Friday, August 14, 2015

Just Another Pol

In one of the most innocuous comments in an awful article in "The Week," Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes "So one of the blessings of our ongoing populist moment of anti-politician anger has been the rise of non-politician candidates. Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and certainly Donald Trump bring a different perspective from the career politicians who have graced the Republican stage."

Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson all appear to be non-politicians.  But the latter (as well as probably the first) only appears not to be a politician.

Dr. Jen Gunter has found that Dr. Carson in 1992 published a paper entitled "Colloid Cysts of the Third Ventricle:"   Immunohistochemical evidence for nonneuropithelial differentiation, in which materials and methods included "using human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation."

That would be the same Ben Carson who has claimed “At 17 weeks, you’ve got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart’s beating. It can respond to environmental stimulus. How can you believe that that’s just a[n] irrelevant mass of cells? That’s what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being.”   (Video below is of an earlier abortion controversy that befuddled Dr. Carson.)

That would be the same Dr. Carson who has falsely tried to link Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to the Nazis and has posted a petition online asking that federal funds be denied Planned Parenthood because of what he terms its "Baby Organ Harvesting Programs."

An interview with The Washington Post's Dave Weigel revealed

Carson had not forgotten and considered the type of research he did to be useful. "When we obtain tissue like that, we want to know what the origin of that tissue is developmentally," he said. "Knowing that helps us determine which patients are likely to develop a problem. It’s one of the reasons why at the turn of the last century, the average age of death was 47. Now, the average age of death is 80. Using the information that you have is a smart thing, not a dumb thing."

The candidate clearly was neither apologizing nor backtracking, given that

"You have to look at the intent," Carson said before beginning a campaign swing through New Hampshire. "To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it."

Yes, the intent. In Dr. Carson's case in 1992, it was research, evidently studying tissue from an aborted baby. In the case of Planned Parenthood in 2015, it is.... research. Most commonly, it is research pertaining to Parkinson's and other degenerative diseases. BuzzFeed, however, has learned researchers "work on a diverse range of projects: understanding human blindness, developing vaccines, making better models of HIV, and creating therapies for liver failure, just to name a few."

Rationalization, however, has no limit. The good doctor continued

"My primary responsibility in that research was when I operated on people and obtained the tissue....  "  He noted that he has not used fetal tissue samples since then. "This has everything to do with how it’s acquired. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it."

The report contained the passage "Nasal mucosa was obtained from transsphenoidal hypophysectomies. Human choroid plexus, ependyms, and nasal mucosa were obtained from two fetuses aborted at the ninth and 17th week of gestation."   It was procured from babies who, according to Carson's ideology, were killed.  Planned Parenthood performs legal abortions and transfers fetal tissues for no profit to a research facility. Dr. Carson performed research on tissue from aborted fetuses.

Ben Carson sees, or pretends to see, no moral conundrum. Whereas lay people sometimes admit wrong, few politicians admit they are wrong. (There are the very rare, and courageous, exceptions.) Apologies are permitted as long as they are not genuine but actual admission of wrongdoing is avoided at almost all costs. Ben Carson understands this and has acted accordingly.

Better to be unmasked as a hypocrite, especially if your supporters (as in this case) will forgive you or deny there is a  conflict. Ben Carson understands this and has responded accordingly. Congratulations are due to him- he has become a politician and without even having to admit it.

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