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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Carson's Fake Tocqueville Quotation

Several sections of potential Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s 2012 book America the Beautiful were plagiarized from various sources, BuzzFeed News has found.
In many cases Carson cites the works that he plagiarizes in endnotes, though he makes no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from different authors.
The case is similar to a 2013 report from BuzzFeed News that found Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul plagiarized in his book while citing the works he copied in the footnotes. Paul’s book was eventually updated to include attribution.
In one instance, Carson cites wholesale from an old website that has been online since at least 2002, Socialismsucks.net.
In another example, he plagiarizes from two authors whose works he mentions in passing at earlier points in the book: Cleon Skousen, a conservative historian who died in 2006, and Bill Federer, another conservative historian, who Carson thanks in the acknowledgements for helping get his book published.
At one point, Dr. Carson does use a direct quotation, but it's totally fake.  He says that Tocqueville wrote:
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in the democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Tocqueville never wrote any such thing.  This bogus quotation has been circulating for years.  

As his source for the quotation, Carson does not cite Tocqueville, but a book by Federer.