Following widespread approbation from the right in response to his speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee on March 16th, Johns Hopkins’ Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery Dr. Ben Carson joined Bill Bennett this Monday on Philadelphia’s 990 AM WNTP to talk politics and promote his book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.
“…What are the things that made this nation great that are becoming dimmer if you will? Lincoln has a great phrase about the moral lights going out. What’s getting dimmer?” Bennett queried Carson.
“Well recognize that some people say that we’re not great, and that we’re not exceptional, etc. But you need to understand the history of the world. You know before this country came along for a hundred years, two hundred years, a thousand – two thousand years people did things pretty much the same way: grew your crops, put them on the wagon, took them into town, sold them. Within two hundred years of the advent of America men were walking on the Moon. So obviously there was a sea change here.” Carson said.
“And one of the things that happened is that we established an environment for the first time where you and your family were the direct beneficiaries of your hard work. So people were energized. I’m gonna go out, I don’t care how hard I have to work. And even working – not even for themselves but for their children and for their grandchildren – but they knew that they could establish that. And they knew there wasn’t going to be a whole bunch of government there trying to interfere with them, and to control them, and to tell them what they had to do. So this was important.” Carson elaborated.
“We also had a country where people were people of faith. The number of people of faith fairly substantially exceeded those who were just in things for themselves. And it was that sense of ‘yes I am my brother’s keeper’. We did take care of the injured; we did take care of the indigent. Those people were never in danger in this country. And even the extraordinarily wealthy people in our nation – the Carnegies, the Mellons, the Kelloggs, the Fords, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts – they built universities and charitable foundations but more importantly they took their wealth and built the infrastructure of our nation. And they built up factories and textile mills.” Carson argued.
“Now this is not to say that they were saints. Of course they were not saints. Of course they may have exploited some people and done some things, which is the nature of man throughout the history of the world. But if you sit there and you always concentrate on what bad things happen I don’t think you are going to ever be a happy person and you’re never going to make any progress.” he added.
Later in the interview Bennett asked, “So these beliefs that we had and this change and this American uniqueness that you talk about in your book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, how did it get dim? What dimmed the lights here? Who did that or what did that?”
“Well I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we the people have fallen asleep at the switch. We’re the ones who are supposed to elect people to represent us,” Carson answered, citing the incongruence of the American public’s disapproval with Congress and its propensity to return politicians to national office.
“Now what does that say about us? It says we’re not paying attention. We go into that voting booth and we look for the name that looks familiar. And that’s not a good way to do things: when you see some of the segments on television, Jessie Watters [of the O’Reilly Factor] and Jay Leno Show, when they’re out interviewing people and some of the answers that people give. I mean, it’s just unbelievable that people don’t know basic information.” Carson maintained.
“But that sounds to me, now you’re coming down my alley here and this is my neighborhood, more like an education issue…I’ve tracked this, I think I know this, that American history – not reading and math – but American history is our worst subject by far. We don’t know the story. They don’t know the story you’re telling in your book America the Beautiful.” Bennett insisted.
“Absolutely, and our Founders said our system of government is based on a well-informed and intelligent people, educated people, and if we ever become something different than that we will have a different country. They knew what they were talking about because when you’re not well-informed it’s very easy for the media, it’s very easy for slick politicians, to grab you by the nose ring and just lead you wherever they want you to go.” Carson replied.
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