Gosh, can we ask for somebody to learn from who actually knows something? Or is this too much to ask for in the land of intellectually moribund, room-temperature IQ conservatives? Personally, I have a problem with a teacher who is so profoundly ignorant of the course of American history that he thinks this nation’s borders were drawn by God.
Don’t you want a teacher who is familiar with the historical facts, who might have at least heard of some of the important treaties and events in American history? Or will we be content with George Washington chopping down a cherry tree and any other myth David Barton prefers to invent?
- 1783 – The Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War; confirming boundaries of new nation as Canada on north, Mississippi River on west, Florida on south
- 1796 – The Treaty of Madrid, which establishes contended boundaries with the Spanish colonies of Florida and Louisiana and guaranteed American navigation rights on the Mississippi River
- 1819 – The Adams-Onís Treaty, in which Spain ceded Florida to America for $5,000,000
- 1823 – The all-important Monroe Doctrine, based on a British proposal that Britain and the United Stateas agree to prohibit other European powers from colonizing America
Barton, an anti-Semite and homophobe, is very fond indeed of fellow bigot Huckabee, introducing him at the Rediscover God In America conference hosted by the hate group American Family Association (AFA). He praised the former Arkansas governor as the epitome of the “Black Robe Regiment” mentality of seeking to apply the Bible to every aspect of the culture.
In other words, Mike Huckabee is the champion of what I will call here the Theocracy Now Movement, seeking to overthrow America’s Constitution and impose a biblical theocracy on the country founded on the secular ideals of the European Enlightenment. Coming from a man who is a known serial abuser of the historical record, this is damning praise. There are many threats to the Constitution in Republican and Tea Party ranks, and should he elect to run in 2012, Mike Huckabee will be foremost among them.
Huckabee, who has previously stated that abortion is the biggest threat America faces, is equally fond of his co-dependent, saying that he wished every American would be forced, at gunpoint, to listen to every Barton broadcast.
For those of you not yet familiar with the aforementioned David Barton, he is in his own words, “the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage.”
Unfortunately, he knows nothing he can teach but lies. The forgotten history he speaks of is not unknown because it has been forgotten but because it never existed; it is a myth. The “religious” heritage Barton speaks of does not exist, and he seems as ill-informed about the Constitution as other conservatives, for example Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. (No surprise then that Bachmann selected Barton to teach her Constitution class for the congressional freshman class – the blind leading the blind).
And no, when Barton talks about wall building he is not talking about the constitutional wall of separation. Unaware, apparently, of the supposed “new covenant” spoken of by Paul of Tarsus, he is talking about the walls of Jerusalem in the very pre-Christian fifth century B.C.E.:
WallBuilders is a name taken from the Old Testament writings of Nehemiah, who led a grassroots movement to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore its strength and honor. In the same way, WallBuilders seeks to energize the grassroots today to become involved in strengthening their communities, states, and nation.
Fact: The “Nehemiah movement” was no more grassroots than the Tea Party; the project had been previously approved by the Persian King Artaxerxes who sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem. Judah, you see, was ruled by the Persian Empire. Grassroots movements didn’t take place in the Persian Empire unless the King of Kings ordered them to take place, so to speak. But I digress. I realize facts have little to do with David Barton, or he with them. After all, we can’t expect a man who never heard of the Treaty of Paris or the Monroe Doctrine to be aware of such ancient history:
WallBuilders is an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built – a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined. In accord with what was so accurately stated by George Washington, we believe that “the propitious [favorable] smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation which disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”
Fact: George Washington said no such thing. But again, that pesky issue of facts and David Barton….
Just to be clear: WallBuilders is a fundamentalist Christian-action group coming under the anti-American category of Christian Reconstructionism. Because of his extreme religious and political views, Barton has become a good fit for an increasingly polarized Republican Party, being hired by the RNC in 2004 as a political consultant and by November 2004 (a better term might be “lying coach”).
Barton is himself famous for a long list of dubious quotes he eventually admitted were problematic, arguing that “the quotes below have been documented in a completely acceptable fashion for academic works, they are currently “unconfirmed” which is an outright lie, since no unconfirmed quote can be said to be “completely acceptable…for academic works.” Clearly for Barton acceptable historicity will have us back to George Washington chopping down cherry trees.
It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.
— George Washington
We have staked the whole future of American civilization, nor upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves … according to the Ten Commandments of God.
— James Madison
These quotes and the others listed are repeated promiscuously by conservatives like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. An example:
BECK for March 5, 2010 GLENN BECK, HOST: Welcome to THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM. (…)
But let me give you the words of George Washington, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” You know what? There was one thing the kids in this video had right. Our educational system is failing them.
No, your lying coach is failing you, Glenn.
You can find it on t-shirts:
Here I have to ask a question: What is it, exactly, Mr. Huckabee, we were meant to learn from this man? How to lie? But don’t underestimate David Barton. He is, like Huckabee himself, a dangerous man and has insinuated himself via the Republican Party into positions of influence and power, including not only the Texas Schoolbook Massacre but the Junior ROTC, for whom he penned an essay about the “myth” of separation of church and state.
The only thing David Barton is qualified to teach is an entry level course called “Historical Revisionism for Dummies 101.”
Of course, Barton claims that historical revisionism is a dirty leftist trick:
Barton: The term revisionist actually became official in 1903 and is part of Marxian, socialist propaganda…That’s a term that they invented. And they said, the reason you do this is because you want to separate people from the old and move them in a new direction. You want to evolve society. You want transformational change. Revisionism was identified as a tool by which you can transform a culture. So what we started doing is we had to make all these guys look bad. Otherwise we’ll get attached to them. So we got to make them look like a bunch .….[inaudible]
Beck: Did anybody know that? I didn’t know that.
Barton: When you want to sever yourself from the past, you got to make them look really bad. You got to make them look like racists, a bunch of bigots, atheists, agnostics….
Nobody knew it, Disciple Glenn, because Barton made it up. Rather like your own explosive rants: “Why is nobody talking about this?” For the same reason, Glenn: You made them up.
Perhaps, since Barton likes to make history up as he goes along, “off the cuff” as it were, he could also teach “Inventing History for Dummies 101.”
There are many other problems with Barton’s pretense of being a historian. He claims that American evangelicals of the colonial era opposed slavery and blamed Britain for it but the reverse is true: it was evangelicals of Britain’s Church of England membership who said slavery was unbiblical, while American evangelicals believed it was scriptural (opposition did not develop until the 1830s-40s and even then was a minority ‘liberal’ position). And as noted by Right Wing Watch, he seems incapable of comprehending that the last forty years of history occurred at all.
So I guess I can revise my above claim to say that he can teach “Forgetting Inconvenient History for Dummies 101.”
The plain truth is that David Barton is not qualified to teach history – any history. The only history he appears to know is the history he invents, and historical analysis is not about turning historical facts on their head in order to suit some ideological need. We must recognize, as human beings, that the historical record will not always be to our liking, or not always benefit the needs of the present. We must either recognize this, and accept it, or abandon the pretense that the last few thousand years of history happened at all and that something useful can be learned from them. What is at stake here is our common heritage as human beings. Will we trade it away so lightly?