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March 02, 2016

Ben Carson Ends Presidential Bid to Spend More Time With His Non Sequiturs

Well, he is a decent man, and had a lot of conservative instincts. However, it became very clear very quickly that he was unwilling to use his med-school-days cramming skills to become fluent in the vocabulary and principles of conservative agitation.

Which is too bad, because he had the thing that can't be taught -- likability, gravitas, personal attractiveness.

I'm a poor student myself (bright, but a terrible student), but I still don't understand these guys who run for president without spending a month paying a few guys to brief them and tutor them.

And it would only take that long. It would take ten thousand dollars (nothing money for a presidential candidate) and a month, or six weeks. Congressional candidates have to bone up, after all, when they make the leap from local/state politics to national politics.

They're not geniuses, for God's sake. And yet they've either done some reading, or have gone through some kind of briefing boot-camp.

The only possible explanation for this failure to do basic homework, I think, is ego.

People don't learn unless they think there's something worth learning.

I always had this fear, and said so over two years ago on the podcast, that what could hold Ben Carson back was the God Complex that top surgeons have. He would look at politics and scoff at having to do any reading, figuring, "It can't be brain surgery."

That's a very tempting thing to say, when your specialty is brain surgery, and brain surgery is used in everyday idioms to mean "something fantastically difficult to master."

But just because politics is a hell of a lot less intellectually demanding than brain surgery doesn't mean it's not intellectually demanding at all.

Given that Ben Carson is the world's top practitioner of a field synonymous with "extremely high intellectual challenge," there is no doubt he had the ability to become a policy whiz.

What he lacked was the desire to do so, or the realization that he had need of doing so.

I just don't get it. I just don't get it. I don't get why anyone goes into a field completely outside their range of training and daily experience and says, egotistically, "I'll just figure all of this out on the fly."

Well, you could. You could go through the trial and error process and figuring out everything iteratively through failure and correction.

Or, you could take advantage of the miracle of Books, in which the experience and thinking of other men is available to you for the cost of a week's reading.

See, the technology of writing means that we do not have to figure out things on the fly anymore. I could figure out how to build a deck improvisationally and through my natural cleverness, or, maybe take that short-cut of reading a book about How to Build a Deck, written by people who have built decks before.

I will never get this, not until the day I die and an angel explains it to me.

I cannot say this enough: I am utterly baffled by guys like Carson and Trump (and Palin) who just say "Oh, reading is for geeks and cowards, I'll just use my personality and wit to bullshit my way through this until I get it all figured out."

This never works-- they never actually do get it all figured out.*

But anyway -- another colossal raw political talent, but alas undone by this figure-it-out-when-I-get there hubris.

* Maybe this is because they expect the learning process to take place in a sort of communal, supportive environment -- as in school.

The problem is, learning while running for office does not take place in a supportive environment. It takes place in the most mocking, hostile environment possible.

So when one makes a mistake, one is not encouraged to correct it. One is attacked mercilessly and hounded and humiliated. Making one very averse to ever venturing away from places of intellectual comfort (Drill baby drill, we'll be so tired of winning) ever again.

Update: Carson's actual position on whether he's out of the race or not is like all of his positions -- confused.

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posted by Ace at 02:35 PM

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