a time when we have to be pragmatic, while at the same time exercising compassion.

I remember a case of a prominent individual who had been in an automobile accident and was rendered a C-1 quadriplegic, which means not only was he paralyzed from the neck down, but he could not breathe without assistance. We could have made the decision to keep him alive at all costs, but through a unique system of communication that we were able to work out with him, he indicated that he wanted to die. After much debate, we yielded to his wishes and withdrew ventilator support. In the long run, I think our course of action was both compassionate and pragmatic. If we integrate compassion and logic into our decision-making processes, I am convinced that we will deal with newly emerging ethical dilemmas appropriately.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.151 Jan 24, 2012

On Homeland Security: Roman Empire fell because military was stretched too thin

Being prepared to protect ourselves does not mean endless expansion of the military budget or insinuating ourselves into every conflict around the globe. One only need look to the history of the Roman Empire to learn significant lessons about what happens when military forces are stretched too thin. The Romans suffered many humiliating losses as a result, which affected the esprit de corps, leading to further erosion of a once fierce fighting force. Also, their need for ever-increasing funding led to burdensome taxes and trumped-up reasons to confiscate private property, particularly that belonging to the wealthy. The loss of a national vision, erosion of morality, and totally irresponsible fiscal policies led to the destruction of what was perhaps the greatest empire the world had ever known. Our nation should keep this in mind when evaluating trouble spots around the world and considering our level of involvement.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.131 Jan 24, 2012

On Homeland Security: Ethical world leadership stops bullies with brutal force

A large void in ethical world leadership has been present for quite a while, and this is a perfect time for the US to step forward and offer effective, morally consistent policies unconstrained by political correctness. If a bully faction or bully nation is beating up on those with whom it disagrees, we should immediately stop them with brutal force, if necessary, because it is the right thing to do. If that were done consistently, such incidents would cease almost immediately.

I mention political correctness here because it only hampers effectiveness. For example, a lot of time, effort, and lives were wasted in Fallujah, Iraq, because the terrorists were hiding among the people and using them as shields. Political correctness dictates that we play their game. I would have announced via bullhorn and leaflets that in 72 hours Fallujah was going to become part of the desert because there were substantial numbers of terrorists hiding there. This would have given people time to flee.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.136 Jan 24, 2012

On Homeland Security: Confront radical violent elements of all religions

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all sprang from the seed of Abraham, which might lead one to believe that the religious should have enough in common to peacefully coexist. Since the vast majority of each religion's constituents embrace the concept of peace, it is incumbent upon those members to control their radical elements. This means they have to confront the radical elements who advocate violence and often the very principles that constitute their belief system. This must be done both publicly and privately, and they have to use every means available to them to eliminate this cancer among them. If they are afraid or refuse to stand up to the radicals among them, they will share in the guilt for the worldwide holocaust that will ensue. The only way in which religious division will not be highly destructive is if people embrace and live up to the precepts and principles of their respective religions.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.164-165 Jan 24, 2012

On Immigration: Overwhelming majority want the southern border secured

The overwhelming majority of Americans want the southern borders of our country secured and our immigration laws enforced, but several administrations recently have been unwilling to get tough on this issue because they do not want to alienate a large voting block of Latinos. This is yet another area where our government's leadership and the wishes of many of the people diverge and the people are being ignored.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 39 Jan 24, 2012

On Immigration: Deportation is moral low road; create guest worker program

Is it moral for us, for example, to take advantage of cheap labor from illegal immigrants while denying them citizenship? I'm sure you can tell from the way I phrased the question that I believe we have taken the moral low road on this issue. Some segments of our economy would virtually collapse without these undocumented workers--we all know that--yet we continue to harass and deport many individuals who are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Is there a way to apply logic to this issue and arrive at an intelligent solution?

All we have to do is look to our northern neighbor, Canada. They have a guest worker program, which allows people to enter the country as officially recognized guest workers who pay taxes, receive benefits, and are able to come and go as they please without infringing on anyone else's rights.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.102 Jan 24, 2012

On Jobs: College job: supervised highway cleanup crews

When I was in college, one of my summer jobs was supervisor for highway cleanup crews. It was quite a difficult job because the weather was so hot and there was very little shade along the expressway. I began to think of ways to give them incentives. I said, "Why don't we start when it's cool out? How about 6 in the morning?"

"6 in the morning?" they shot back. "You must be crazy. What are they teaching you at that fancy school?"

I then went on to explain that they could work much more efficiently during the cool weather, and that I would pay them for 8 hours of work if they could fill 100 bags with garbage in 7 or even 6 hours. Well, you have never seen people work like these young men worked from that point on. By 8:00 in the morning they would have filled more than 200 bags with garbage and cleaned whole stretches of highway.

Those in charge of the program were flabbergasted. They were always saying, "Carson's crews are amazing, but we never see them."

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 71-72 Jan 24, 2012

On Jobs: Unions bad when they focus on power & not future generations

In the early days of the Industrial Age, the advent of unions brought about the kind of collective bargaining that resulted in fair wages and reasonable working conditions. Unfortunately, with time, many of the union bosses began to concern themselves with power and influence. By threatening strikes to further their causes, they were able to exact excessive wages and benefits from companies such as General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, in the long run crippling these companies and rendering them noncompetitive. Essentially they were strangling the goose that laid the golden egg.

One of the themes you may have begun to notice is that those entities that are bad for our nation tend to want what they want now, without thought to how it will affect future generations. If you use that principle as a measuring stick, in most cases you can easily determine which unions and other entities are good and which are deleterious to the prosperity of our nation.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 92-93 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: DIRECT: Deny, Ignore, Resist, Exempt, Conform, Transform

The rebellion of the old Boston Tea Party has many similarities with the new Tea Party political movement. When the Patriots first began to resist, those in power DENIED there was any real resistance from anyone except extremist fringe individuals. But as the protests became more prolific, the powers-that-be decided to IGNORE the movement, but that gave it time to grow. Those in power fought back with more force than necessary; many of the regulations subsequently imposed were a part of this punitive RESISTANCE phase.

At some point, it becomes easier for a ruler to EXEMPT an unruly but powerful subject from punishment than to suffer defeat. As those formerly in power desert, they began CONFORMING to the ideology and actions if their previous enemies. The final phase is the TRANSFORMATION phase, in which the ideology of the resistance movement becomes the mainstream philosophy.

If one were to make an acrostic of the first letters of each of these phases, one gets the word DIRECT.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 20-22 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: Democracy was never intended as a spectator sport

Democracy was never intended as a spectator sport. The founding fathers of America were "the well fed, well bred, well read, and well wed." These men certainly feared having a government that was too big and too powerful, as they had experienced across the ocean.

Could a government's power truly rest in the hands of the people? Could such an experiment really work? By definition, in legislative- and decision-making processes, a democracy requires full participation of all the people. But most people are so involved and preoccupied with daily duties and routines, they have neither the time nor energy to participate.

Although the noble goal of democracy had been tried by other societies, power usually eventually shifted to some central authority and the dream of autonomy died. Therefore, they decided that a republic-type government would be much more efficient, in which elected representatives of the people would make decisions. Also, with a republic there is no limitation on expansion.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 30-31 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: All religions provide beliefs that make us reasonable

As a Christian, I am not the least bit offended by the beliefs of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, and so forth. In fact, I am delighted to know that they believe in something that is more likely to make them into a reasonable human being, as long as they don't allow the religion to be distorted by those seeking power and wealth.

When I was asked to deliver the keynote address at the 1997 Presidential Prayer Breakfast, I contemplated the question, "Are we a Judeo-Christian nation or not?" I spoke about integrity, particularly in public office. I finished the speech with my philosophy for success in life, which includes strong faith in God and my Savior Jesus Christ. Out of the thousands of people at the breakfast, and millions of people who heard the address, I received only one negative response for using the name of Jesus. This tells me that the level of tolerance for religious differences is much greater than the politically correct crowd would have us believe.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 43-44 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: National Day of Prayer is a suggestion, not a requirement

Undoubtedly, there are some in our country who are very uncomfortable with our government recognizing and encouraging prayer. In April 2010, a US district judge ruled that the government-sanctioned National Day of Prayer, established by Congress and supported with a proclamation from the president, is unconstitutional.

I believe the problem arises from misinterpretations of what our founders intended with respect to government & religion. They never wanted to see the government endorse a specific religion, but neither did they want to see faith and religion suppressed. There is nothing at all in our founding documents forbidding or denigrating religious expression in public life. The judge in this case was responding to a lawsuit filed by a group of atheists and agnostics called the Freedom from Religious Foundation. They complained that the government did not have the right to tell them to pray, but perhaps they didn't notice that prayer was not a requirement, but rather a suggestion.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 47-48 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: Naively committed plagiarism in college psychology course

Researching a paper for an advanced psychology course, I found some passages that seemed particularly appropriate, and I included them in my writing. I did not, however, indicate that this was the work of someone else; frankly, I had never even heard of the term "plagiarism."

When the professor asked me to make an appointment to discuss my paper, I was befuddled. When I stepped into his office, he pointed out that I had plagiarized and told me that the consequence for doing so normally included expulsion. I could see all of my dreams of becoming a doctor dashed by my stupidity. Even though I did not know the implications of plagiarism, I certainly should have known inherently that what I was doing was wrong. I had done it before without consequences and probably would have continued doing it if I had not been caught. Fortunately for me, the professor was very compassionate, realized that I was naive, and gave me a chance to rewrite the paper.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 98 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: God granted me a miracle in passing freshman chemistry

[In college] I wasn't doing well in freshman chemistry, which was a prerequisite for medical school. The night before the exam I poured out my heart to God, asking forgiveness for squandering such a wonderful educational opportunity. I asked him to show me what he really wanted me to do with my life, since I obviously wasn't going to get into medical school. Preferably, I asked him to work a miracle.

As I tried futilely to memorize my entire chemistry textbook, I fell asleep and entered a dream: I was the only student in a large auditorium, and a nebulous figure was writing out chemistry problems on the chalkboard. I awakened with the dream vivid in my mind. When I opened the test booklet during the chemistry final exam, I was flabbergasted when I recognized each of the problems in the booklet as one of the problems that the nebulous figure was working out in my dream.

I knew that God had granted me my miracle. I promised God I would become a diligent student and make him proud of me.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.114 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: Raised a Democrat, but became a registered Independent

Growing up in Boston and Detroit, I had political views that largely reflected those of the adults around me. By the time I reached high school, the civil rights movement was in full swing, and the Democratic Party was positioning itself as the champion of civil rights. Like most young black people, I accepted the label of Democrat and endeavored to be part of the struggle.

[By 1976], although I was still a Jimmy Carter Democrat, the speeches of Ronald Reagan appealed to me. Even though I ultimately voted for Jimmy Carter both in 1976 and 1980, my political views were gradually shifting, and by 1984, those views were much more consistent with Ronald Reagan's and those of the Republican Party.

Over the years, I found that no political party really represented my views of fairness, decency, and adherence to the principles set forth by the United States Constitution in 1787. So I became a registered Independent and have remained so until this day.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.155-158 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: Wise voters look at their representatives' voting records

If everyone in the US Senate voted [on] principles and beliefs rather than on the party line, I believe we would all be shocked by how rational and reasonable the bills would be coming out of the congressional chambers. All voters would be wise to look at their representatives' voting records to see if they agree with their views or whether they are always consistent with the party view. If your views and their views coincide the vast majority of the time and the areas where they do not coincide are not deal breakers, then this is likely someone who represents you well. If, on the other hand, you find major disagreements with your point of view, you should do the responsible thing, which is to vote for the person who represents your views regardless of party affiliation. If we all made a concerted effort to do this, I believe we would be delighted with Congress and their actions instead of having a congressional body with an approval rating of less than 20%.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.159-160 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: Tea Partiers & Independents reject spoon-fed biased media

There is perhaps more hope for our country than currently meets the eye. It would seem as if we are hopelessly gridlocked by Democrats and Republicans, each with very different ideas of government and its role in our lives. The ray of hope is found in the fact that there is an ever-increasing number of Independent voters who sometimes vote one way and other times vote another way, and therefore cannot be taken for granted by either party.

There is also the rise of the Tea Party. The very fact that so many people are joining the Tea Party or becoming politically Independent suggests that people are less willing to be spoon-fed by a largely biased media and are thinking for themselves again.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.160-161 Jan 24, 2012

On Principles & Values: For eagle to fly straight, balance left wing & right wing

Some wanted a turkey as our national emblem. The bald eagle was chosen because it symbolizes strength, courage and freedom.

In "The 5000 Year Leap," W. Cleon Skousen writes that the founders had many other symbolic reasons for choosing the eagle. But the reason that impressed me the most is that in order for the eagle to fly straight, its two wings must be balanced. If either the left wing or the right wing is too heavy, the bird will veer off to one side and crash. The liberals represent the left wing and the conservatives represent the right wing. The liberals tend to have lots of great ideas that cost a great deal of money and, if left unchecked, would quickly bankrupt the nation. The conservatives simply want to maintain the status quo and are not very adventurous, and if our nation were left solely to their ideas, stagnation would occur. However, when you balance the right & the left wings evenly, the eagle is able to fly high and straight, and the potential for progress is tremendous

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.188 Jan 24, 2012

On Tax Reform: Nothing in Constitution supports redistributing wealth

In 2010, some felt that anyone with a household income of $250,000 a year or more could certainly afford to pay more taxes, and in fact should do so since the vast majority of the population did not enjoy such affluence. Wealth should be redistributed fairly, they argued.

The Constitution is quite clear that the government has the right to tax in order to support its programs, but there is nothing in the Constitution to support redistribution of wealth. Some proponents of big government get around this by creating many programs and then argue that these have to be supported by taxes. In this way they redistribute wealth according to their agenda. As a society we need to be mature enough to recognize that the wealthy in this nation provide many opportunities for those who are not rich by creating jobs and paying taxes.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 77 Jan 24, 2012

On Tax Reform: Not unpatriotic for rich to take advantage of loopholes

Every citizen of the US should be expected to contribute to its welfare, which requires a fair system of taxation. We currently do not have such a system, because our tax code is so complex that those with good tax attorneys or accountants can find numerous loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Given our country's financial crisis, the creation of a new and fairer tax system is urgently needed. The cries of "tax the rich" in the face of such a hypocritical tax code is, frankly, quite laughable. I do not believe that the rich are unpatriotic because they take advantage of loopholes, but I think we as a nation are smart enough to come up with a system of taxation that eliminates the need for slick accountants and lawyers, and that allows everyone to contribute proportionately to the financial health of the nation--just as God designed for us in the concept of the tithe.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.177 Jan 24, 2012

On Technology: Use computer teaching and virtual classrooms

We have a tremendous amount of technology available to us that can help us quickly close the achievement gap that exists between our children and those in many other advanced nations. One such technology currently being developed is a computer program that analyzes the way a student solves math problems to figure out where there are gaps in that student's knowledge. The computer then tutors the student in his or her area of deficiency until the student is able to solve problems correctly. We should also put a great deal of emphasis on the concept of virtual classrooms. Although the technology is only in its infancy, it will provide the ability to put the very best teachers in the world in front of millions of our children on the same day. It will allow children to virtually explore the pyramids of Egypt, or the Amazon basin, or even the surface of the moon. Not only can we do this, but we must so this in order to remain a potent worldwide leader in this age of information.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 61-62 Jan 24, 2012

On Technology: Respect privacy; don't use info from post-9-11 monitoring

Since 9/11 it has become increasingly important to monitor all suspicious activity in an attempt to prevent another terrorist attack. One of the results of this monitoring has been the discovery of some unsavory habits and characteristics of many otherwise outstanding citizens. To its credit, our government has not disclosed those findings or prosecuted the involved individuals because we still respect the right of all of our citizens to privacy as long as they are not infringing upon the rights of others. I realize that many "holier than thou" conservatives and even some liberals think we should use all gathered information about people they don't care for, to discredit them. If and when this begins to happen, our country will become a nightmare akin to George Orwell's novel "1984". We must jealously guard every American citizen's right to live as they please, again as long as they are not interfering with the rights of other Americans to do the same.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.181-182 Jan 24, 2012

On War & Peace: No right to assume that our way was right for 1960s Vietnam

Though there were always protestors to our wars, few conflicts were considered immoral until the Vietnam War. Many said that stopping communism's spread was a noble goal and fully justified our involvement in this war, but others argued with some validity that we had no right to assume that our way of governing was superior to communism.

During that war in the jungles of Vietnam, we burned villages with napalm and destroyed the lives of many innocent villagers who had nothing to do with the political struggle. The Vietcong forces had the tremendous advantage of knowing both the terrain and the people, which eventually afforded them the victory in the war. Since the Vietnam conflict ended poorly, our nation experienced a period of shame and humiliation for which the military was blamed, and many of the returning veterans were treated with disrespect. The Vietnam Was dampened America's enthusiasm for war, and we experienced one of the longest periods of peace in our nation's history.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.103 Jan 24, 2012

On War & Peace: Morality of war in Iraq was highly debatable

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the enthusiasm for military intervention was tremendous. A war with well-defined & widely accepted goals that ends in victory will virtually always be seen as virtuous. The subsequent war with Iraq years later was much more controversial, especially after WMDs were not found. Whether the war in Iraq was moral or not is highly debatable. If you think stopping a brutal dictator from continuing to kill hundreds of thousands of his own people is worthwhile, then you are more likely to believe that we acted in a morally justifiable manner. If you are more concerned about the over 4,000 American lives that were lost and the hundreds of billions of dollars that were added to our national debt to be passed along to our children, then you're more likely to feel that our efforts were immoral.

The point here is that it is very difficult to determine our nation's morality based on its military conflicts. Then too one can legitimately ask the question, is any war moral?

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.104 Jan 24, 2012

On War & Peace: Better response than post-9-11 invasions: oil independence

After the 9/11 crisis almost everyone united behind President George W. Bush for a reason. Whether America's ensuing steps into war in Afghanistan and Iraq will be seen as positive remains to be seen, but I can't help thinking there may have been a better way to react that would not have cost us so many lives and financial capital. I believe that if the president had seized the moment and declared that we would become petroleum independent within the next 10 years as part of our efforts to strip terrorism of its resources, that business, industry, academia, & everyone else would have been foursquare behind him, and we would have been much further ahead in the fight against terrorism than we are today.

Oil prices would have fallen dramatically in an attempt to soften our resolve, but good leadership would hopefully have recognized and compensated for such a ploy. The point, of course, is that in some cases, clever tactics can be employed outside of military action to respond to hostile actions

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.134 Jan 24, 2012

On War & Peace: Tyranny follows if we disarm nukes & madmen get them

I realize that some feel that the United States and other world powers with nuclear weapons have no right to declare that others cannot have them. On the surface this seems like a fair argument, but can you imagine how many deaths would occur if everyone were given a handgun? Perhaps it would be FAIR to give everyone a handgun, but it certainly would not be WISE. Although I applaud efforts toward nuclear disarmament, I also realize that if no one had nuclear weapons and one of the madmen of the world acquired them, worldwide tyranny would quickly follow. Therefore, we must be careful in pursuing our goals of an idyllic world.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.135 Jan 24, 2012

On Welfare & Poverty: Those who don't want to work? They are on their own

The issue of how to handle able-bodied individuals who simply do not want to work has three practical solutions:
  1. Tell those who don't work that they are on their own.
  2. Take from those who have something and redistribute it to the individuals who aren't working.
  3. Borrow from a 3rd party in order to take care of the nonworking individuals and leave the debt to future generations.
Logically, with solution 1, the individual who isn't working clearly either starves or finds a job. What about solution 2? In this case, those who are forcibly constrained to support the individuals who aren't working eventually lose interest in working themselves, since the fruits of their labors are being confiscated. This, in turn, leads to even more individuals who aren't working. What about solution 3? These investors are unlikely to extend credit indefinitely. Thus solution 1 is the only one that stands the test of logic and is the one upon which we should concentrate.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 88-89 Jan 24, 2012

On Welfare & Poverty: Government entitlements compete with private-sector charity

It is very difficult to travel to any community in our nation and not find charitable organizations specifically created to aid the indigent citizens of that community.

Our government used to fully understand the role of private-sector charitable organizations in ameliorating the plight of the poor. This is why the government offered tax deductions and exemptions for churches and other charitable organizations. Today the government actually competes with many of these private-sector charities while still offering them tax deductions. How does this wasteful duplication benefit government or us, its citizens? Certainly by creating huge government entitlement programs, the size and power of the government increases dramatically. Before long, people generally depend on government for everything from health care and education, to a comfortable retirement, instead of looking to government for the basic protection of life and property, as well as providing public roads and public safety.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 91 Jan 24, 2012

On Welfare & Poverty: Eradicate poverty by providing education and requiring work

The Bible makes it clear that we have a responsibility to be kind to the poor among us. [But] America did not become a great nation by encouraging people to feel sorry for themselves and seek handouts from others

If we really want to eradicate poverty, we should allocate significant resources and personnel toward providing education and opportunity for the poor. And if we are to provide assistance to our able-bodied citizens, it should be attached to a requirement for work or acquisition of education and/or skills.

If they have to work anyway, many people will put real effort into finding the kind of job they want as opposed to collecting unemployment benefits and being assigned to work they consider undesirable. Some conservatives would say that we should leave such people on their own to sink or swim because we cannot afford to keep supporting them, while some liberals would say that these people already have enough problems and that it would be unfair to require anything of them. I reject both

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.176 Jan 24, 2012

The above quotations are from America the Beautiful
Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great

by Ben Carson
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