19 June 2011
Right-wingers are fond of making up history as they need. Whether it is from ignorance of what actually happened or just plain old dishonesty doesn't matter. The effect is the same -- they feed people an inaccurate and untrue vision of history, especially American history, to back up their own ridiculous beliefs. For them, history is little more than propaganda.
The media had a lot of fun with Sarah Palin last week when she said Paul Revere warned the British with gunshots and the ringing of bells that they weren't going to take American's guns. Any school child knows she was a long way from the truth, but I honestly think Palin spoke from ignorance. She didn't know what the real story was, so she gave her own version of it.
But there are much more insidious right-wingers out there spouting false history -- and they are fooling people (because they are telling them what they wish was true -- not what is true). One of the worst of these is David Barton (pictured), who claims to be a historian. Barton has regularly misused history to support his fringe right-wing christian views. He claims that Benjamin Franklin (and other founders) would have opposed "net neutrality" (although the idea of an internet was a couple of hundred years away). He also says the United States broke away from England because England supported slavery (completely ignoring the fact that the English outlawed slavery long before America did).
But a few days ago he may have come up with his most outrageous re-writing of American history yet. He now claims that the Founding Fathers debated the teaching of creationism versus evolution, and came down on the side of creationism. Here is his comment on the christian Daystar network:
"The founding fathers…already had the entire debate on creation/evolution…and you've got Thomas Paine, the least religious of the founding fathers, saying you got to teach creation science in the public school classroom, the scientific method demands it!"
He completely ignores the fact that Charles Darwin was not even born until 1809, did not publish On The Origin Of Species until 1859, and did not publish The Descent Of Man until 1871. He doesn't explain how the Founding Fathers could have known about and debated evolution decades before the idea was even presented.
And this is the "historian" lauded by many on the right like Rep. Joe Barton. Mike Huckabee even said that Americans (including children) should be forced at gunpoint to listen to Barton's version of history. But since facts are not important in right-wing politics and economics, I guess there's no reason to assume they should be important in their version of history either.
Posted by Ted McLaughlin