(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Conservative hero Ben Carson hit with plagiarism scandal

Potential presidential candidate's 2012 book lifted passages from a bevy of sources


Luke Brinker
January 7, 2015 8:05PM (UTC)

In his 2012 book America the Beautiful, conservative activist and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson related the story of when he was caught plagiarizing as an undergraduate psychology major. "During my research for one of the papers in an advanced psychology course, I found some passages that seemed particularly appropriate, and I included them in my writing," Carson explained. "I did not, however, indicate that this was the work of someone else; frankly, I had never even heard of the term plagiarism." A professor identified the plagiarized passages, Carson wrote, and their meeting over the paper prompted an epiphany: "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."

Apparently, that experience wasn't searing enough. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed revealed that Carson plagiarized portions of the very same book in which he wrote of his college plagiarism. Although Carson often cited the works he copied in his endnotes, he did not indicate in the text of the book when he had borrowed the words of other authors.

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Among the bevy of sources Carson plagiarized were the venerable website SocialismSucks.net, the late conservative polemicist W. Cleon Skousen, and conservative author Bill Federer, BuzzFeed reports. In one passage highlighted by the outlet, Carson borrows "wholesale" from SocialismSucks.net. Here's SocialismSucks:

Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority to provide government-made jobs, old-age financial security, “free” health care, and “free” education and indoctrination of children, it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed.

Sure, security is important — but anyone can find security from a prison warden. But, despite socialist promises, bureaucratic programs of the poltiical [sic] state cannot guarantee security anyway. Instead the socialist state uses its coercive powers to seize the wealth and properties of those who have earned financial security by their own hands. Socialism does not help poor people; rather, socialism makes people poor so that they have to become dependent on the socialist state and therefore beholden to those in charge of the government. Socialism is the ultimate exploitative monopoly. No competitors (market alternatives) are allowed. All major industries, including food, banking, transportation, communication, and insurance are owned and operated as state monopolies.

Socialism is a system of authoritarian political control over the individual by bureaucratic central planners — very similar to fascism or communism. Socialism promises to use the power of the political state to forcibly redistribute resources (peoples’ earnings) so that the basic needs of all will be met. To do this, power must be centralized in the hands of the political state. When government has power over the lives and properties of its citizens, the citizens have no freedom — only the meagre privileges the state programs may dole out to them. In practice, socialism’s redistribution of wealth ends up with bureaucrats doling out poverty and dependency on the state.

If government could give you everything you want, it must have the power to take everything you’ve got. This is the real agenda of socialism. It is the confiscation of property in the name of a “fairer” distribution of it. It is the total political institutionalization of violence and exploitation in the name of abolishing exploitation.

Sure, there are several different brands of socialism — at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a Socialist State which promises “security” for everyone or government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform — a country in which government guarantees security and “equality” in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans continue to fall for the same scam?

Socialism is an old dream. Some dreams are nightmares when put into practice.

Here's Carson, with the plagiarized portions bolded:

In the previous chapter, we examined the enormous benefits to our country and to the world of an economic system (capitalism) that encourages innovation, hard work, and entrepreneurship. Now, after examining the pros and cons of socialism, we have seen mostly negative effects, even in terms of its lauded compassionate components, which seem good at first glance, but reveal disincentives to work and fiscal irresponsibility in the long run. Because we live in a free and open society, those who advocate socialism are free to do so, but for the well-read individual, it is easy to discern the agenda of the socialists and how they are implementing that agenda in an attempt to bring fundamental change to America. The agenda? Total government control. For jobs, income, you name it. Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority to provide government-made jobs, old-age financial security, “free” health care, and “free” education and indoctrination of children, it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed.

Sure, there are several different brands of socialism — at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises “security” for everyone and government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform — a country in which government guarantees security and “equality” in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans fall for the same scam?

Since Americans are by nature individualistic and entrepreneurial, by definition, then, the socialist program is anti-American, to say nothing of totalitarian.

Socialism is an old dream. Some dreams are nightmares when put into practice.

The revelation of Carson's plagiarism comes one month after the liberal watchdog group Media Matters exposed how another vocal Tea Party conservative, former Florida Congressman Allen West, had lifted passages of a recent column from a viral Internet post. Meanwhile, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who like Carson is considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has confronted a plagiarism scandal of his own. In 2013, BuzzFeed reported that, similar to Carson, Paul had plagiarized three pages of his book Government Bullies, citing sources in his endnotes but failing to properly attribute others' work in the text.


Luke Brinker

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2016 Elections Allen West Ben Carson Buzzfeed Conservatives Gop 2016 Joe Biden Plagiarism Rand Paul Republicans




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