Ben Carson: Extremist riots the work of those seeking to 'fundamentally change society'

HUD Secretary decried Big Tech crackdown on speech by President Trump and conservative allies, saying lawsuits by censorship victims will eventually get to the Supreme Court.

Updated: January 16, 2021 - 10:43am

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Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said he was worried in light of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol that America's social fabric could be unraveling at the hands of those who want to "fundamentally change society" by first creating "major dissatisfaction with the way society exists currently."

In an interview with "Just the News AM" television program, Carson responded to comments from former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who said that the mob invasion of the U.S. Capitol "was clearly designed in advance" and "called into question the future fate of the United States as a state."  

"Well, there is no question that something is going on here," Carson said. "You know, I'm not a big conspiracy theorist, but there is obviously something going on. And we see it every time that there's a major gathering, be it in Seattle, be it in Portland, be it in Washington D.C."

A pivotal international figure during the latter years of the Cold War, Gorbachev in 1991 was briefly held captive during a failed attempt to overthrow him in the Soviet Union. The Soviet communist coup conspirators favored a hard line over Gorbachev's liberalized approach to running the country. Although Gorbachev faced down the plotters, the incident is widely viewed as having ushered in the demise of the Soviet Union.

Carson said he was determined that "America is not going to go down the road of becoming China or Soviet Union."

Carson decried a crackdown by technology companies seeking to quell speech by President Trump and conservative allies, saying that big tech companies will be sued by those that they are censoring and deplatforming, and the lawsuits will eventually get to the Supreme Court.

"It virtually always comes back to bite you, and it always expands," Carson said. "People who are the targets today need to recognize it's a moving target. Eventually, you'll have the people persecuting you today as the ones who are the targets of persecution. At some point, somebody has to be the adult in the room." 

Carson said the tech companies "are putting themselves at tremendous risk" by censoring people, "they are making their own bed." Carson said he feared the pathway that technologists were taking by curtailing freedom of expression and possibly engaging in monopolistic practices.

"Why is the First Amendment there?" Carson said. "Why was it so important for people to be able to think what they want to think and to say what they want to say? That's an incredibly important factor when it comes to a free society. And if we're willing to give that up, what else are we going to be willing to give up? And where does that lead?"

Carson cited a concept of "eight stages of civilization" described by sociologists and anthropologists documenting the rise and fall of the world's great civilizations. Under this framework, formulated by 18th century Scottish philosopher Alexander Tyler, societies move from struggling for freedom to obtaining it, gaining abundance, then falling into complacency and finally bondage.

"And the last one is tyranny," Carson said. "We're heading that way at a rapid pace. And we as Americans are going to have to decide, do we like our system? Do we like our Constitution? Do we like the freedoms that we have? Or do we want another type of system, where somebody else makes decisions and controls. What's going on? Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it every single day. And the minute you decide that you're just going to be complacent and whatever will be will be, your freedoms will be gone."