Barton Plays Historian Again (Poorly)

OneNewNow (“the day’s stories from a biblical perspective”) once again features David Barton, the prominent right-wing political activist who pretends to be an accomplished historian, in a story about social studies curriculum standards in Texas public schools. You can read the whole thing for yourself, but a few passages stuck out for us.

First, Barton praises the new standards — adopted last month by the State Board of Education — for focusing on the concept of “American exceptionalism.”

“There is a reason that we’re the only nation in the world that does not average a revolution every 30 to 40 years; there’s a reason that we have four percent of the world’s population [and] 25 percent of the world’s wealth.”

Really, David? We think there are a lot of things that make America an exceptional nation, and we think students should learn about them. But is the lack of political revolutions unique to America?

Britain, France and many other Western European countries certainly haven’t been struggling through revolutions in recent decades. It’s been centuries (1688, in fact) since the so-called “Glorious Revolution” overthrew King James II of England, for example. And we could name many other countries that haven’t seen a revolution in quite a long time. The United States is hardly the only one.

Barton also praises requirements that students memorize key passages of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Not everyone likes that requirement, heĀ  claims in the OneNewsNow piece:

“…These standards really are a throwback, and this is pretty scary to a lot of people who want to see America change fundamentally in a new direction.”

And who would that be? Can he identify any of the supposed evil-doers who don’t want students to learn about the nation’s founding documents? Of course not.

We would, however, prefer that students learn the truth about what is in those great documents. To that point: the article ends by noting that the new standards include a requirement that students “compare and contrast” the phrase “separation of church and state” with the Founders’ intent to protect religious freedom — as if separation of church and state isn’t a key constitutional principle protecting religious freedom. Most constitutional scholars, numerous Supreme Court decisions and 68 percent of Texans agree that it is, but politicians on the State Board of Education say otherwise — and they decide what will be in the standards.

6 thoughts on “Barton Plays Historian Again (Poorly)

  1. What made America a superpower in the 20th century were our vast oil reserves at time the internal combustion engine was becoming the dominant form of transportation. When wind power was the dominant form of energy The Netherlands ruled the roost. When it was coal England was the top dog. American exceptionalism? We had and have some sharp minds to be sure. Although we certainly don’t have that market cornered.

    I’m surprised David didn’t let us know that oil was placed here intentionally by God when he created the earth 6,000 years ago. I’d expect that from such a towering intellect such as Barton.

    I’ve been reading up on the Rapture, which McLeroy and company were selling to Texans with their “One World Government” nonsense. A couple of conclusions: 1) I can’t see any resemble between my Christian background (the study of the life and teachings of Jesus) and Rapture theory. It’s like they are two completely separate religions. 2) People that buy into this Rapture thing are stone-cold lunatics, fruitloops, kook jobs, completely insane individuals that have lost all touch with reality. This stuff they’ve concocted isn’t even in the Bible, it’s just a stoned-out interpretation. They need to be in rooms with padded walls, not on the Texas School Board.

  2. Actually, the Seventies were pretty much revolutionary period. Up the establishment, and all that. Drop out, and turn on! The Washington Mall awash with flower people waving enemy flags, burning our own, and getting high.

    A mild recesssion in the Seventies brought the power to the people back to the paycheck, and the worst dressed generation in history just faded away, save for some really good music.

    We dio have revojutions every four years, it’s called an election. It wasn’t until the street people learned that getting out the vote, and getting organized in local politics, that any of their pipedreams became laws and appropriations. Remember the Snail Darter that shut down power transmission in Arizona?

    That which is exceptional is our Constitutional system which is the Gold Standard for constitutions world wide, especially since WW 2. Any tin horn dictatorship today has to have a carbon of our constitution for any pretense of democratic rule. Saddam was the “President” of Iraq. No one can profess to be a national leader by using any other title, except maybe prime minister.

    A hundred years ago, there were barely a half dozen republics in the world, and that didn’t include England, Germany, Spain, or Italy. After WW 1, many republics were tried, and many monarchies became more republican in form.

    AS a gold standard, it is, however, not as transferable as we would like. Many countries have tried, and failed because the legal systems there didn’t fit the Common Law that our Constitution is built on. Mexico has tried a number of times to copy the form of our Constitution but their legal and jurisprudential systems don’t ft so well.

    Russian and China have bills of rights in emulation of ours and of the French Rights of Man.

  3. I don’t see any problem with students memorizing every one of our founding documents word for word. Most liberals and conservative have absolutely no idea what they say. Listen to the poppycock that so many politicians come up with when they mention what is or is not constitutional. Separation of church and state is not in the U.S. Constitution. It is a fundamental foundation of our civil liberties based on doctrine developed from the prohibition of the establishment of an official state religion. This was not only a guarantee for the protection of religious freedom, but also the protection against religious abuses, and pprotection of the right to have absolutely no religion. This was inserted into the first group of ammendments because of serious abuses to civil liberties by churches who were estabished religions during the colonial and confederation periods.
    Have we created wealth because God loves us? Why does this God not love the poor in America? God must be thrilled with the Chinese and Arabs these days.

  4. The Constitution does not use the wording “church and state” or “official state religion.” What the Constitution prohibits is exactly what it says: “no religious test,” Art. 6, and no law respecting an establishment of “religion.” It is “religion” itself which shall not be established by law or Congress or government at any level. In the USA, religion is to be voluntary, not established by law or government. Unfortunately, the Republican Party lies about what the Constitution commands, as it does about President Obama, for example, you may want to check out another TFN discussion at the following link: .