A few days ago, we talked about how the ‘laptop’ theory about an ancient Greek engraving is easily far-fetched, given lack of proper historical evidences that support such an incredible conjecture. Well this time around, an American presidential candidate has probably wrongly attributed a quote to a well-known and rather infamous historical figure. We are talking about Dr Ben Carson and how he has seemingly misquoted Joseph Stalin. According to Carson – “Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality.” But the predicament with the statement is that like numerous other internet ‘quotes’, actual research has never been able to clarify that this sentence was ever uttered by Stalin.
Now traversing any kind of political undertone, Snopes had this to say about the probable misquote –
Proving a negative is often an uncertain proposition, but our reasons for believing this quotation to be of dubious origin are:
We have yet to find a presentation of this quotation that references a verifiable source for it. Nearly all reproductions of this quotation simply offer it as an undated, unsourced statement attributed to Stalin.
Searching collections of Stalin’s speeches, writings, interviews, and other statements (such as the Josef Stalin Internet Archive and the University of Pennsylvania’s online library of Stalin documents) fails to turn up any reference to this quotation.
If Stalin had truly made this statement, we would expect to find references to it dating back to his lifetime. However, although Stalin died in 1953, the oldest expression of the “healthy body” quotation we’ve yet located is from 1983 (in a letter to the editor of the Lawrence Journal-World).
Snopes has also talked about how it was practically unlikely that Stalin would praise Americans (or at least the American values) when Soviet Union administration was nigh at the height of its power and tendencies of oligopoly. To that end, it is actually more likely that the dictator used phrases that would associate America or capitalism with negative connotations. And lastly (and quite remarkably), Ben Carson used this ‘questionable’ quote as a rousing closing statement, as opposed to a passing point in Saturday’s CBS Republican presidential debate.