The invective against Dr. Ben Carson coming from the left is extraordinary, even for the left. Now that Carson, one of the pre-eminent brain surgeons in America, has become a viable candidate for president, the left has labelled him everything awful it can come up with. One left-wing columnist, Charles Blow of The New York Times, even disparaged his intelligence.
But there were two attacks made this past week that should be beyond the pale even for the left.
The first was that Carson "blamed the victims" in the Roseburg, Oregon, community college mass murder.
How did that happen?
On Fox News, Carson noted that "the poor families of those individuals had to be hurting so badly." One of the hosts then made the following comment: "Dr. Carson, if a gunman walks up and puts a gun at you and says, 'What religion are you?' that is the ultimate test of your faith."
To which Carson responded: "I'm glad you asked that question. Because not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can't get us all.'"
He was asked, in essence, what he would do. Whether one agrees or disagrees with what he says he would do, it was hardly "blaming the victims."
Yet, that is what the left accuses of him doing.
Chris Matthews on MSNBC: "Why would someone running for president ... lay the blame on those young people in Oregon who were just killed by a mass murderer?"
New York Daily News headline: "2016 contender Ben Carson defends remarks criticizing victims of Oregon shooting."
It was a grotesque libel.
But even that libel might have even outdone by the reaction to Carson's comments about the Holocaust and guns: "The likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed."
Those comments were actually labeled anti-Semitic.
Now, while "greatly diminished" is debatable, the general view strikes me as simple common sense: Why wouldn't it have been a good thing if many Jews in 1930s Europe had had weapons? Of course it would not have prevented the Holocaust, but it might have saved some lives; and just as important, it would have enabled armed Jews to die fighting rather than to die unarmed and with no ability to fight.
If Jews in Europe had been asked, "Would you like to be armed when the Nazis come to round you up?" what do Carson's critics think the great majority of European Jews would have answered? Indeed, what would the critics themselves answer?
No normal person thinks that armed Jews would have prevented the Holocaust (nor did Carson make such a claim). But no normal person should think that it would have not have been a good thing if many European Jews had weapons. The hallowed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began with the Jews in the Ghetto possessing a total of 10 handguns. Imagine if they had a thousand.
In The Washington Post, David Kopel of the Cato Institute, who teaches Advanced Constitutional Law at the University Denver Sturm College of Law, cited the diaries of Jews who died in the Warsaw Ghetto. They expressed unalloyed joy at being able to kill some of their Nazi tormentors, and deep regret about not having been armed and been able to fight back sooner than they did.
But even if one believes that Carson and Kopel are wrong, how could one characterize Carson's comments as "anti-Semitic" or "blaming the victims [the Jews]"? How could one label statements expressing the wish that the Jews of the Holocaust had been armed "anti-Semitic"? Yet, among others, a contributing editor to the Forward, a leading Jewish newspaper, wrote that these remarks were "profoundly anti-Semitic, immoral and disgusting." And Carson was attacked by prominent Jews in Time and by the Anti-Defamation League.
The left is in full-blown smear-Carson mode. He is, after all, the left's worst nightmare — a black Republican who is brilliant, kind and widely admired, including by many blacks.
It is a rule of left-wing life that black Republicans must have their names and reputations destroyed. The left knows that if blacks do not vote overwhelmingly Democrat, Democrats cannot win a national election.
So, the smearing of Dr. Ben Carson has just begun.