Monday, July 5, 2010

David Barton's revisionist claim on Founders Friday is bogus

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On his Founders Friday show on Fox, Glenn Beck's guest was 
David Barton, founder and President of Wall Builders, an organization 
committed to tearing down the wall in the United States between church 
and state. At one point, Barton made a claim that just sounded suspicious. 
Remember Ross' lesson # 8: "...I think we can tell errors where we cannot 
tell what is true (too complex, too subtle, too controversial)."
Barton explaining historical revisionism
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. 
BartonWhen 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….
Was Ross right in this case? No one in Beck’s audience knew this; Beck 
didn’t know this. Something didn't sound right with Barton's claim. 
Extensive research on historical revisionism found nothing close to what 
Barton claimed except from Barton himself and someone else using 
Barton as a reference. Even more astounding information about Barton's 
claim will be shown below, but first, what exactly is historical revisionism?
Readers who know exactly what historical revisionism can skip down to 
barely over half way  to: David Barton's own words.
Historical Revisionism
re·vi·sion·ism   (r-vzh-nzm)
1. Advocacy of the revision of an accepted, usually long-standing 
view, theory, or doctrine, especially a revision of historical events 
and movements.
2. A recurrent tendency within the Communist movement to 
revise Marxist theory in such a way as to provide justification 
for a retreat from the revolutionary to the reformist position.
As the word implies, historical revisionism is the exercise whereby 
historians revise their opinions on historical events in the face of 
new evidence. It is an essential part of the history writing process. 
"Revisionism" (with quotes) is a distortion of history practiced by 
persons, usually inspired by antisemitism or a desire to rehabilitate 
the Nazis, or both. They deny that the Holocaust -- the attempted 
extermination of the Jews by Nazi Germany -- took place. The 
more accurate description of "revisionists", is "deniers". They 
describe themselves as revisionists because they think it gives them 
an air of respectability.[Emphasis added]

Historical revisionism the reexamination and reviewing of the stories told as history
with an eye to updating them with more recently discovered, more 
unbiased, or more accurate information. Broadly, it is the approach 
that history as it has been traditionally told may not be entirely accurate 
and may be subject to review.
The term historical revisionism is also, however, used by propagandists 
who wish to rewrite history to better support an ideological (and often 
less accurate) position. The term in this sense is most strongly associated 
with Holocaust denial.
So far there is a tie to Communist movement, but it's internal to that movement. 
There's also an idea that revisionism is tied to propagandists, but are there any 
references to American Marxists revising history as Barton claimed?
Revisionist history is complicated by the fact that people's identities are 
strongly linked to their histories; challenging long-held claims about past 
events draws criticism and controversy. The field itself isn't cut and dry 
-- revisionist historians work from angles. Often, revisionist history is 
from one of three major perspectives:
·                     Social or theoretical perspective to re-examine the past 
through different lenses
·                     Fact-checking perspe ctive to correct the record of past events
·                     Negative perspective that views revisionism as an intentional 
effort to falsify or skew past events for specific motives
Since the days of ancient Greek and Roman scholars, such as Plutarch and 
Tacitus, people have been editing recorded history. But modern historical 
revisionism originated in the 20th century, after the first global military 
conflict that shocked the world: World War I. [Emphasis added] The aftermath 
of the war would alter the way scholars and laymen alike viewed historical 
There was more on this from the same website:
Just like a journalist must report events devoid of bias, so must the historian
But complete objectivity is nearly impossible since history often takes the 
form of a continuous, chronological narrative. That sense of continuity helps 
us grasp concepts, but in reality, events don't happen always in perfect 
sequence like a trail of dominos. The roots of modern revisionism sprang 
from that theoretical struggle for objectivity.
Once the dust settled to some degree after World War I, historians were left 
with the enormous task of sorting through the rubble. How would the 
military conflict be depicted in the years to come? How did the countries 
involved contribute to the war? Attempting to answer such questions, 
historians realized that complete objectivity was impossible. Even 
choosing what to include and omit about the war felt subjective.  
[Emphasis added]
Barton's rhetoric was matched on the Probe Ministries website.
Many historians have wanted to secularize our founders. Take this quote from
W.E.Woodward. He wrote that "The name of Jesus Christ is not mentioned even 
once in the vast collection of Washington's published letters."

At the bottom of that article was: Suggested Reading
David BartonOriginal Intent (Aledo, TX: WallBuilders Press, 1996), Chapter 16.

David Barton's own words
Here is what David Barton himself wrote on his own website:
There were many other significant issues that led to our original Fourth of July; 
so why aren't Americans familiar with the rest? Because in the 1920s, 30s, and
 40s, a group of secular-minded writers (including Charles and Mary Beard, 
W. E. Woodward, Fairfax Downey, and others) began penning works on 
American history that introduced a new paradigm. For this group, economics 
was the only issue of importance, so they began to write texts accordingly 
(their approach is now described as "the economic view of American history" 
and since the 1960s has been widely embraced throughout the education 
community). Consequently, since "taxation without representation" was the
economic grievance in the Declaration, it became the sole clause that Americans 
As a result, God is no longer visible in American history; and His absence is now
construed as a mandate for secularism.
Americans have been subjected to "revisionism" - defined by the dictionary as 
"the revision of an accepted, usually long-standing view; especially a revision 
of historical events and movements."  [Barton adds] Revisionism attempts to 
alter the way a people sees its history in order to cause a change in public policy.
I have spent years collecting thousands of original and priceless documents from
American history in general and black history in particular; God's fingerprints 
are evident throughout. [Emphasis added]
Barton's revision of Barton's revisionism revisited
A "historian" can determine that "God's fingerprints are evident" in American history 
has the gall to make claims on The Glenn Beck Show that no one supports, not 
even David Barton himself! When Barton claimed that "The term revisionist 
actually became official in 1903 and is part of Marxian, socialist propaganda.," 
he would have been far more accurate if he had replaced "in 1903" with on the 
Glenn Beck Show and "Marxian, socialist" with reactionary Christian as follows:" 
The term revisionist actually become official on the Glenn Beck Show and is 
part of reactionary Christian propaganda. 
The facts of history do not support Beck's and Barton's revised version. 
From Mother Jones magazine, Susan Jacoby wrote: "Revisionist rhetoric
notwithstanding, the founders left God out of the Constitution?and it 
wasn't an oversight." From that report:
For the 21st-century apostles of religious correctness, the godless Constitution
—how could those framers have forgotten the most important three-letter word 
in the dictionary?—poses a formidable problem requiring the creation of 
tortuous historical fictions that include both subtle prevarication and 
bald-faced lies.[Emphasis added]
Religious reactionaries of the 18th century, by contrast, were honest in 
their attacks on the secularism of the new Constitution. One North Carolina 
minister observed with forthright disgust, during his state's ratification debate, 
that the abolition of religious tests for officeholders amounted to nothing less 
than "an invitation for Jews and pagans of every kind to come among us.
The Reverend John M. Mason, a fire-breathing New York minister, declared 
the absence of God in the Constitution "an omission which no pretext 
whatever can palliate" and warned that Americans would "have every reason 
to tremble, lest the Governor of the universe, who will not be treated 
with indignity by a people more than by individuals, overturn from its 
foundation the fabric we have been rearing, and crush us to atoms in 
the wreck."
The marvel of America's founders, even though nearly all of the new 
nation's citizens were not only Christian but Protestant, was that they 
possessed the foresight to avoid establishing a Christian or religious government 
and instead chose to create the first secular government in the world. That the 
new Constitution failed to acknowledge God's power and instead 
ceded governmental authority to "We the People…in order to form a more 
perfect Union" was a break not only with historically distant European 
precedents but with recent American precedents, most notably the 1781 
Articles of Confederation, which did pay homage to "the Great Governor 
of the World," and the Declaration of Independence, with its majestic 
statement that "all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain 
unalienable rights."
Trust worthy?
On Founders Fridays, Christian revisionist history is used for propaganda 
to make people wrongly believe that the framers created a Christian 
government. They do this to affect public policy!
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      Anonymous said...

      Today's politcos have taken many words and phrases and forced them into meaning things that are not dictionary compatible, and these words and phrases never meant.
      For instance;
      Progress, i.e. Progressive- this is a good thing unless you're reality-challenged.

      Tax and spend - taxing and spending are the only reasons to ever form a representative government. The alternative is pure anarchy, every man and woman is on their own.

      Conservative- they have misconstrued the true meaning of conservative. Just read the definition. Conservation. And what is it they want to conserve? The present state of affairs that the hate so much?

      The list is long, my laptop battery is weak.
      Gotta go!

      jammer5 said...

      There will always be multiple truths, regardless of whose truth it is. I think that's a given. But the degree in which agenda-oriented people go to further their particular brand of "truth" is the deciding factor on on what an outsider is willing to believe or not.

      For example: When Palin accused Obama of not allowing foreign ships in to assist with the oil spill because of the Jones Act, was she cognizant of the fact no foreign country had asked for a Jones Act bypass? Personally, I think she was, and used it to do nothing less than incite her listeners/readers.

      So when it comes to people like Beck, then the convoluted way he creates his vision of the truth leaves his listeners hearing exactly what they want to hear, and how they want to hear it. And the real losers are people who realize it as well as truth itself.

      So, ya, anybody can create a "truth" and make it sound real, but to create a truth and make it sound logical takes a showman like Beck. And he's damn good at it. Too bad his listeners are too stupid to realize it.

      jammer5 said...

      Your site is not firefox compatible, that's why I was having trouble posting :-)

      Lisa Houserman said...

      I now watch Beck just to keep an eye on him and you are totally right. As soon as I heard this goofy statement about 1902 or 03 or whatever it was, I just knew it was pure bull. Thanks again for your in depth investigating skills concerning Beck. I don't have all the time in the world to look up everything he says and this blog really helps because you provide proof. Wonderful work!!

      The Glenn Beck Review said...

      I appreciate this. There is a lot of research involved sometimes. I'm working on a post now about Beck's claim that progressive "big government" stifles innovation and inventions. What I found as I dug into this claim shows just the opposite. I hope to have this posted by tomorrow morning.

      Anonymous said...

      I didn't see the David Barton gig on Glenn Beck - let's face it, these people are entertainers and this was a gig - but I'm quite surprised that no one in the audience knew of the idea of Marxist revisionism. I learned about that when I was a child. We all did. We were all told that as soon as Lenin was gone, the party turned away from him. As soon as Stalin was gone, the party turned away from him. As soon as Krushchev was gone, the party turned away from him.

      No... Only stupid people who didn't pay attention in school, you know, the nowaday Conservatives. We all know them, you'll remember the one girl in high school who was in the band and loved her bandie gang-bangs? Yeah, she's one of the Tea Bagger, revising her own history. Or that other fella? You know the guy who was constantly stoned, but is now a regular church-going guy who wouldn't even let the faintest of sips of beer pass his lips?

      Conservatives are hell-bent on historic revisionism because Generation X is bored and wants its own civil war. And I know whose side I will be on. The US will certainly have no white majority once it's over. And good riddance to bad rubbish says this white guy.

      Anonymous said...

      "So far there is a tie to Communist movement...", only internally, but not to the American Marxist movement? Like that makes any difference? Oh, OK, the American Marxist are still swell people. I feel so much better.

      This alleged expose was the biggest waste of time, a perfect example of "so what" reporting I've seen in a while.

      "The Final Solution was just a German National Socialist policy, but it's NOT a policy of the AMERICAN Nazi Party." Gee, thanks for clearing that up....

      God, anybody that actually absorbed this tripe is brain dead. You people have "Beck Derangement Syndroome." Wake up and smell the Socialism.

      The Glenn Beck Review said...

      So what, Anonymous, so what David Barton is a pathological liar and a historical revisionist? If you think that there is "Socialism" in the Obama Administration, then it is you not thinking critically.

      Stop watching Fox "News" and start reading The Regressive Antidote. If you're not brain dead, you'll understand that Obama is a Liberal, not by any stretch of the (even braid dead) imagination, a Socialist.

      Anonymous said...

      People's perception of a situation are always baised to favor themselves. I get it all the time from any 2 employees involved in any dispute. It is always like they had their experience in two separate universes.Usually makes it hard to find where the real truth lies. Only human nature for people in power to skew the perception of thruth to push their agenda and will always be so.Winners get to write the history books. Hitler would be the world's greatest hero if he won according to any history written while he was still in power.Thousands or even hundreds of year later, it would be hard to tell what the "truth" was. Get used to it and just add that to your understanding of human nature and you will be less quick to judge after hearing only one side of an issue.

      The Glenn Beck Review said...

      Anonymous, yes. It's called selective perception. However, what Barton said on this show EVEN BARTON DOES NOT BELIEVE! I guess you reading comprehension is poor, or you just skimmed this post. Barton pulled that little ditty out of his rectum. He lied! This is not "judgement" after hearing on side of an argument; this is the results of fact checking this otherwise renown historical revisionist.

      Barton does exactly what he's accusing "Marxian, socialist propaganda" of doing!

      Anonymous said...

      I would tend to suggest that each of you read some original sources or sources with footnotes alluding to original sources. I think you will be interested to find that the majority of the other half are not brain dead Fox News lackeys. We are fellow Americans and we just happen to believe in how America was founded - not your wacko marxist utopia....

      Honestly, if you all want to sit here on your board with your 10 posts on it, that's fine. Go to the sites where the other sides views are posted. There will be 500 posts and none of them will refer to you all as brain dead stupid people.

      The Glenn Beck Review said...

      Anonymous, this post is documented with original sources, including the one that points to Barton writing something this shows he doesn't even believe what he wrote!

      Who, besides you, called the viewers of Fox "brain dead ... lackeys"? People who watch Fox do not want the news, although they think they do; they want a network that reaffirms their beliefs.

      No one here promotes Marxism or utopia. This blog was not established to stroke Beck's ego with praise. There are plenty of comments that amply show - like yours - "the other sides views."

      This board now has 125 posts on it, and it's growing every week. If you don't want to be considered one of the "stupid people," you might want to take an English course to deal with your grammar issues. How you torture the language makes your assault more than a little ironic.

      Anonymous said...

      "How you torture the language makes your assault more than a little ironic."

      Please review this sentence with your grade school English teacher.