One Nation – Dr. Ben Carson’s Prescription for America

OneNation_300I have been an admirer of Dr. Carson ever since he burst onto the national political scene via his address to the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.  His common sense logical approach to America’s current issues provides something that has not been seen in the political arena for quite some time.  As a result, it was with great anticipation that I began reading One Nation.

In many respects, One Nation lives up to my expectations for Dr. Carson based on my past experience in hearing him interviewed, and reading his Prayer Breakfast speech.  In a systematic manner he approaches each issue, providing a discussion, a diagnosis, and a treatment.  Unlike many authors he also provides some action items at the conclusion of each chapter, suggesting that the reader undertake them as a means to creating a personal orientation toward better handling of each issue, not only in the political context, but in the personal and social.  He continues this same approach throughout the book, with bits of Judeo-Christian advice thrown it as either source material or sage wisdom.   He is particularly fond of quoting the Book of Proverbs, and does so with great acumen.

Further, building on his Prayer Breakfast speech, he shows how his common sense solutions to national issues work in the real world, frequently based on his personal experiences or those of people he knows well.  He makes a compelling case for his approach as the proper broad based prescription to reverse the national decline and return the USA to a success track.   We are left with the conclusion that if we could get everyone to understand these simple facts of life that things would suddenly work out.  We are also led to another conclusion; that Dr. Carson is a genuinely nice guy, who harbors animosity toward no one, and would be a great person to spend an extended time with in intellectual discourse, not only because it would be fun, but that all participants would learn something valuable from it.

A large part of the lessons Dr. Carson presents stem from his personal experiences, growing up in a single parent family, with a mother who had only a third grade education.  But with her inspiration, and a bit of hard work and dedication he became the world’s top pediatric neurosurgeon.  And along the way his path was not lined with roses or a red carpet.  He took a number of jobs along the way, which he uses to provide useful lessons.

Unfortunately, Dr. Carson’s approach also presents some problems.  Perhaps it is his medical background wherein all of the people he works with have one goal, which is to help the patient.  Or, perhaps it is a strong humanistic streak that makes it difficult for him to think or speak ill of others.  And therein lies the problem.  Dr. Carson refuses to speak ill of anyone, and as a result, may have avoided the root cause of the problems that he confronts.

For example, in Chapter 2, on freedom of speech and political correctness he reveals an understanding of Saul Alinsky and Alinsky’s recipe for political activism.  Yet, never once does he address the most important point of Alinsky’s activism; that he was first, last, and always anti-American.  He also does not address the fact that Alinsky dedicated his infamous Rules for Radicals to Satan.  When we understand this, it becomes difficult to assert that Alinsky’s disciples do not follow the same doctrine.  But Dr. Carson does not address this issue.

This “speak no evil” approach continues through Dr. Carson’s discussion of other issues, with one major theme running through it all.  That the only real differences separating people in the political arena are philosophical ones, because they all want the best for America.  This may be a dangerous assumption, considering the course that members of the political Left have set the nation upon.  It is also possible that given the circumstances, Dr. Carson’s prescription may be ineffective because the loyal opposition is, in fact, not so loyal; it is in fact, the enemy.  If this is true, then they will have no intention of sitting down to calmly discuss how to arrive at a solution that works.

There is one other factor that should be addressed, which is that Dr. Carson is not a politician or businessman, and he has, according to a statement he recently made on the Laura Ingraham show changing that position.  Yet he is writing a highly political book, and is being actively pursued as a presidential candidate.  If he were to run for President of the United States he would not do so as a politician, which seriously distinguishes him from Herman Cain, who recently ran as a Black Conservative and was subsequently smeared and vilified.  It appears obvious, however, that Dr. Carson would be better able to handle this sort of treatment than Mr. Cain was.  He also would be entering the arena better informed and better prepared.

What remains is whether or not people will be willing to listen to the sage advice that the doctor is dispensing.  I don’t believe that a lot of people will.  I recently spoke with a colleague who saw that I was reading this book. She subsequently dismissed him as “just another Herman Cain.”  She also refused to read One Nation to learn for herself that he isn’t.  This out of hand dismissal is also something that Dr. Carson will have to deal with if he decides to throw his hat in the ring.  It is likely that if he can survive the ordeal and win out, the solutions that he presents would be successful.  The problem is getting people to take the medicine.

One Nation is highly recommended.  In fact, it is something that probably should be read by everyone, but likely will be overlooked by many.  It is written in a simple style that anyone can understand, in keeping with Dr. Carson’s advice that legislation should also be simple and easy to understand.  Many of anecdotes from his personal life are unexpected, touching and sometimes very diverting.  At just over 200 pages, it is just the right length.  It is available from and other book sellsers.

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