GOP and the Rise of Anti-Knowledge

Ben Carson’s rise to the top of the Republican presidential field shows that many Republicans, especially Christian fundamentalists, have decoupled from the real world — and are proud of it. The more that GOP candidates embrace “anti-knowledge” the more popular they become, as Mike Lofgren explains.

By Mike Lofgren

In the realm of physics, the opposite of matter is not nothingness, but antimatter. In the realm of practical epistemology, the opposite of knowledge is not ignorance but anti-knowledge. This seldom recognized fact is one of the prime forces behind the decay of political and civic culture in America.

Some common-sense philosophers have observed this point over the years. “Genuine ignorance is . . . profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas,” observed psychologist John Dewey.

Ben Carson, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who opposed a Muslim being elected president.

Ben Carson, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who opposed a Muslim being elected president.

Or, as humorist Josh Billings put it, “The trouble with people is not that they don’t know, but that they know so much that ain’t so.”

Fifty years ago, if a person did not know who the prime minister of Great Britain was, what the conflict in Vietnam was about, or the barest rudiments of how a nuclear reaction worked, he would shrug his shoulders and move on. And if he didn’t bother to know those things, he was in all likelihood politically apathetic and confined his passionate arguing to topics like sports or the attributes of the opposite sex.

There were exceptions, like the Birchers’ theory that fluoridation was a monstrous communist conspiracy, but they were mostly confined to the fringes. Certainly, political candidates with national aspirations steered clear of such balderdash.

At present, however, a person can be blissfully ignorant of how to locate Kenya on a map, but know to a metaphysical certitude that Barack Obama was born there, because he learned it from Fox News. Likewise, he can be unable to differentiate a species from a phylum but be confident from viewing the 700 Club that evolution is “politically correct” hooey and that the earth is 6,000 years old.

And he may never have read the Constitution and have no clue about the Commerce Clause, but believe with an angry righteousness that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

This brings us inevitably to celebrity presidential candidate Ben Carson. The man is anti-knowledge incarnated, a walking compendium of every imbecility ever uttered during the last three decades. Obamacare is worse than chattel slavery. Women who have abortions are like slave owners. If Jews had firearms they could have stopped the Holocaust (author’s note: they obtained at least some weapons during the Warsaw Ghetto rising, and no, it didn’t). Victims of a mass shooting in Oregon enabled their own deaths by their behavior. And so on, ad nauseam.

It is highly revealing that, according to a Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll of likely Republican caucus attendees, the stolid Iowa burghers liked Carson all the more for such moronic utterances. And sure enough, the New York Times tells us that Carson has pulled ahead of Donald Trump in a national poll of Republican voters. Apparently, Trump was just not crazy enough for their tastes.

Why the Ignorance?

Journalist Michael Tomasky has attempted to answer the question as to what Ben Carson’s popularity tells us about the American people after making a detour into asking a question about the man himself: why is an accomplished neurosurgeon such a nincompoop in another field? “Because usually, if a man (or woman) is a good and knowledgeable and sure-footed doctor, or lawyer or department chair or any other position that could have been attained only through repeated displays of excellence and probity, then that person will also be a pretty solid human being across the board.”

Well, not necessarily. English unfortunately doesn’t have a precise word for the German “Fachidiot,” a narrowly specialized person accomplished in his own field but a blithering idiot outside it. In any case, a surgeon is basically a skilled auto mechanic who is not bothered by the sight of blood and palpitating organs (and an owner of a high-dollar ride like a Porsche knows that a specialized mechanic commands labor rates roughly comparable to a doctor).

We need the surgeon’s skills on pain of agonizing death, and reward him commensurately, but that does not make him a Voltaire. Still, it makes one wonder: if Carson the surgeon believes evolution is a hoax, where does he think the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that plague hospitals come from?

Tomasky expresses astonishment that Carson’s jaw-dropping comments make him more popular among Republican voters, but he concludes without fully answering the question he posed. It is an important question: what has happened to the American people, or at least a significant portion of them?

Anti-knowledge is a subset of anti-intellectualism, and as Richard Hofstadter has pointed out, anti-intellectualism has been a recurrent feature in American life, generally rising and receding in synchronism with fundamentalist revivalism.

The current wave, which now threatens to swamp our political culture, began in a similar fashion with the rise to prominence in the 1970s of fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. But to a far greater degree than previous outbreaks, fundamentalism has merged its personnel, its policies, its tactics and its fate with a major American political party, the Republicans.

An Infrastructure of Know-Nothing-ism

Buttressing this merger is a vast support structure of media, foundations, pressure groups and even a thriving cottage industry of fake historians and phony scientists. From Fox News to the Discovery Institute (which exists solely to “disprove” evolution), and from the Heritage Foundation (which propagandizes that tax cuts increase revenue despite massive empirical evidence to the contrary) to bogus “historians” like David Barton (who confected a fraudulent biography of a piously devout Thomas Jefferson that had to be withdrawn by the publisher), the anti-knowledge crowd has created an immense ecosystem of political disinformation.

Thanks to publishing houses like Regnery and the conservative boutique imprints of more respectable houses like Simon & Schuster (a division of CBS), America has been flooded with cut-and-paste rants by Michelle Malkin and Mark Levin, Parson Weems-style ghosted biographies allegedly by Bill O’Reilly, and the inimitable stream of consciousness hallucinating of Glenn Beck.

Whether retail customers actually buy all these screeds, or whether foundations and rich conservative donors buy them in bulk and give them out as door prizes at right-wing clambakes, anti-knowledge infects the political bloodstream in the United States.

Thanks to these overlapping and mutually reinforcing segments of the right-wing media-entertainment-“educational” complex, it is now possible for the true believer to sail on an ocean of political, historical, and scientific disinformation without ever sighting the dry land of empirical fact. This effect is fortified by the substantial overlap between conservative Republicans and fundamentalist Christians.

The latter group begins with the core belief that truth is revealed in a subjective process involving the will to believe (“faith”) rather than discovered by objectively corroberable means. Likewise, there is a baseline opposition to the prevailing secular culture, and adherents are frequently warned by church authority figures against succumbing to the snares and temptations of “the world.” Consequently, they retreat into the echo chamber of their own counterculture: if they didn’t hear it on Fox News or from a televangelist, it never happened.

For these culture warriors, belief in demonstrably false propositions is no longer a stigma of ignorance, but a defiantly worn badge of political resistance.

We saw this mindset on display during the Republican debate in Boulder, Colorado, on Wednesday night. Even though it was moderated by Wall Street-friendly CNBC, which exists solely to talk up the stock market, the candidates were uniformly upset that the moderators would presume to ask difficult questions of people aspiring to be president. They were clearly outside their comfort zone of the Fox News studio.

The candidates drew cheers from the hard-core believers in the audience, however, by attacking the media, as if moderators Lawrence Kudlow and Rick Santelli, both notorious shills for Wall Street, were I.F. Stone and Noam Chomsky. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus nearly had an aneurism over the candidates’ alleged harsh treatment.

State-Sponsored Stupidity

It is when these forces of anti-knowledge seize the power of government that the real damage gets done. Under Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia government harassed with subpoenas a University of Virginia professor whose academic views contradicted Cuccinelli’s political agenda.

Numerous states like Louisiana now mandate that public schools teach the wholly imaginary “controversy” about evolution. A school textbook in Texas, whose state school board has long been infested with reactionary kooks, referred to chattel slaves as “workers”  (the implication was obvious: neo-Confederate elements in the South have been trying to minimize slavery for a century and a half, to the point of insinuating it had nothing to do with the Civil War).

This brings us back to Ben Carson. He now suggests that, rather than abolishing the Department of Education, a perennial Republican goal, the department should be used to investigate professors who say something he doesn’t agree with. The mechanism to bring these heretics to the government’s attention should be denunciations from students, a technique once in vogue in the old Soviet Union.

It is not surprising that Carson, himself a Seventh Day Adventist, should receive his core support from Republicans who identify as fundamentalists. Among the rest of the GOP pack, it is noteworthy that it is precisely those seeking the fundamentalist vote, like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who are also notorious for making inflammatory and unhinged comments that sound like little more than deliberate trolling to those who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid (Donald Trump is sui generis).

In all probability, Carson will flame out like Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and all the other former panjandrums of a theological movement conservatism that revels in anti-knowledge. But he will have left his mark, as they did, on a Republican Party that inexorably moves further to the right, and the eventual nominee will have to tailor his campaign to a base that gets ever more intransigent as each new messiah of the month promises to lead them into a New Jerusalem unmoored to a stubborn and profane thing called facts.

Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback in August 2013. His new book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, will be published in January 2016.

image_pdfimage_print

69 comments for “GOP and the Rise of Anti-Knowledge

  1. Rob of Arc
    October 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I would like to think that, should Carson, win the nomination, his ‘fundamentalism’ will tip independents/libertarians in the other direction. It’s the middle that decides elections now since the left-right polls are entrenched. I’m leaning towards Bernie at the moment. Clinton makes me very uncomfortable ethically.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    October 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Somewhere in the afterlife Lee Atwater, and Justice Lewis Powell, must be gratified seeing how much they messed up their beloved Republican Party. Which, leaves me to question, why does Jeb Bush feel he is owed a seat in the Oval Office? His father was voted out of office, after only having served four years. His older brother, besides protecting America (sarcasm here), got America into so many terrible jams, that one could accuse him of putting the Democrates in control of congress, back in 2006. W’s presidency was so bad, that he created the wave of popularity which put Barak Obama into the White House. So, why is Jeb even up on that stage? It must be, because he is simply a Bush. Kind of like, Hillary deserves the office of U.S. President, because she is definitely a Clinton. The rest of the characters the Republicans are running, are without a doubt, professional politicial morons. If you don’t belief me with my statement, well then do a rewind, and take another listen to the CNBC debate, and then get back to me.

    • Mortimer
      October 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      I’m with you on the audacity of the Jeb Bush candidacy, Joe – but for a separate reason.
      If there was true justice in the nation, Jeb would not qualify to run for the highest office.
      This is based on the egregiously illegal tactics he employed and/or approved as Florida governor fifteen years ago. (a national amnesia?)

      The fact that he’s on stage with the rest of those clowns (Kasich excluded) reveals the frightening depth of unconsciousness thriving in the American populous/electorate.

      The fawning over Ben Carson can be nothing but Disturbing — who are these people supporting him but some aspect of the inhabitants of M Night Shyamalan’s film The Village.??
      What kind of fools have we collectively become! – Or perhaps the the question is, Who’s doing (manipulating) the polling???
      Koch brothers? Murdoch/Fox news? US Commerce Dept? Evangelical assoCIAtions of America? The Manhattan Foundation? CPB, NPR? or The Yahtzee Corporation???

      With Hillary on the other side, who, what, where why & how do we have ANYONE to vote for?
      Let’s just roll the dice or spin around and pin the tail on a jackass… .

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 29, 2015 at 4:57 pm

        You know Mortimer, my mother hated politics, and I will tell you why. My grandfather would rent his basement out to the polling booths, on election day. Back in the late twenties, and into the thirties my mother would sit on their second floor front porch, and watch as the politico’s would pull up in their big cars on election day morning. Then these ward committee men (& at that time they were all men) would descent upon my uncle’s salon. which was five doors away. My mom said, how disgusting it was to watch as some drunk would come out of the bar wearing his Democrat campaign button, and then go into her basement and vote. Later, the same drunk, would come back out of the salon, only this time he was wearing a Republican button. This went on all day, and the many drunk easily swayed voters my uncle’s salon produced, was incredible in and of itself, as my mother had put it. Why, I’m telling you this, is because for a long time, maybe since voting began, the politician’s have rigged more than one election, by appealing to the lowest class of voter they can fine. With that being said let’s travel back to our modern times.

        Lee Atwater, and Carl Rove have made an art out of their craving for the uninformed, and for the lack of a better description, stupid voter to gather the necessary votes they need to get their candidate into office. So, with that, we now have such people as we now get, when trying to make this experiment of ours in democracy work. Just like Hillary, the Republicans were not suppose to have a candidate list which would impede Jeb’s chance to get into the White House. For poor old Jeb, it isn’t working out the way it was suppose to work out, not at all. Maybe, we can thank the Donald for that, I’m not sure, but something has gone seriously wrong with this Republican campaign this time, in deed. I do believe that the Atwater/Rove strategy has definitely backfired on the established Republicans this year, for sure. It serves them right, since the Bush’s groomed the crazies ever so well, that they have created their own kind of Frankenstein, and now they don’t know how to deal with it. Then again this is the country that arms and aids terrorist to do their fighting, then get all in a fuss when something goes wrong….like let’s say what happened in Benghazi, is proof of that. Did you ever hear the saying, ‘to smart for their own good”, well it applies to this situation without a doubt.

        Appreciate your comments Mortimer, you always bring something to the table worth thinking about.

      • October 29, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        The fact that he’s on stage with the rest of those clowns (Kasich excluded) reveals the frightening depth of unconsciousness thriving in the American populous/electorate.

        Kasich is a clown too. Just look at his actual record. Also, too, Kasich used to be the vacation fill-in for BillO the Clown(aka Bill O’Reilly) before he ran for Governor.

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm

          If we accept the fact that Kasich isn’t the sensible one, then that would make it that all the Republican candidates are crazy. Can we do that?

      • Bob quigley
        November 8, 2015 at 11:37 am

        Kasich is a snake in the woodpile. He invokes the will of God as reasoning behind many of his decisions. Was an original soldier in the root cause for so many issues we face “Reagan Revolution”. After many years in government being paid by public funds he took a high level job with Lehman Brothers with no apparent skills that would justify the position. During his time there Ohio moved millions in state funds to Lehman. After the collapse of the economy Fox put him on the payroll again with no apparent skill set that would justify the position. His speech style is often inconsistent and deeply patriarchal. At a recent rally he proposed that social security would be cut significantly under his presidency. The audience booed and his reply was you will just have to get used to it. He has signed every draconian abortion law the right wing Ohio legislature has passed. He will sign their newest which requires a woman to deliver a down syndrome regardless of how many weeks she is pregnant. His obscene budgets shifted taxes away from the state to local government leading to severe cutbacks in education safety and social services. He opposed the rescue of the auto industry. Ohio is heavily dependent on this segment. When it recovered due to the federal governments correct decision to bail out the business he was eager to attend new plant openings and crow about his support. Just listen to him for awhile he reminds you of Peter sellers in Being There

    • Jim VanCise
      October 29, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      I find it an illumination of an existing Napoleon Complex that Jeb would even consider it possible that he (or a Cheney or Rumsfeld Relative) would ever be elected to office at any future time. Stunning, actually.

    • dinunley@comcast.net
      November 2, 2015 at 12:56 am

      Joe, aside from the fact that the CNBC debate was a complete joke, not from comments of the candidates, but the questions asked by the moderators, it is difficult to “belief” someone who cannot spell believe. And, if you are a “Democrate”, you have obviously formed your own political party. “Barak” Obama…really?? This is “anti-knowledge” at its finest!

      • Denise
        November 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm

        Not necessarily, dinunley. I know a number of very intelligent people who don’t spell well for whatever reason. It’s more anti-spell corrector than anti-knowledge.

    • Chris
      November 7, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Your comments regarding congressional majority displays a bit of anti knowledge in itself, G W Bush was hardly the first President to lose Congress, Bill Clinton did as well, there were many others, including Obama.

  3. Steve Naidamast
    October 29, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Well, not necessarily. English unfortunately doesn’t have a precise word for the German “Fachidiot,”

    Actually, this is not quite correct. In English, such people are known as “idiot savants”…

    • Frederick J. Calabrese
      October 29, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      An idiot savant is different than a “Fachidiot.” An idiot savant has an actual mental disability.

      • Rob Johnson
        October 29, 2015 at 8:33 pm

        And Carson is but one diagnosis away.

  4. Drew Hunkins
    October 29, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    It’s too easy to pick on the GOP.

    The real problem in this country has been the sell-out and supine DLC Democrat types; Hillary fits this mold perfectly of course. The handful of progressive populist Dems are good people and are not who I’ m referring to here.

    The GOP has essentially always been a trainwreck, we can let them sit in the corner of the yard and howl at the moon. It’s the mealy-mouthed bourgeois liberals who wouldn’t know a genuine class analysis if it hit em upside the head with a waffle-iron who are destroying the nation and got us mired in dead-end identity politics over the last 40 years.

    • Diane Nunley
      November 2, 2015 at 1:11 am

      Drew Hunkins, you make more sense than any of the other “knowledgable” folks in this thread.

    • Sendero Santos
      November 2, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      I agree completely. Sadly most Exploited Class Americans do not understand a class analysis anymore than does a bourgeois NeoLiberal PolitiWog. This a failure on the part of Marxist to bravely expound upon the old man’s insights unto those who have never 👂 such blasphemy before.

  5. F. G. Sanford
    October 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    The elusive word that comes to my mind is one that is no longer in vogue: idiot savant. About thirty years ago, I attended a conference in Bethesda, Maryland. It had nothing to do with neurosurgery per se, but the topic did marginally touch upon neuropathy. During this conference, I noted what seemed a rather bizarre and inexplicable recurrent phenomenon. The speakers, many of whom were in some way connected to Johns Hopkins, kept making references to some young “genius” neurosurgeon named Ben Carson. At the time, I had no idea who this guy was. But the concerted effort to insure compliance with the universal truth of this man’s unassailable status as the worlds greatest neurosurgeon became very annoying. I had the feeling that I would have to sign a personal statement of loyalty to the “Ben Carson is a genius” club before collecting my continuing education certificate. Needless to say, the only thing those efforts inspired in my skeptical mind was a sense of outright suspicion. To my mind, Ben Carson was a “product”, but I couldn’t fathom what that product was. Since then, I have read opinions which contradict those floridly exuberant anthems professing his superhuman skill. Not being a neurosurgeon, I have no idea whether they represent professional jealousy, politically motivated badmouthing or legitimate objective critique. As with all fact-free millennial movements, the subscribers often succumb to their own delusional fantasies. David Koresh and the “Branch Davidians”, Marshall Applewhite and “Heaven’s Gate”, Jim Jones and the “Peoples’ Temple”, Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, etc. etc. etc. These movements, thankfully, appear to trend inexorably toward their own destruction, though the process may at times be painfully slow. Unfortunately, they do great harm along the way. Those of us who subscribe to empirical science may take some comfort in knowing that, if humanity is to survive, natural selection will eventually eliminate these individuals from the gene pool…unless one of them should first be elected to high office and have access to nuclear weapons…

    • Rob of Arc
      October 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      I do think that some people in the medical field (not all) are more sociopathic / autism spectrum. It takes a particular kind of person, often mechanically brilliant, to hack through flesh & organs. With Carson, I’ve no idea as I’ve only just started to become aware of him. But I don’t support many of the positions I’ve read as being attributed to him. Religious discrimination included.

      • Abbybwood
        October 29, 2015 at 8:05 pm

        Carson isn’t thinking straight on the issue of marijuana and the “War on Drugs”.

        He claims to be a Christian, yet will he deny God’s word in Genesis 1:29?:

        https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-1-29/

        It does not say, “Every herb bearing seed….except for cannabis sativa.”

        God made (if one so believes in a Higher Power) the cannabis sativa seed and it is freakin’ amazing what happens when you put one in the Earth and give it full sun and water! It can grow into a giant bush the size of a huge Christmas tree and if female, will produce incredible buds that can be used to create a medicinal tincture that has been proven to be effective against migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, reducing intraocular pressure, anti-seizure, anti-nausea etc. Plus it has a pleasant side-effect of getting one high. AND it reproduces lots and lots of seeds just as Genesis describes! Marijuana is the ultimate herb bearing seed.

        Other strains of the plant can be used to make hemp rope, clothing, paper, oils and hundreds of other products. Some of the finest linens in the world have been made from hemp. Yet American farmers are STILL forbidden from growing hemp for industrial products (with a few exceptions in some states).

        And interestingly, there is a receptor in our brains that THC fits into perfectly. “Dr.” Carson should know this. This suggests man was created to use the THC, otherwise it would instantly make us ill or cause death if ingested. I do not believe one person in history has ever died from O.D.ing on pot.

        Yet he has vowed to step up the War on Drugs and the war on victimless drug crimes:

        http://www.govexec.com/management/2015/10/ben-carson-wants-intensify-war-drugs/123098/

        Not only is he not standing up for the Word of God (Genesis 1:29), but he is in denial about the usefulness of marijuana as a potent medicine. He has his head in the sand regarding the massive failure that is the War on Drugs and he is solidly out of step with the American people on the issue.

        Let the Republicans nominate him if they absolutely want to lose the election.

    • Dick
      October 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Comparing any presidential candidate to idiot-savants is the equivalent to comparing someone to Hitler. The problem on all sides is the demonization of anyone who disagrees with your point of view. We would all benefit from civil discourse with the aim of finding solutions.

      People are different. If we cannot live under the same tent, separate tribes will evolve. Then it is a fight to the death. You are either with us or against us. Sunnis and Shiiites.

      • F. G. Sanford
        October 30, 2015 at 6:13 am

        Your comment stems from the false equivalence strategy so often employed by right-wing lunatics. It conflates “points of view” with delusional psychotic fantasies and insists that they deserve equal merit, because after all, everyone is entitled to their “opinion”. I wonder, would you have objected to calling Schicklgruber a “Hitler”? After all, he did have a “point of view”. Political correctness may be the appropriate way to deal with your mother-in-law, but it is clear that your agenda has nothing to do with being “reasonable”. Stupidity isn’t a “point of view”, and willful ignorance isn’t an “opinion”. Ben Carson has a clear and irrefutable cognitive deficiency. It might not be polite to call him an idiot at a wedding or a funeral, but when idiots are cast upon the national stage and begin steering the national dialogue based on the infantile delusions of crackpot fanatics, it’s time to dispense with phony social protocols. Hitler was a Hitler, Stalin was a Stalin, and Ben Carson is what he is.

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 30, 2015 at 9:59 am

          Heil, heir F.G., then whom may we call Hitler? If Obama sighs that America has too much gun violence, is he not a Hitler? If Putin accepts Crimea back into it’s motherland, is this shirtless Russky not being a Hilter? If the big boss in home office requires we all work one Saturday a month, is not evil boss a Hilter? Lastly, if visiting big mouth mother-in-law complains that leaking pipe under guest bathroom sink needs tighten, then certainly without a doubt, is she not a Hitler? She is a Hitler heir F.G., no? Surely, heir F.G. these meanies are no-good-nicks, and they must be called a Hitler. What did we call ball busters before there was no Hitler? I’m so confused, heir F.G., I’m scared, no Hitler….what next, no Darth Vader?

      • Don Mousted
        October 30, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        Thank you for a sensible comment on this subject. If we continue to rail against the opposition instead of listening and adapting our viewpoints to find the best solution for the most people, we’re doomed to the kind of tripe we are currently exposed to from both sides. I’ve often been amazed over the years how the opposition (whomever it happens to be) supposedly says or does nothing that has any merit, even when it is obvious that intelligent, thoughtful people exist everywhere. Shutting out the views and ideas of the opposition, and defaming those who are “different” has always led to the horrible consequences of hatred and prejudice.

        • UncleStu
          October 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm

          “we’re doomed to the kind of tripe we are currently exposed to from both sides”

          I see no need for any honest person to buy in to the false equivalence – both sides do it – nonsense.

          It is simply not true.

          “Shutting out the views and ideas of the opposition, and defaming those who are “different” has always led to the horrible consequences of hatred and prejudice.”

          Only – ONLY – the Republican Party made that an – integral part – of their strategy, tactics and identity.

          So stop with your false equivalence nonsense.

    • Abe
      October 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      SAVANT (noun)

      1) a person of profound or extensive learning

      2) a person who does not have normal intelligence but who has very unusual mental abilities that other people do not have

      IDIOT (noun)

      1) Informal. an utterly foolish or senseless person

      2) Psychology. (no longer in technical use; considered offensive) a person of the lowest order in a former and discarded classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25

      IDIOT SAVANT (noun)

      1) a person affected with a mental disability (as autism or mental retardation) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (as mathematics or music) —called also savant

      2) a person who is highly knowledgeable about one subject but knows little about anything else

      We can agree forgo all the nouns, particularly the “genius” epithet overused for Ben Carson (and Kanye West), and use the appropriate adjective to accurately describe the political views of Carson and his GOP homies:

      IDIOTIC

      1) of, relating to, or characteristic of an idiot

      2) senselessly foolish or stupid

  6. Horus
    October 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Evangelicalism has be “weaponized” by the Establishment, its spread Zionism and American Fascism to the people of this world.

  7. dahoit
    October 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    First of all,a week after it comes out he attacked his mother(or was going to?)with a hammer,his poll numbers go up?Nah.Nah.Double nah.Just the Lying Times stirring their witches pot( it says HRC on the outside),they hate Trump as he might not be controllable.He might not genuflect to the wackos.This idoit(sic)Carson just illustrates the New America,where morons are brain surgeons.
    And this authors opinions aren’t reality either,just his own,and Tomasky,that Zionist crumbbun?sheesh,how many publications went south under him?His opinion leaves me cold,even if it might have some credence,at times.
    7th day adventists?WTF?Oh,yeah,we got the ticket to nirvana!Just us!Jumping Jehovah Witlesses!

    • WG
      October 29, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      I know one thing for sure, the only brain surgeon operating on me is going to be an atheist. The atheist won’t think his failure is a blessing for me!

  8. billyjoe
    October 29, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Though no particular of Mr. Carson, nonetheless, please remind me to maintain a wide berth in the future from Mr. Lofgren’s shallow and presumptive sophistry.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 29, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      …shallow and presumptive sophistry.

      Wish you’d been more specific with your criticism. Frankly, I don’t know how much differently he could have described the arrogant ignorance of Carson.

      I’ve been saying for two years that Hillary can’t be elected, but I’m hard at work rethinking that one. If the horrible woman runs against the likes of Ben Carson, we’re going to have the first female POTUS in the White House. Also, the first 100% neocon-in-bed-with-Israel president of the United States.

      Hillary is a walking/talking disaster. But if the Powers That Be could get the crash-test dummy George Walker Bush into stealing distance of the White House, HRC will be a cakewalk for them by comparison. Especially if Carson, Huckabee, or Cruz are on the other ticket. I’m starting to include Rubio in that bunch as well.

      I do not want a President Hillary, so it’s time for Sanders to make a real move or for some sane & electable Republican to enter from Stage Left.

      • John
        October 30, 2015 at 4:34 am

        “I do not want a President Hillary, so it’s time for Sanders to make a real move or for some sane & electable Republican to enter from Stage Left.” Wow! You have really drunk heavily of the Kool-Aid. It should be pretty obvious by now that there is no “sane” republican candidate. But you appear to have bought the “anyone but Hillary” lies. She is “establishment”? Yes, she represents a part of the establishment. So what? There is no way to get around the fact that any successful candidate will be related to the so-called “establishment”, whatever that means. I do not support Sanders because he does not have a plan outside of having “millions” of people man the barricades and somehow “change the system.” GROW UP!

        • John B
          October 30, 2015 at 6:48 am

          Therefore we must accept the unacceptable? Realpolitik is hardly grounds for insulting an idealist who may be more realistic in practice than yourself.

          Hillary is a dangerous fake liberal, unable to see the dangerous path of militaristic bullying the US has taken since WWI, who has apparently bought into the anti-human pro-money ideology/propaganda of DC. Advocacy of such persons is not realism.

  9. JWalters
    October 29, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    This is an important article. It points to the vast information infrastructure the oligarchy has constructed to deceive Americans. It also highlights the oligarchy’s strategic focus on the most under-educated and ignorant to fan the flames of anger and hatred. It’s no coincidence that Wall Street plays such a central role in this. Very few people would vote for Wall Street’s true agenda.

    Down deep, people lie because they are afraid. They feel they are constrained by circumstances in some way, and have “no choice”. Even most reporters today are afraid to tell the truth about the oligarchy. They saw Dan Rather get dumped for reporting on Bush’s National Guard service, and realized if Rather could be dumped so fast, so could they.

    Thankfully for civilization we have places like Consortium News. I’d also recommend http://mondoweiss.net as a collection of courageous voices against the Big Money war profiteers.

  10. Abe
    October 29, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    an African-American neurosurgeon who became an icon to African-Americans, then built his political fame on the white Christian book-and-conference circuit. How can the GOP be castigated as the party of white people (in fact, nine of 10 2012 Republican voters were white) when one of its top two contenders is black?

    But the modern GOP has always been happy to showcase a few prominent black conservatives. It used to be former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who recently admitted he stays in the increasingly right-wing party “because it annoys them.”

    And Carson has supplied conservative whites with validation for their blinkered ideas about black people: that disproportionate African-American poverty is simply a matter of not working hard enough, combined with Democrats’ giving them what Jeb Bush inelegantly labeled “free stuff.” Of course Carson’s stance is just as ironic as the scion of wealth and power Bush’s preaching about “earned opportunity.” The man who grew up on welfare now crusades against it

    Ben Carson Just Keeps Getting More Awful. Why?
    By Joan Walsh
    https://www.thenation.com/article/ben-carson-just-keeps-getting-more-awful-why/

  11. Thomas
    October 29, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Mr. Lofgren, I enjoyed the article. Also the mostly thoughtful responses to it.

    I simply wanted you to know that there is a name for that which you call “anti-knowledge.” The formal study of it is called agnotology. Robert Proctor has written about it at some length and has a pretty good handle on how it fits into the whole of what we are seeing.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/09/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20140307

  12. bo
    October 29, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    It takes an extraordinary level of hubris to call a renowned neurosurgeon a dummy!

    • Ray
      October 30, 2015 at 12:52 am

      1) There is no reason to suppose that a neurosurgeon knows anything at all out side their specialized domain.

      2) Being renowned is certainly no evidence of being at all knowledgeable or clear thinking. It is often directly related to a certain myopia.

      3) No one except you said Carson was a dummy.

      However, based on how many logical and factual errors you can commit in a single sentence, I do have my doubts about you.

  13. Evangelista
    October 29, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I do not have a thoughtful comment to offer, I just have time on my hands, so I will offer the following, as an admission, or a confession:

    I like Ben Carson because he makes Donald Trump try harder.

    And I like Donald Trump because he makes Ben Carson look good.

    Ben Carson looks a little like Barack Obama. He is also a surgeon, which is not that different from Barack Obama being a Constitutional Scholar: Both cut to ribbons and then try to sew back together to ‘cure’ what they see, or are told, is wrong.

    Donald Trump looks somewhat like Joe Biden. He is also an extemporaneous speaker, as Joe Biden is, and has a similar talent for saying the less usual, if not the unusual.

    If you are following my logic here you will syllogize with me to my ‘therefore’ clause, that in Ben Carson and Donald Trump we have a President and Vice-President pair, but Republican.

    I imagine you can also recognize with me that Republican voters would not go for a ticket that looks copy-cat of what the Democrats ran the last two times.

    It is for this, not for any racial stereotyping that I suggest that Donald Trump be run in the Top-Spot and Ben Carson be given the Side-Kick Slot. It’s the only way a Republican ticket will have a shoo-in chance.

    As for why we should all pray to Diebold for their Black-Box controller-angels to push our votes to put Don and Ben in the Offal Ovice:

    Do you realize that it has not been since Herbert Hoover that America has had a Republican President in the White House when the Economy Crashed?

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 29, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Evangelista, while reading your comment here, I had a nagging idea. Why, not market your characters, ‘the Donald & Doctor Ben’, along with ‘the Barak & Uncle Joe’, as sock puppets. Little cute sock puppets, for kids of all ages, that fit on your hand. Imagine playing with them. These little buddy hand puppets go everywhere together, and that’s because you can take them there. People won’t be able to get over what delight they will have, when playing with these little guys, who fit so comfortably on your hand There is no end to the adventures that await you, so get then now, while supplies last.

      Disclaimer; sock puppets may cause irritation of the skin, sleeping with sock puppets may effect your spinal column alignment if you roll over on one while sleeping, you may start world war three, you could drive up the deficit spending, you may do something in a huge way, you may think cavemen rode dinosaurs, ah you may do anything stupid since sock puppets can’t think for themselves…..more little print for liability purposes, add as needed.

      • Evangelista
        October 29, 2015 at 10:50 pm

        After the elections, Joe, if we go for it before someone will run our socks in a third party and confuse the electorate…

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 29, 2015 at 11:57 pm

          Evangelista, your comments are setting off fireworks in my head. Due to the importance of getting America an intelligent government leadership, we should run your sock puppets in the real general election. Waiting until after the elections would only deprive good Americans the chance to have real genuine leaders to lead them. Why, neglect the leadership starved Americans of finally getting the government they deserve, besides comparing the puppets to what we already have, how much worst could your sock puppets be? Sorry, I just can’t get over possibly seeing Miss Piggy get a cabinet appointment. Maybe Kermit the Frog could be Secretary of Defense. It’s endless, to how good it could get….go now, and get this thing up and running. America needs you!

          I have to go now, I’m crying to much too continue.

          • Evangelista
            October 30, 2015 at 8:13 pm

            You are right, Joe. I awoke in the middle of the night thinking, ‘What was I thinking?’ [meaning ‘What was I thinking?’ was what I awoke thinking; as near as I am to Alzhemers-age I have to be careful how I say these things].

            Yes, we need to sock-puppet the candidates! All of them! And get sock-puppets elected! It is the only way we can hope to bring our politicians back up to world-par in political rspectability.

            I am sure it will do that, because with an all-sock-puppets administration when foreign leaders are invited to confer with the United States President at the Whitehouse then it will be like guest-starring on Sesame-Street for them.

            Can you imagine it? President Trump borrowing Credibility from Kermit the Frog! Hilary Clinton with the respecabiliity of Big Bird! Ben Carson a Bert or Ernie with surgical skills. Not even the our Mr. Lavrov would be able to keep a straight face. President Putin would be, for once, off balance. American prestige would skyrocket around the world. For the first time ever people might want to see an American Presidency go into re-runs!

            Maybe we can finance the show by changing campaign financing to a common-pot system…we can call it a ‘single-sock’ system, where all campaign contributions, from all sources, in all amounts, go into a single sock, and then are distributed out evenly, a third or a half to all candidates of any color, pattern, weight or weave, in the primary, then the balance to the serious candidates who have not washed out or got lost in the dryer, and so made the primary grade, again spread evenly, so all have equal financial ability to present their messages. No problem for Citizen United, corporations can contribute as many billions as they want, it all goes into the single-sock and is fairly divvied out. Any PACs or special interests can also contribute, but, again, all into the single-sock: The purpose of campaigning is, after all, to provide information to the people, so how will any be able to object to equalizing opportunity for all with a message and serious interest in pursuing a candidacy to get their messages equally into the ring, or out on the airwaves [any special interest that violates, e.g., gives an extra wad of cash to one candidate, will have to then equalize, giving a like wad to every other candidate (even if they go broke for having to do so — which is the ‘control’ to keep them honest, as is, for the candidates, that they must all keep books and prove that every penny of received funds went to actual campaign use)].

            The only thing I can see possibly going wrong is that someone might Field a W.C. against us to program the voting machines to not give us Sockers an even break…

          • Joe Tedesky
            October 30, 2015 at 8:40 pm

            If those programmers come after you, just sock them. I see you gave this sock puppet stuff a little thought”..hmmm, when I get that way, I take 2 allergy tablets. But anyway, the more I think about it, something has to come a long, and replace reality TV, sometime. I’ll bet, there is still a lot of sock making equipment lying around in surplus, around the Carolina’s. You, could put people back to work, but watch out for those trade agreements, they like sock companies….holy startling revelation batman, you’ll have CIA working for you, now that’s a deal. Good luck!

            Buy remanants only!

    • Steve Bryan
      October 30, 2015 at 2:19 am

      You must realize that the economy crashed while George Bush was still president which is very recent. Am I somehow misreading what you are trying to say?

      • Evangelista
        October 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm

        You call that a crash? Wasn’t more than a hiccup and burp and indigestion.

        Wait till when our government starts missing payments on it multi-trillion dollar mortgage. Then you’ll see a CRASH.

    • John
      October 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

      It seems you forgot the beginning of Stagflation with Nixon and Ford, and of course the economic crash under Bush which would have been much more severe if Obama had not taken decisive action to shore up the auto industry. In terms of your other comments, I have to assume that you are being sartirical, but just in case you are not, let me suggest instead a Carson-Trump ticket. After all, while Carson leads us calmly and resolutely closer to Armageddon, Trump can be the humorous side-kick screaming about the dangers of immigrants, “losers” and ad nausium as he does so well.

      • Evangelista
        October 30, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        I envision, instead, President Trump at the wheel, raging in fury at the other drivers, with Vice President Carson calmly back-seating him, saying, “There now, dear, you were shouting and not paying attention and you drove right by the turn-off to Armageddon! Now we’ll have to go miles to find an exit so we can turn around. And then you’ll probably be in a rage and miss it all over again.”

        Being a fundamentalist, myself, I count on the fundamentals always remaining the same and ‘saving’ us; and being a pessimist I recognize Armageddon just another one of those promises, like Paradise for the optomists, just crumbs, thrown to us bickering grandchildren by the Eterenal Grandmother, sops to make us quiet so she can hear what’s being said in the soap-opera She created the world to set in motion [which has been going for billions of years, but is so enthralling to her that itseems like only six thousand, and that She has No Intention of turning off any time soon (“What? And miss finding out what will replace human beings when they finally drown themselves in their own sewage and pollution?”].

    • KIlkee
      October 30, 2015 at 10:53 am

      “Not had a Republican in the White House when the economy crashed since Herbert Hoover? What? Have you forgotten George W. Bush? If the 2008 meltdown was not a crash, I’d hate to see what is.

  14. October 30, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Might not want to dismiss those nutty anti-fluoridation folk quite so quickly … especially if you’re interested in what causes a large chunk of the American population to embrace ignorance so proudly. Funding isn’t all that forthcoming when it comes to work that attempts to demonstrate the existence of phenomena that all Very Serious People “know” doesn’t exist … so the evidence base isn’t well-developed … and the reality of the situation is that when large segments of the population are exposed to neurotoxins it’s more a death-from-a-thousand-cuts issue than something that can be blamed entirely on one specific toxin … still … there’s this. And more: Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/10579664

  15. John B
    October 30, 2015 at 7:26 am

    This is a fine article. H.L. Mencken noted that “The average man …avoids the truth as diligently as he avoids arson, regicide or piracy on the high seas, and for the same reason: because he believes that it is dangerous, that no good can come of it, that it doesn’t pay.”

    The enemy of the selfish opportunist is reason: they shop for rationales and non sequiturs as weapons against morality, supporting the industry of anti-reason in politics and mass media, expecting ill-gotten possessions to declare their respectability, and hired religion scammers to pronounce their virtue.

    US elections and mass media are controlled by an oligarchy of economic concentrations which cares not at all for humanity, foreign or domestic. The sheeple pretend to believe the propaganda of money because that is their only path to opportunity.

    The penalties of opposition are unsustainable for most: the loss of employment, critical social relationships, and even their rights in society. They must put the burden of opposition in the balance with the distorted facts and arguments. Even when sympathetic, they go along with the oligarchy and dump the problem on better citizens and damn them when that is inadequate. They can always pretend that personal benefit is conservatism.

    They will do nothing until they fear suffering themselves, when it will be too late for them. This will not change until the angry dispossessed are at their door, when the empty suit of armor that the US has become, the fortress of the rich, is toppled by its enemies.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 30, 2015 at 10:53 am

      It’s like the person who watched as they took everyone away, one by one, until they came for him/her, right? I find there are some who just go along, because they want to fit in. Kind of like reserving the right to being offered a beer, at a local block party. Not wanting to upset your ‘crazy bombs away uncle Stu’ during the family’s Thanksgiving diner, because he is your mother’s little brother, and he means well. A real problem, is how should you react to the nice neighbor who plasters his front yard, with McCain/Palin posters. Do you forfeit the life long right to borrow your neighbors hedge clippers, by putting up on your front lawn Obama/Biden posters?

      Seriously, I have friends who cannot get over how I can study the news events, of our day, and not get deeply depressed. I can’t judge their sensitivity levels, for their lack of their not keeping up with the news, but I do try to influence them, when possible. I agree with you, people should stay more engaged, but how do you keep them engaged? I’m not even getting into how bad the media is, and how to guard a person against their swallowing that propagandized kool-aid, we talk about all the time. I’m rambling on now, but I jumped on to your comment point, because it is a very important point you make. Good comment John B.

  16. Northern Light
    October 30, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Is this article a joke or something? It’s an almost perfect example of amateur political propaganda/agitprop. It is so transparently partisan one can virtually see the paint-by-numbers scripting behind the words.

    • Christopher Winter
      October 30, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      The joke is the fact that anyone could seriously claim both sets of presidential candidates, Republicans and Democrats, are equivalent in their understanding of the world and their ability to reason about its problems — and specifically that criticism of Ben Carson’s misguided beliefs is merely partisan propaganda.

      It is partisan, of course — it takes the side of one party and opposes the other. What you seem to miss is the fact that the party it opposes has given us a set of candidates for the highest office in our nation who insist on pushing ideas that are provably false.

      But don’t let me stop you believing nonsense. My only concern is stopping the election of people who believe nonsense.

  17. Race (presidential)
    October 30, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I like to have a good laugh. That’s why I like Trump.
    All of them are there for Hillary, Bush and Bernie to look reasonable and to extend the Empire. That’s why I don’t waste my energy to much on “the others” cause it’s all decided a long time ago.
    If I had to choose who I don’t like most, it’s Bernie cause so much hype is around him just oike it was around Obama…
    Result is a rethorical question: Spare some change or spare me the change.
    Nothing will change without mass discontent of the population, unlike Occupy (Michael wrote an excellent article), with right demands.
    Trying to fight heroin abuse with “give me 1 percent of the supply” is prolonging heroin abuse

  18. Dfnslblty
    October 30, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    <>

    American English might would use: Autism.
    And a psychologist might say: Psychopath or Sociopath.

    Dems ain’t got much better marionettes at the gate.

  19. Zachary Smith
    October 30, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    His declarations that “I didn’t have an involvement with them” and “absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them” are just bald-faced lies.

    That’s by a blogger at the National Review site. My take on their telling the truth for a change is that they see Carson the same way as myself – an “In Like Flynn” situation for Hillary.

    Carson is also featured in a site called The Daily Beast.

    Ben Carson credited a nutritional supplement for helping save his life from cancer, yet he never mentioned it during interviews about his illness until he started shilling for its manufacturer.

    Carson was a spokesman for Mannatech, which claimed its “glyconutrients” could treat cancer, autism, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. “The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that they recognize that when God made us, He gave us the right fuel,” Carson said in a 2013 speech praising the company. On Wednesday, he denied any involvement with Mannatech.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/29/inside-ben-carson-s-cancer-scam.html

    I don’t know the politics of the link site, but it’s clear lots of people are gunning for Carson. Probably he’s as popular with the Democrats as was GWB, and the Republicans are afraid he’ll destroy 2016 for them.

  20. Dan Mouer
    October 31, 2015 at 9:49 am

    The main problem with this is that anti-intellectualism and anti-knowledge are not solely in the realm of conservatives and religeous zealots. These “movements” are a fundamental part of postmodernism. They came along with the counter-culture trends I embraced (and still do embrace) in the late 60s and early 70s.

    They can be easily found among liberals, such as in the natural foods and natural health idealists, or in the paranoia that convinces so many people that all corporate, industrial, non-local, non-artisanal, non-“organic,” gluten-rich processes and products are necessarily evil and must be eliminated.

    I believe we used to be a nation of skeptics and pragmatists, but we have become a culture of true believers. Too many Americans are certain they know the truth. To make things worse, in this era of information overload we tend to filter our input by choosing to listen to those whose beliefs and values we agree with. We are too often the choir listening to sermons from our favorite preachers.

    I hope all this extremism will bring on a revival of skeptical, reasonable, rational, pragmatic ways of approaching reality. All the experiences of my nice long life and very good education remind me constantly that we all know what we like and what we want, but we usually do not know all the necessary facts. We really must engage in conversation and listen to others much more than we usually do. We also need to once again, as a culture, learn to highly value well-rounded liberal education along with specialized vocational training. We need expert neurosurgeons, engineers and plumbers, but we really must also have knowledgeable citizens capable of critical thought.

  21. Serenderpity
    October 31, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Lots of people are beginning to think about this:

    “As cognitive scientists have observed, it is extremely threatening to have one’s core beliefs challenged, and the response is often to ‘double down’ on the belief, even when presented with evidence that it is false. Elliott Aronson writes that ‘people have a strong natural drive to manage their perceptions so as to have a sense of self that is: a) stable, predictable; b) competent; and c) morally good.’ He goes on to say that, ‘The theory of cognitive dissonance says that if a person holds a cognition that conflicts with this sense of self, then he or she experiences the negative (and unpleasant) drive state of dissonance and is highly motivated to alter the cognition in order to reduce the conflict’ …

    Studies also show that when presented with data that contradicts a deeply-held belief, the common response is to discredit the messenger who provided that information. Somehow the left seems to believe that by pointing out grammatical errors and misspelling, it can bring the right to a new respect for education. On the contrary, cognitive dissonance suggests that exactly the opposite will—and has—happened: the right values education even less for itself and attacks it even more. So using [misspelled Tea Party signs] as a form of humor at the right’s expense is a truly catastrophic failure of political discourse. It needlessly hardens opinions, drives wedges deeper, and drives citizens further and more bitterly apart. The same goes for pointing out factual errors—the response hasn’t been to make the right more accurate, but rather *less* accurate.

    Our current discourse is not working. Science tells us it likely never will work—on the contrary, it makes everything worse. Moreover, although cognitive scientists understand dissonance theory and confirmation bias, they do not yet understand exactly why some people are less prone to it than others, why some people change their minds in response to new information while others do not. Nor are they able to suggest methods or practices to short-circuit the tendency in public life, such as in the political arena. So where do we go from here?”

    http://mericamagazine.org/2015/09/27/get-a-brain-morans-the-meta-discourse-of-misspelled-tea-party-signs-arlynda-boyer/

    • F. G. Sanford
      October 31, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Dick, Don and Dan all agree to a man
      That what’s needed is simply more listening.
      There’s plenty of that to be done-
      There’s O’Reilly and Blitzer and Anderson Cooper,
      Fahreed, Amanpour and Chris Wallace,
      The enlightenment could be great fun!
      Propaganda galore, but we must listen more,
      We should contemplate what we are missing-
      There should be no concept forbidden!
      Hogwash and bollocks and mythical frolics
      Are guaranteed sources of solace!
      If only the truth weren’t hidden!
      So many opinions suppressed by the minions
      If only we’d be more inclusive-
      Solutions would then be emergent!
      Astrological charts and far eastern dark arts
      May hold keys to solutions elusive!
      All opinions would then be convergent!
      Cultural bridges could flatten the ridges
      Medieval head choppers deplore.
      It’s not nice to offend anyone!
      We must do our best and rise to the test
      And accommodate things we abhor,
      It’s a goal that we must never shun!
      The potential spewage of linguistic sewage
      Is a resource we must not deride.
      It’s nothing but simple semantics!
      Right wing superstition and faulty cognition
      Are matters of partisan pride,
      We shouldn’t prohibit these antics!
      A simple prayer meeting could solve problems fleeting
      Like cancer or global pollution.
      It’s an alternative no one has tried!
      Each point of view may resolve something new,
      If we’d just seek divine absolution-
      But I doubt that’s a very good guide.
      We have too few folk who can see through the smoke
      Or swim against rivers of bullsh*t
      We’re stuck with the vocal morass-
      It may be confounding and high-minded sounding
      But the average Joe is a halfwit,
      Barely a one gets a pass-
      They cheered that Pied Piper the Munich putsch viper,
      To him much attention was granted
      They listened, but words are not facts.
      They hardly remember the guns of November
      When they listened to facts that were slanted.
      So now the solution is thought prostitution,
      A cheap substitution for treason-
      Without a demand power never concedes,
      So just listen you fools, how dare you demand a good reason?

  22. November 1, 2015 at 1:02 am

    This is nothing new. Democracy is the absurd notion that the lowest common denominator can choose the best person. Add to that the laziness, lack of education in the important sectors of life, fixation on sports, beauty, and winning at any cost, right or wrong: the mindset of the vast majority.
    There are over 9000 bills introduced every year. No Representative or Senator reads them but yet is expected to vote on them. They don’t write them. Industry and special interests write them. They pick a few that will get them in the news or resonate with the prejudices and ignorance of the weak minded. They vote as the money behind their campaigns decrees.
    This article is mental masturbation that ignores history as if this is something new. It will change nothing.

  23. Bob Jones
    November 1, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Well, let’s just say I stopped reading after you repeated the lie that Ben Carson said the Jews would have stopped the Holocaust. No, he didn’t. He said it would have slowed things down at least, which is utter common sense. Hitler banned the Jews from owning guns for a reason. And, I’m a history major. He has said some things I think are silly as well.

    But, that has been tremendously twisted, and now you continued to lie about it.

  24. November 2, 2015 at 12:10 am

    There’s a reason why only 6% of scientists are Republican: conservative dogma has become the antithesis of rational thinking. http://www.people-press.org/2009/07/09/public-praises-science-scientists-fault-public-media/

  25. Mortimer
    November 2, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    FYI —
    The surname Carson is of England, Scotland, Ireland origin. The below excerpt tells a sparsely reported history of English brutality of the Irish. It has particular relevance to Carson and another infamous right wing Black, Justice Clarence Thomas, which i will postulate/make suggestions upon as afterthought:
    .
    During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.

    Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.

    As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.

    African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African.

    The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.

    In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.

    England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.

    There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry.

    • Mortimer
      November 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Excerpt from a search of Ben Carson’s Ancestry:

      We began to explore Ben’s ancestry by looking at his mother’s line. “You know, it was a difficult childhood,” Carson said. She was among the youngest of her parents’ 24 children. Most of her siblings were significantly older and had left home. To ease the burden on her parents Sonya was sent to live with different siblings on a rotating basis.

      Sonya’s parents were both born in Harris County, Ga. — John Martin Copeland on March 15, 1888, and Ruby Stanley sometime in January 1894.

      Ruby’s parents, Ben’s great-grandparents, were Coleman Stanley and Lucy Smith. Coleman was born a slave in 1831 and does not appear in any census record before 1900, so it’s hard to determine what he did under slavery or after emancipation before the turn of the century. We tried to locate Coleman’s former owner by looking for white families in the area with his surname. But there were no Stanleys in Harris County until after the Civil War, when black people started using the name.

      We searched for records pertinent to a broker named John D. Stanley who had acted between 1850 and 1860 as an agent for an estate that included 51 slaves.
      We hoped to find a connection between Copeland and the white slave broker.
      Unfortunately, I had to explain to Carson that we were unable to prove a link between Coleman Stanley and John D. Stanley. The paper trail runs out at this point.

      We found records of Carson’s great-grandmother — Coleman’s future wife — Lucy Smith, and her parents, Emily and Green Smith, in the 1870 census. However, like that of her husband, Lucy’s trail soon goes cold. We could find out nothing more about her parents. Carson was growing a bit frustrated with all the dead ends.

      Further research revealed that Carson’s maternal grandfather, John Martin Copeland, was the son of John H. Copeland and a woman named Indiana Ash. The 1870 census included several pages related to this Ash family. The report lists “India Ash” as a 9-year-old, living with her father, Thomas Ash, and mother, Millie. Two nearby households bear the same Ash name. Although the relationship between them is not spelled out, we can reasonably guess they are related families.
      ###
      .
      Clarence Thomas’ family line also has Georgia origins.

      History tells that at the close of the transatlantic slave trade, the slave breeding industry proliferated. Black slaves were born and reared for the auction blocks of Georgia, New Orleans and other deep south cities.

      It’s highly possible that with the rampant intermingling of DNA that the Carson’s and Thomas’ might be somehow related.

      We do have the history of Sally Hemmings with Thomas Jefferson which the white Jeffersons vehemently deny. There was also the coming forward of the Black daughter of Strom Thurmond.

      There is this deeply relevant past that maintains it’s gloomy place under-the-carpet in the dank/dark basement of american history.

      There were literally millions, in those days, of Blacks and Irish, to a lesser degree, born with no knowledge of mother or father. Born, raised to a young age then shipped off to some plantation in another state. Some were fortunate enough to’ve had records kept of their existence while others were complete vagabonds answering to a name given by his/her owner.

      There are “pure” Blacks and there are “mixed-blood” Blacks called Mulottos.

      Obama, Carson, Thomas are among the so-called 10%ers who’ve risen above the ranks of the so-called underclass.There’s no doubt hard work and luck had much to do with their status. These high achievers are deserving of respect and honor, though it’s hard to understand how any of them could stand with our adamant right wing, except to say that their success provides for them an elite status.The remaining struggle as “2nd class citizens” and apart from the dominant culture. It appears this will always be the status quo in America. Red states vs blue cities.

  26. Michael Shoshani
    November 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Mr. Lofgren writes ‘Or, as humorist Josh Billings put it, “The trouble with people is not that they don’t know, but that they know so much that ain’t so.”’

    Irony, because that quote itself is not so; what Billings wrote was “I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.”, as can be seen in his 1874 “Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor”, fourth item under “Sollum Thoughts”, on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=7rA8AAAAYAAJ&dq=things%20we%20know%20that%20ain't%20so&pg=PA286#v=onepage&q&f=false

  27. Mortimer
    November 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    “I honestly beleave
    it iz better

    tew know nothing

    than two know
    what ain’t so.”
    .
    The precise habits of the Ostrich
    and of those who swallow
    the myth of Equal Opportunity

    in the hymnalized “land of the free”
    where “Liberty” is owned thru cash &
    “Justice” is repugnant with favoritism.

  28. Lisa
    November 2, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Are you sure you weren’t “kicked out” of the Republican party Lofgren? Your attitude sounds a lot like envy to me. Are you mad that a year ago the world didn’t know who Carson OR you were but now and well into the future everybody knows who Carson and the world still has no idea YOU are.

  29. Mark
    November 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    “Fachidiot”– Would that be similar to an “idiot savant?”

Comments are closed.