Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said in February 2012 that "political correctness" has caused Americans to fall "silent, very much like the people in Nazi Germany were silent."
The now-retired neurosurgeon drew the comparison to Nazi Germany during an interview at Patrick Henry College, in the course of explaining how "we've dumbed things down" in the American education system. He noted that in "international surveys looking at the ability of students in multiple countries to solve math and science problems," "we rank right near the bottom," then contended that the country's evolution into "a politically correct situation" "starting at about the '30s" precipitated this intellectual decline.
"And the process as we've evolved more and more into a politically correct situation, we don't even want to talk about what the family's supposed to do versus what the school's supposed to do, what the responsibilities are of fathers and mothers," he argued. "It really has degenerated to that level."
Carson then claimed that "our whole society" hasn't degenerated to that level, but that "the loudest voices and particularly the media has tried to pretty much force" political correctness on people, before explaining that "exactly the same thing will happen to the freedoms that we enjoy in America" that happened under the Third Reich.
"You know this country was supposed to be for, of, and by the people but the people have become silent, very much like the people in Nazi Germany were silent. Most of them did not agree with what Hitler was doing but they kept their mouths shut and you see what happened," he said. "And exactly the same thing will happen to the freedoms that we enjoy in America and the kind of nation that we've had if people don't speak up."
Carson said that people must order political correctness to, "Take a hike."
"They need to rise up, they need to say to political correctness: 'Take a hike. This is who we are, this is what we believe in, these are principles that allowed us to become the pinnacle nation in the world in record time and we're not about to throw them out of the window for the sake of political correctness.'"
This is not the only time Carson has warned of the grave threat "political correctness" poses to the United States by making a comparison to an infamously doomed society. He has made a similar case that it could lead America to "go the same route as Ancient Rome."
In the interview at Patrick Henry College, Carson also compared the arguments of abortion rights advocates to those slave-owners made "decades ago."
"Woman: do you really have a right to kill the baby just because it's in your body?" he asked. "You know, it sort of, it harkens back to the argument, you know, decades ago about slavery. When slave-owners thought, 'I own this person, I should be able to do anything to them that I want.'"
He made similar comments at a pro-life banquet also in 2012.
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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