Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Benefits of Doubt 2

@ghall49 (Gerald Hall) writes: "Birthers are a great example of how impervious delusional beliefs are to reason and evidence. They only accept what they want to believe."

According to the BBC, a growing number of Americans (the so-called Birthers) doubt the circumstances of Obama's birth [Q&A Obama's Birth Certificate]. Some of them suggest that he might possibly be Kenyan or Indonesian.

Birthers do not seem overly concerned at the absence of evidence for either of these suggestions. Obviously the absence of evidence merely proves that the evidence has been destroyed by the conspirators. For them to feel morally justified in rejecting the authority of the elected president, it is apparently sufficient that there is a smidgeon of doubt about the documentation that the President has produced. The fact that Obama is supported by a "fairly significant faction" puts him into the same historical category as the mediaeval antipopes.

Do Birthers actually believe that Obama is Kenyan? Or do they merely believe that he might be Kenyan, that he might as well be Kenyan? Or that, like Macduff, he was not of woman born? Birthers don't have to be certain that Obama is this or that, they merely have to be uncertain that he is American. The real delusion is not about the circumstances of Obama's birth, but about the relevance of these doubts to the American polity.

Meanwhile, some Birthers have discovered a further reason to deny President Obama the respect owing to a duly elected president. According to the latest theory, Obama's middle name is not Hussein or Mohammed but Lucifer.

Here's the method. First take the following verse from the Bible, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18). Now insert the Aramaic word for "lightning" (barak) and the Hebrew word for "from the heights" (bamah). Obama isn't just Kenyan, he's also the Antichrist?

Just the faintest possibility that he might be the Antichrist? Isn't that enough?

See also From Malcolm X to Barack Obama

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