Dr. Ben Carson made headlines over the weekend when he compared abortion to slavery in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," wondering what would have happened if abolitionists had said, "I think it's wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do."
It wasn't the most surprising part of the interview. (He also recalled the time he tried to stab a guy.) The conservative neurosurgeon has a long history of drawing analogies to history's greatest atrocities.
In his short political career, Carson has developed two favorite targets for historical hyperbole: American slavery and the Holocaust. Below is a list of issues (the ones we could find) that Carson believes warrant the comparison.
The Affordable Care Act
In 2013, not long after he first became known as a national political figure, Carson told the audience at the Christian Values Voters Summit that Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to America since slavery. He went on to assert that the law is slavery, in a way, “because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”
After the mass shooting this month at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Carson said that the Holocaust “would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed." Carson made similar claims in his 2014 book “One Nation,” saying, "One can only wonder what would’ve happened if people had not tolerated the foolishness of Adolf Hitler’s appeal to the baser instincts of greed and envy and his institution of an official weapons confiscation program.”
In 2014, discussing what he called the "PC police," Carson told Breitbart News that we live in a “Gestapo age.” He continued the analogy: “I mean, very much like Nazi Germany—and I know you’re not supposed to say Nazi Germany, but I don’t care about political correctness—you know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”
The Obama administration
This may be Carson’s most common Nazi analogy. As far back as 2009, he has suggested time and again that the country is on the brink of becoming Nazi Germany. Over the years, he's made the comparison more direct, suggesting in 2014 that people should read "Mein Kampf" to understand the Obama administration.
The progressive movement
In 2014, during a campaign event for Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby, Carson told the crowd that the progressive movement was trying to "fundamentally change who we are.” "There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany," he said. "Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believe in? They did not, and you saw what happened."
Carson’s comment on "Meet the Press" was not the first time he had invoked slavery to talk about abortion. At an anti-Planned Parenthood rally in July, Carson drew a connection between the procedure and the slave trade, saying, “We have just gradually slid in terms of our morals to a point where we don’t really care about the killing of human beings. That is the bad news. The good news is I think we are changing. … There was a time in this country where there were people who thought it was OK to own other people. … We fortunately as a society matured."
BONUS: Marriage equality
Though slavery and the Holocaust are clearly Carson’s favorite historical analogies, he does occasionally dig elsewhere in the annals of history for his cautionary tales. In the case of marriage equality, Carson believes we should go as far back as the fall of Rome to understand what’s at stake when two people of the same sex wed. In his 2012 book "America the Beautiful," Carson wrote, “If we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire.” As Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski has documented, Carson has been making similar comments since at least 1997.