I was reminded recently of the classic Terry Gilliam movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the story of the titular character and his theater troupe who venture to a town under military siege in order to, seemingly, tell tales of the Baron’s fantastic adventures, which turn out in the end to be much more than they seem. And then I ran across this blog post by Paul Campos asking whether Ben Carson is a pathological liar:
When one remembers that the point of Carson’s elaborate fabrication was to emphasize his exceptional honesty, the question arises whether Carson is a pathological liar, that is, someone who lies compulsively, and in ways that are so excessive and out of control that they seem unconnected to any practical purpose. (Carson’s real life story is compelling enough that concocting bizarrely improbable tales of this sort seems both totally unnecessary and potentially self-destructive).
It’s also possible that Carson is so severely narcissistic that he is actively delusional, and is no longer capable of distinguishing his fabrications about his past from his actual past. In other words, by now Carson’s transformation of a trivially embarrassing incident into an elaborate story of providential delivery and personal triumph may be so complete in his own mind that he has literally forgotten that he made it all up.
Perhaps then, Dr. Ben’s plan is similar the Baron’s: to save America through the power of fiction and fantasy. It might just work. Though personally, if we were to go that route, I’d prefer we elected Dr. Seuss. (Yes, I know he’s dead; what’s your point?)