*mexikaresistance.com Note: The racist rewriting of history continues...David Barton, WallBuilders’ resident liar and director of misinformation, is a symptom of a larger problem, and what I will call here for want of a better term “Bartonism” – bad as it is – is only the tip of the iceberg. It is really the conservative attitudes behind “reclaiming” American history for a new fundamentalist generation that is the problem. The Republican focus on culture wars has never been more in evidence than through WallBuilders, which promotes itself as a “pro-family organization”, putting a moral and religious emphasis on American history. His 2009 video opus, America’s Godly Heritage, ought to be evidence enough of his culture war agenda.
We liberals end up being so busy putting out individual fires that the source of the fire is untouched, and this is the intention. It is difficult to keep up with a steadily evolving reality, a reality that is, moreover, not based on the facts on the ground but on assertion of belief. And let’s face it: it’s a lot easier to propagate a lie than it is to disprove it.
Doubt is the enemy of science and doubt is easily sown, as Republican think tanks and pundits have long known, employing it in their war in defense of the tobacco industry and also of environmental polluters in the face of anthropogenic global warming. And Barton is a prolific liar, adept at misdirection and obfuscation: In the time it takes liberal bloggers to refute a single David Barton lie he has told a dozen more. Once inscribed on the virtual walls of his website, they obtain a status something akin to scripture.
Even so, even though he is a symptom, as scholars recognize, the lies must be refuted and going into a critical election it is more important than ever that we expose this charlatan for what he is.
This is especially important to me since I have recently discovered that some people are still unfamiliar with Barton even after the Texas Schoolbook Massacre; they know nothing about him, despite his being named by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals. Let this be an introduction, albeit a necessarily brief one.
Barton is everywhere on the conservative circuit, associating with Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee and others with what historian Paul Harvey calls his “project of ideological entrepreneurialism.” And he is very glib, very good at portraying himself as a misunderstood do-gooder who isn’t pursuing some sort of ideological objective but merely trying to correct some “misconceptions” about history.