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Columns November 20, 2014  RSS feed

BEN CARSON News & Opinion

Stupidity Reconsidered

Jonathan Gruber set off a firestorm of controversy, at least in the conservative media, with the recent revelation of his comments about thestupidity of the American people,” which allowed the Affordable Care Act to be passed.

In essence, he admitted that the bill was written in a way that would allow its purveyors to characterize it as the cure-all and salvation for a health care system that was in trouble, with no danger of their deception being discovered by a populace that is trusting and naive.

He obviously never intended for his comments to make it into the public sphere and did not consider the fact that someone is always recording on their smartphone.

What is truly disturbing is the fact that our government is willing to engage in the purposeful deception of the populace in order to thrust its secretive agenda onto an unsuspecting populace and a sycophantic mainstream media. As I have said many times before, Obamacare was never about health care; it was about government control and wealth redistribution.

If there was real concern about the uninsured, it would have been much cheaper and considerably less complex to simply give all of the uninsured Cadillac health plans for life. I am a firm believer that health care reform was and is needed, and I have been advocating for it for several years. It needs to be done correctly, though, and in a way that does not create different levels of access and treatment.

There is no question that the American people are distracted by sports and entertainment and that we confer godlike status on actors and some athletes. There is also no question that we could do more to enhance our knowledge about important issues. However, to assume that the American people are stupid and uncaring and to design programs and speeches around that assumption is arrogant, disrespectful and, frankly, very shortsighted. As has famously been said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

This most recent revelation by the unmasking of one of the chief architects of Obamacare is far from the first and only indication of a pattern of deception and manipulation by the current administration.

There appears to be overt contempt for the intelligence of the populace by people who would have us believe that the Benghazi disaster was caused by an ill-defined and little-watched video, and that there was not even a smidgen of evidence of wrongdoing surrounding the “phony” Internal Revenue Service scandal, and that the government would never engage in spying on its own citizens without cause.

Unfortunately, the administration knows that it can say virtually anything, and that there are some people who are so desperate to believe that it will be accepted as truth. They also know that many members of the mainstream media subscribe to their same ideology and will protect them, regardless of the consequences.

Only people who doubt the analytical ability of the populace would believe that giving people free phones and generous entitlements could purchase their loyalty forever. Only people who think the populace consists of morons would believe that they could keep delaying the employer mandate portion of Obamacare until after an important election, and that people would not realize that they were being manipulated.

The recent election results indicate the resurgence of an informed populace in our nation. Even though the awakening is not complete, I believe Gruber may be proved wrong about the intellect of the American people.

Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future” (Sentinel).