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Phyllis Schlafly

My purpose here is not to ridicule Phyllis Schlafly, a 90-year-old conservative intellectual. My purpose is to describe the mechanics of flawed thinking.

"Obama doesn't want America to believe that we're exceptional," Schlafly said this past week. "He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too. That's his attitude."

Is that really Obama's attitude? Schlafly is drawing from her personal big picture of the world to invent specifics that are not factual, rather than drawing from factual specifics to create an accurate picture. The issue here isn't whether the United States has been pursuing the best possible of anti-Ebola policies. The issue is the validity of Schlafly's thinking. Has Obama actually thought about making "us be just like everybody else" as Schlafly claims? Does Schlafly really know this is what Obama wants? Schlafly is trying to explain Obama, and explanation tempts her to embellish. She assumes a blur between President Obama pursuing the issue whether as a nation we are an "exceptional people" and, on the other hand, his choice regarding information and advice from medical experts on how to control the contagion — a big failure by Schlafly to differentiate.

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