Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

A Thought on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s Biography

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Having had the opportunity to meet the governor twice, here is but one thought.

His official state biography – which may be found here: http://governor.alabama.gov/governor.aspx – has these comments about him:

“Dr. Bentley has founded a number of small businesses, the most successful of which is Alabama Dermatology Associates. As President of Alabama Dermatology Associates, Dr. Bentley managed the practice’s growth into one of the largest dermatology practices in the Southeastern United States.

“Dr. Bentley was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2002 and served two terms in the State House. He declared his candidacy for Governor in 2009.

Dr. Robert J. Bentley ran for Governor to grow the economy and create jobs without increasing taxes or spending. He believes there should be more transparency and accountability in Alabama’s government. He is a pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-second amendment conservative who believes in smaller and more limited government.

These three paragraphs are entirely in context, in order, and unedited. They are verbatim.

From my experiences, the governor seems personable enough, and I’m certain he’s a fine gentleman. I have no experience or interaction with him as a healthcare professional, and have no reason to suspect he is anything other than a seasoned dermatologist, with sound medical acumen.

What I’m about say next has nothing to do with him personally. It is not ad hominem.

Does it seem even slightly incongruous that a man who takes justifiable pride in managing to grow a business “into one of the largest dermatology practices in the Southeastern United States would want to come to government to make it small?

Is not his experience in making things big?

Isn’t that like hiring a baker whose renown and professional expertise is in making light and fluffy breads, pastries and other baked products to make crackers? Is it not peculiar, or even slightly odd?

It’s like hiring a pest exterminator with the expectation that they’ll actually do things to encourage pest infestation.

Wait… wait. Wasn’t that a type of theme for a famous novel? Folks who do things opposite what they have done? Such as Firemen who actually start fires, rather than extinguishing them? Who was that, and what was the title?

Wasn’t it Ray Bradbury, and Fahrenheit 451?

Here’s a rather succinct synopsis of the story (just in the case you’ve never read it):

“Set in the twenty-fourth century, Fahrenheit 451 introduces a new world in which control of the masses by the media, overpopulation, and censorship has taken over the general population. The individual is not accepted and the intellectual is considered an outlaw. Television has replaced the common perception of family. The fireman is now seen as a flamethrower, a destroyer of books rather than an insurance against fire. Books are considered evil because they make people question and think. The people live in a world with no reminders of history or appreciation of the past; the population receives the present from television.”

Incidentally, the title of the novel is neither accidental, nor inconsequential.

The temperature at which paper burns is 451° Fahrenheit.

Mr. Bradbury had this remark about his own work:

The hero is “a book burner who suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas and cry out silently when put to the torch.”

Here are a few thought provoking lines from Bradbury’s most renown novel:

• “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word `intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”

• “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.”

• “Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with.”

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