Lèse Majesté

In case you haven’t heard, the chattering classes are all atwitter about a talk given at the recent National Prayer Breakfast by one Ben Carson, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins.

At the podium, standing just a few feet away from President Obama, Dr. Carson spoke about several matters of national policy — in particular, deficit spending, health care, and taxation — in a way that marked him as, let’s just say, less than fully supportive of Mr. Obama’s approach.

This in turn evoked a range of responses. It was catnip for mainstream “conservative” sorts — who immediately, with the hope that springs eternal, began having moist thoughts about 2016 — while for more than a few liberal observers it was shocking effrontery.

I thought it was a pretty good speech overall, though very long-winded and rather a little too attentive to the good works of Dr. Ben Carson (not to mention being awfully secular for a prayer-breakfast, I should have thought — but hey, what do I know about prayer-breakfasts). It certainly warmed me to see the president tweaked from the podium like that; it was pleasant to watch him trying to swallow some of his own medicine. (I’m guessing, here, that some difficulty with deglutition must have been why Mr. Obama kept lifting his chin in the air as Dr. Carson began to warm to his topic.)

Dr. Carson does seem to have done some good work with his charitable foundation, which encourages children to read. It’s nice also to see this sort of work done by private associations — the intermediary, self-organizing layer of civil society that the liberal urge to bring everything under the direct central supervision of the Federal sovereign continuously seeks to destroy. Perhaps that was part of the reason Dr. Carson spent so much time talking about it.

Anyway, watch the speech here, if you haven’t already seen it.

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