Monday, November 02, 2015

GOP candidates (even Carson) pander to constituents' prejudices and fears, and sacrifice intellectual honesty, as well as sound policy proposa;

Nicholas Kristof, well known for humanitarian efforts and his book and PBS series “A Path Appears” (TV blog Sept. 8, 2015) has an op-ed in the Review of the Sunday New York Times, Oct. 1 about Dr. Ben Carson, “Inspiring, but not for president”, link here.  Kristof says he has “kooky ideas for the nation” and is naïve about how stressing moral character of individuals would really solve big policy problems.  Kristof, for all his support of personal faith-based volunteerism here and overseas (as in his films), particularly in the areas of support for very young children, recognizes that some issues really are matters of policy.

Again, social conservatism is based on the idea that the “natural family” (as Carlson and Mero put it, Book revews, Sept. 18, 2009) is the right place for people to learn personal altruism and the satisfaction of meeting needs.  The whole process where “women tame men” in marriage (and raising kids) is supposed to lead eventually to reaching out to the poor and disadvantaged here and at home (now consider the refugees). In practice it often doesn’t turn out that way.

Indeed, a lot of people see “taking care of your own first” as an intrinsic moral value.  This gets elaborated in the gun debate (and Carson has made some disturbing comments on how people should react to the presence of rampage shooters), but also in the survivalist world which views the ability to defend oneself (with weapons) and one’s family as a moral requirement.  Indeed, that gets into the background of my own thinking when I read reports about how vulnerable our technologically dependent civilization could be to terrorist indignation (as with my reviews on books on EMP and solar storms, and the book “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel, which I am reading now – see my main blog Oct. 27).  Note the Raytheon signs in the DC Metro.

Conservative candidates seem prone to bow to constituent pressure to recognize fear, and religious sacred cows.  They feel compelled to question “evolution” and whether it should be taught in science in schools – when it is science fact.  (There is nothing logically inconsistent between evolution and original intelligent creation of the Universe.)  They feel compelled to pander to fears on immigration, where arguably we all may find we have moral duties.  The recent handling of the debates by CNBC, will silly questions on areas like fantasy football, didn't help.

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