Ben Carson Blames Addiction On 'Political Correctness'

By May Wilkerson 11/10/15

The new Republican frontrunner blames society's failure for our addiction woes. He also wants to reignite the drug war.

Ben Carson

Amid accusations that he has embellished parts of his biography, Republican presidential frontrunner Ben Carson has unveiled his thoughts on the drug war. Throughout his campaign, the retired neurosurgeon has continued to rail against the so-called “scourge” of political correctness, and while on Face the Nation Sunday, Carson claimed that it's actually driving the country to addiction.

When asked what he believes causes addiction and how it should be treated, Carson answered with a series of questions. "There are all kinds of addictions, and usually addictions occur in people who are vulnerable who are lacking something in their lives, so we really have to start asking ourselves what have we taken out of our lives in America?” he said. “What are some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the ladder of success so rapidly to the very pinnacle of the world and the highest pinnacle anyone else had ever reached, and why are we in the process of throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?”

Addiction has been at the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign. In New Hampshire, which will hold the country’s first primary election in 2016, voters cited drug abuse as the top problem facing the state, above jobs, the economy, and the Affordable Care Act.

At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a long-time advocate for more compassionate addiction treatment, talked about a friend of his who died from prescription painkillers. “There but for the grace of God go I,” he said. “It can happen to anyone.” Fellow Republicans like Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina also have spoken out about addiction, using their own personal stories to underscore the problem. But none have blamed addiction on alleged societal failings.

On the other side, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has also made addiction a key issue in her campaign. “It’s time we recognize as a nation that for too long, we have had a quiet epidemic on our hands,” she wrote in a September op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader. “Plain and simple, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, not a moral failing—and we must treat it as such.”

Carson, in contrast, seems to perceive addiction as the outcome of moral failings. Though he touched on heroin addiction, he mostly spoke out against the drug trade and advocated for the continuation of the War on Drugs. “There is a transportation of heroin through our southern borders that is unimaginable,” he said. “This is not a good thing for us. We need to not give up on this War on Drugs.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.