Ben Carson Is a Paranoid Nutcase

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I’m hardly the first one to notice this, but lately Ben Carson has really been letting his freak flag fly—adding to a long history of this kind of thing. For example:

  • A few days ago Carson peddled a conspiracy theory about Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei, and Mahmoud Abbas all being old pals from their days together at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow in 1968. He refused to divulge his source for this, but instead explained it this way: “That’s what I call wisdom,” Carson said. “You get these pieces of information. You talk to various people. You begin to have an overall picture. You begin to understand why people do what they do.”
  • He insisted that Hitler’s rise to power was accomplished “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda”—despite the plain historical fact that Hitler didn’t remove anyone’s guns during the period when he took power.
  • Asked if the “end of days” was near, he said, “You could guess that we are getting closer to that.”
  • He has suggested that being gay is a conscious choice because “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
  • Last year, before the November elections, he predicted that President Obama might declare martial law and cancel the 2016 elections. “If Republicans don’t win back the Senate in November, he says, he can’t be sure ‘there will even be an election in 2016.’ Later, his wife, Candy, tells a supporter that they are holding on to their son’s Australian passport just in case the election doesn’t go their way.”
  • Has repeatedly endorsed the bizarre conspiracy theories of W. Cleon Skousen’s 1958 book The Naked Communist. “You would think by reading it that it was written last year—showing what they’re trying to do to American families, what they’re trying to do to our Judeo-Christian faith, what they’re doing to morality.” As my colleague David Corn notes, even most conservatives agree that Skousen was a nutcase. “He was a complete crank. He maintained that the Founding Fathers were direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel and contended that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world.”

This goes well beyond merely being a very conservative guy. These are the kinds of weird beliefs and conspiracy theories that marinate in the deepest corners of right-wing websites and email lists. It’s Alex Jones territory. It’s time to stop whispering about this, and say out loud that Carson is just not a normal conservative guy. He’s a paranoid nutcase.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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