I have a lot of negative things to say about Dr. Ben Carson but my understanding is that he was a tremendously talented pediatric neurosurgeon. And when you are separating conjoined twins or performing an hemispherectomy, it seems to me that one of the key requirements for success is an unusual capacity for attention to detail. Yes, it’s important to have better than average hand-eye coordination and a talent for three-dimensional reasoning skills, but you also need to make sure that you’ve prepared for every contingency and understand the details of every task you will have to undertake. Somehow, however, these skills simply haven’t translated from the surgical field into the world of letters.

Dr. Ben Carson apologized Thursday for plagiarizing parts of his book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great and said he’s working with his editors to “rectify the situation.”

I think Dr. Carson needs to set aside his quest for the things that made this country great and focus on the things that made him a great surgeon. For some, plagiarism is the result of carelessness, but with people like Carson it is the act of a simple scoundrel.

[Cross-posted at Booman Tribune]

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com