Ben Carson has said that he’s less offended by a “body with bullet holes” than he is by gun control. He’s said President Obama should skip speaking with the families of the latest school shooting and instead speak to the families of the next school shooting. He’s suggested gravity isn’t a real thing. He’s also claimed his own cancer was cured by magic beans. And that’s barely the half of it. At least once a day he says something that doesn’t merely paint his views as insane, but paints him as an insane person, in a way that has little to do with politics or issues and distinguishes his from perhaps any of his republican counterparts. So what is the nation supposed to do when a leading candidate for President appears to be suffering from an actual mental illness?
Donald Trump says insane things on purpose, as a strategy to stir the pot, and he knows full well what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Jeb Bush appears to be a sociopath who is incapable of empathy, but he functions just fine. Ted Cruz has the most extremist anti-government views of any major American political figure since Jefferson Davis, but no one actually expects him to start a civil war. Despite crazy views, none of these people appear to be actually crazy. Carly Fiorina is suffering from some kind of pathological lying, which is a mental condition, but you still get the sense that she can drive a car down the street without mistakenly thinking she’s supposed to crash it into a donut shop. Would any of you feel safe getting into a car that was being driven by Ben Carson? That’s what I thought.
On the IQ and intellect scale, Carson is probably the smartest person on the republican stage. Yet he seems routinely incapable of forming a single coherent thought. It’s not that his words are jumbled, it’s that there’s no thought behind the words to begin with. If you didn’t already know he was a brain surgeon, you’d listen to his childlike assessments of the world and assume he had an IQ of below fifty. He also regularly refers interviewers back to his previous statements in a way that suggests he can’t remember what his position is on any given issue. And he comes off as so catatonic in nature that it feels as if his words and thoughts aren’t his own. We’ve all encountered super-smart people who are just spacy and aren’t always present because they’re lost in thought. This comes off as something entirely different.
At first I thought it was merely because he’s under the influence of his religious cult. His fundamentalist faux-christian church certainly accounts for his extremist views on the issues. But this goes far beyond any political views, and I’d be forced to draw the same conclusion about Carson even if his political views were perfectly mainstream. As more of his words surface from his past, his actions over a period of time can’t all be explained by mere religious fanaticism. Instead it appears he descended into full blown mental illness a long time ago, and in turn his insanity has led him to become attracted to religious extremism, not the other way around.
It almost makes me wonder if this is like something out of the movie A Beautiful Mind, the true story of a genius who was severely mentally ill. Because the guy was so smart, he was able to be semi-functional in the real world despite having hallucinations, imaginary roommates, and paranoid delusions. Throughout his career everyone made excuses and covered for him, going all the way back to his college days, because even though he was fully insane, they all knew he was invaluable as an economist.
Similarly, is it possible that the medical community has spent decades covering for this mentally ill man Ben Carson simply because he happened to be such an invaluable surgeon? These latest revelations about him, such as his insistence in 2004 that his own cancer was cured by tree bark he bought through a pyramid scheme, make clear that his descent into mental illness didn’t come recently. He didn’t stop being a doctor and then go crazy. He was this crazy back when he was performing surgery. Yet his malpractice records show that he was a fully competent surgeon.
And that would be fine if he weren’t now running for President and leading his party in some polls. As much he’s the medical expert and I have no medical expertise whatsoever, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see that Ben Carson is suffering from a mental illness which goes far beyond anything to do with his political leanings. It’s not just that he has crazy views, it’s that he’s an crazy person. If he remains in the race much longer, I sincerely hope mental health experts will study his words and behavior to help us understand what’s actually wrong with him – and maybe get him some help – because as this race goes on, his condition appears to be getting worse. In the mean time I won’t even try to put into words what his obvious full blown mental illness, on full display each time he’s opened his mouth during his campaign, says about the people who want him to be President. If you enjoy Daily News Bin, consider making a contribution: