Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, October 1, 2009 12:49 am

Satire, certifiability or cerebrovascular accident: Orson Scott Card, the politics of delusion and the immorality of incompetence

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 12:49 am
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I am not much on sci-fi, so my gauge of Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card is that 1) I’ve actually heard of him, and 2) my friend Andy Duncan, a Real Writer whose excellent fantasy fiction inhabits some of the same literary precincts as sci-fi, seems to think well of him.

But giving Card the benefit of every possible doubt, there’s no way to read this piece as anything but satire, certifiability or cerebrovascular accident:

Meanwhile, I still remember that President Bush was called a liar constantly, even though – and I’m willing to stand by this – he was never found to have told a lie in his entire presidency.

Really? Because, thanks to Teh Googlez, we have no trouble finding documentation that Bush lied about:

  • Iraq’s possessing weapons of mass destruction in general and the status of its efforts to build a nuke in particular.
  • Whether our missile-defense system worked and whether we would deploy a missile-defense system that didn’t.
  • Whether we really needed to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • His tax-cutting record in Texas and the effects of his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
  • The inheritance tax, claiming that killing it would save family farms.
  • The process by which the Clinton EPA arrived at its limits on arsenic in drinking water.
  • Whether or not there was a scientific consensus on global warming (whether you agree with that consensus or not).
  • The viability of Social Security and the benefits to be derived from privatizing it. (And as screwed as we are now economically, just imagine how screwed we’d be if Congress had acted on those lies.)
  • The government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
  • Going after war profiteers.
  • Punishing the people who outed Valerie Plame.
  • The limits of executive power with respect to the other two branches of government.
  • Funding No Child Left Behind.
  • His Air National Guard service.
  • How many usable lines of cells his stem-cell research policy would make available.
  • Torture, at least for a while (he finally owned up, in an interview with ABC, to ordering waterboarding).
  • The costs of Medicare Part D.
  • The closeness of his relationship with Enron’s Ken Lay.
  • The health hazards faced by 9/11 rescue workers.

And, my personal favorite:

  • Saddam Hussein’s involvement in 9/11 and Osama bin Laden’s motivation for launching those attacks and whether those attacks could have been foreseen and whether they actually had been foreseen and how his administration responded to the fact that they were foreseen and whether and how his administration would fully investigate how and why those attacks happened and how much the nation was doing –and, in fact, would ever do on his watch — to prevent similar attacks in the future. (How secure are the chemical plants in YOUR town?)

Lest you accuse me of thinking that everything Bush ever said was a lie, let me rush to give him credit for one huge act of truth-telling: He proudly admitted his serial criminal violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, vowed to continue them and then basically dared anyone to do anything about it.

But the other stuff? Lies, plain and simple, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. (Hell, David Corn wrote a whole book about Bush’s lies and couldn’t compile an exhaustive list.)

And I think that on some level, Card knows this. So, engaging in what the lawyers call arguing in the alternative, he throws in this charming little caveat:

(Remember, a lie is when you knowingly make a false statement, not when you simply turn out to be wrong about something that you believed to be true.)

First of all, that’s a grossly inadequate standard, bordering on a lie itself, with respect to the accountability of the most powerful position on the planet, a political and military leader who holds the fortunes and even the lives of billions of people in his hands. With all the research capability at the fingertips of such a person, the appropriate definition of lying ought to be at least as expansive as the one under which every cub reporter works every day: It’s a lie if he knew or should have known that what he was saying was untrue.

And besides being disingenuous, that caveat of Card’s is just a little too precious, coming as it does from someone so used to talking about his political favorites as virtuous and his political adversaries as sinful: Card acts as if having been honestly mistaken about all these things would make it all OK.

Well, no, Scott, it wouldn’t. Given how badly “mistaken” Bush was on so many issues, and how little remorse he and his minions have showed for the number and the scope of his “mistakes,” and particularly for all the, you know, DEAD PEOPLE that resulted, for you to take this position displays, to be kind, staggering moral retardation.

It is, despite Card’s protestations and the best efforts of George W. Bush, still a mostly free country, so Card can spout nonsense like this and, for all I know, even wrangle the owners of a certain local weekly publication into paying him to do it. But when he spouts nonsense like this, he forfeits the right to be taken seriously as a person of either substance or values. Intellectually and ethically, he has just tossed himself into the remainder bin. Let’s hope he and his ilk gather lots of dust there.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009 11:11 am

Why does Orson Scott Card …

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 11:11 am
Tags: ,

hate America?

Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Remember, it’s OK to advocate overthrowing the government as long as you’re a right-wing loon.

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