Ben Carson has not demonstrated that he understands pluralism or that he can craft a political economy suitable for investors and the flow of capital to businesses or households. For these reasons he should not be president of a political-economic-social jurisdiction whose economy is driven by a free market.
First, regarding pluralism. Dr. Carson’s recent comments over the weekend, where he stated that he would not advocate the selection of a Muslim for leader of the United States and that the Muslim faith is not consistent with the Constitution, struck me as philosophical output of a person who does not understand that America is a pluralistic society.
As a pluralistic society, where there are a multitude of competing interests, a national leader cannot afford to brush aside one interest in favor of another. He or she must find a way to balance these interests and find a way to reconcile them. If not then that is where the democratic component of American society will kick in: that leader will find themselves out of office in the next election.
Dr. Carson appears to believe that, as president, pluralism means choose one interest and promote only that interest. As the chief executive officer of American government, Dr. Carson won’t have that luxury. For example, what happens when his Department of Justice is faced with the issue of whether a practitioner of Islam has been discriminated against in the workplace? Would Dr. Carson’s apparent bias against Islam trump his duty under the law to protect the civil rights of all Americans?
What is also of interest is Dr. Carson’s flawed reading of the U.S. Constitution. Article II, which describes the eligibility requirements for and the selection of the president, makes no mention of a religious test for the office. How Dr. Carson draws the conclusion that Islam is out of step with the Constitution is a mystery. Then again, maybe Dr. Carson is referring to his physical constitution; that the particular practice of Islamic faith is so foreign to him that it makes him throw up. Even if that were the case, that is no reason for a blatant misread of the U.S. Constitution.
The divisiveness that Dr. Carson risks by advocating for a religious fringe is not good for the flow of capital in the United States. As head of state, the President should set the tone that America will stick to its egalitarian creed; that this is a political economy that does its best to avoid social disruption that may result from antagonizing religious and other cultural sects. The United States is not a third world or emerging market jurisdiction attempting to throw off the negative impacts of tribalism. It is supposed to represent a forward thinking and moving society. Dr. Carson needs to be reminded of this.