Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

March 1, 2013

Ben Carson vs. Barack Obama

(Continued)

Carson's grades improved. He went on to graduate from Yale and then from the University of Michigan Medical School. He became a gifted and celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon, performing the first successful surgical separation of conjoined twins.

Against this personal backdrop, Carson has a very traditional American attitude toward success. He celebrates it unabashedly and believes in the gospel of self-reliance. Don't become dependent on anyone else. Don't consider yourself a victim. Don't begrudge others their success. Get an education, work hard, and thank God you were born in the greatest country in the world.

Carson's is a voice of hope and aspiration but also of rigor and of standards. He spent a long part of his speech decrying the decline of American education.

There is none of this that President Barack Obama or most any other liberal would disagree with. President Obama has spoken of his own single mother prodding him to study as a child. But Obama and company represent the party of government, and the premise of government programs tends to be that you can't help yourself.

A few days after being subjected to Carson, Obama delivered a State of the Union address that offered some program or other for practically every problem he identified. He took a pass on dealing with the debt and pushed for more taxes on the rich.

Warning of the disastrous effects of "moral decay" and "fiscal irresponsibility," Carson touched on a very different approach in his speech, advocating government frugality, a flat tax and health-care accounts controlled by individuals.

Carson insists - not persuasively, given the complexities involved - that these items are just common sense. What is common sense, or used to be, is the ethic of self-discipline and individual advancement that he exemplifies and extols so powerfully.

May his viral moment give him the chance to spread the message even more widely.

(c) 2013 by King Features Syndicate

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