I’m sure the title of this piece isn’t news to most people. Apparently the world is ending soon. Again. At least according to Dr. Ben Carson,
So Republican demagoguery continues unabated and the only real fun to be had with this completely unsurprising trend is to lampoon the almost neverending predictions of the endtimes that seem to be accelerating.
I remember quite fondly looking forward to the end of days when the end of days rolled around. Those of us who reached adulthood in the 70’s and 80’s know what date that date, the end of days, was.
As a side note I’d like to register my utter frustration with attempting to access video that I know exists, because it was impossible to escape this video during the 80’s. Yet today, because of the ridiculously arcane laws we have in the US, things that were force-fed to us in our youth cannot be found because the rights-holders don’t want us to find it, view it, associate it with them. My response? Too Fucking Bad. Maybe you should have thought about the future when recording some of this stuff. Accept your ad money, sit down and shut up. The social relevance of this video and the spirit of the times is perfectly applicable to the sentiments currently being voiced by GOP candidates and pointing out that these people are worse than broken records is something that needs to be done. Been here, done this, don’t need to go here again. (The Prince estate has finally gotten the video back up, officially. –ed.)
It was one of my favorite jokes, one of my favorite songs, and we milked it for all it was worth for about 20 years. I had some Mormon missionaries who used to drop by the house and try to convert me to Mormonism for a few months back then. The Wife would get them to help her around the house if I wasn’t at home, and when I was at home there were some pretty hot debates concerning the merits of religion. One of the last conversations I had with them was concerning the end of days and the approaching millennium. My parting words to them were I’ll let you know my decision about converting to Mormonism after 2000 rolls around. Needless to say, I’m not a Mormon and the world didn’t end.
When 1999 finally did roll over to 2000, The Wife and I staged a Y2K party in our backyard complete with about 10 unpatched computer systems that were predicted to fail when the year rolled over. Several of them did fail, none of them very spectacularly, but I figured that would be the end of the joke.
Then a relative told me about the Mayan calendar and it’s end of days. Then there were the endless end of days predictions of various preachers, profits and fools. At this point, the joke is well and truly over as far as I’m concerned. Now I’m starting to think that the people who really believe the world is going to end soon need to invest in some decent personal psychiatry.
Because these end of days predictions? Not new. Been going on since we started recording history, pretty much. Here is a list of predictions for the end of days on Wikipedia. What that list fails to mention is that christianity itself was founded on the preachings of a man who saw his people as engaged in a final struggle; or that he wasn’t even the first of such messiahs to appear in that region proclaiming the approaching end times.
Apparently all of humanity has been seeing their personal approaching demise as an all-encompassing end for all living things. I hate to break it to them; the world will spin on long after they are gone.
So congratulations Dr. Ben Carson. You have reached the pinnacle of fame in the US today, you are a leading Republican demagogue. Try distinguishing fame from infamy in this day and age, though. I can’t.
Of course, the end of days predictions are on top of his just this side of lunatic statements shaming victims of the latest mass shooting,
How would Ben Carson have handled the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon? On Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate said he would attack the gunman. “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said on Fox News. “I would say: ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'”
But this is what someone tried against the Oregon shooter — and it didn’t work out, as the New York Times’s Alan Rappeport reported: “The heavily armed Oregon gunman killed nine people before taking his own life. The fact that an Army veteran who did try to stop him was shot multiple times and remains hospitalized underscores the risks of attacking an armed attacker, as numerous critics pointed out Tuesday.”
Statements which were promptly contradicted by the candidates own admissions concerning the one time he had ever experienced a weapon being pointed at him,
I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeyes [in Baltimore]. … A guy comes in, puts the gun in my ribs, and I just said, “I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.” … He said, “Oh, okay.”
I have had a gun pointed at me before. It is not a pleasant experience, nor one that I would encourage people to act rashly during. If the opportunity presents itself, I suggest running and hiding. If absolutely left with no other choice, piling on a gunman en masse is probably the only way to reduce casualties (as Sam Harris discusses in the latest Waking Up) but someone is going to end up getting shot when that happens.
It is demagoguery, once again, to assert “I’ll do this when that happens” if the only time it has happened you didn’t do that.
Further evidence that Ben Carson has left the building. Ben Carson thinks he deserves Secret Service protection because he represents an existential threat to the secular movement,
“I’d prefer not to talk about security issues but I have recognized — and people have been telling me for many many months — that I’m in great danger, because I challenge the secular progressive movement to the very core,” Carson told WABC radio’s Rita Cosby Show on Thursday. “You know, they see me as an existential threat but I also believe in the good lord and we take reasonable precautions.”
Stop laughing, this is serious. It is serious because he says it is. Let’s walk this notion back a bit and look at it. Let’s say as a secular progressive I flip my nut and decide that killing is what is needed and it needs to be religious types in the crosshairs. Who am I going to choose?
In Texas alone there are hundreds of already elected nutjobs who believe that their religion gives them the right to discriminate in a legal capacity, people who think Kim Davis is a hero much like the Pope does. The state is currently engaged in a witch hunt against Planned Parenthood inspired by the videos that were released in August and discredited the same month. That’s just here in Texas. If I were to expand the view and look at all of the religious right all across the nation, Ben Carson is lost in a veritable sea of wackiness.
What we have here (as the joke goes) is a target rich environment. There is a whole lot of nutty coming out of the religious right these days, I’d be hard pressed to say just who would even make the top 10 list; and I don’t think Ben Carson would be on it since I don’t think he really believes the stuff he says. Don’t get me wrong, the man is a genius when it comes to wielding a scalpel, and the other side of genius is a sometimes light touch on what the average joe sees as the real world. So he could very well be nutty enough to believe the world is coming to an end, and that secular progressives are stalking him.
But just because he believes it doesn’t make it true.
As Ed Brayton goes into over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars it doesn’t matter what he believes anyway. Secret Service protection is offered to candidates who meet specific targets as far as funding and popularity, and he doesn’t quite qualify yet. They may still offer him protection, but in my humble opinion what the man needs is a keeper with access to tranquilizers and a butterfly net.
Let’s see how long he leads in the polls. Who will be top dog next?