Friday, April 11, 2014

More false history from David Barton

I wouldn't expect ordinary people to know which parts of the Pony Express legend are true and which were simply made up afterwards, but David Barton pretends to be a historian!

He's actually a Christian evangelical and right-wing political activist, but he pretends to be teaching real history. I've blogged about him before (here and here, for example), but this is just more evidence that you can't believe a word he says.

Now, in this instance, there seems to be no particular reason for Barton to get it wrong - I mean, it's not like his deliberate errors when he's lying for Jesus - except maybe to make his talk more entertaining. But it does show his ignorance. And, more importantly, it shows his carelessness with the reality behind his words.

Like most faith-based people, he doesn't really care if his beliefs are true or not. And he certainly doesn't care if his statements are true, because he's using them for a purpose. That purpose might be to convince people to follow his own particular religious and political beliefs, or it might be just to remain a celebrity among right-wing evangelicals, but either way, the truth of what he's saying simply doesn't matter much to him.

After all, he already knows the Truth, right? (Apparently, when you capitalize that word, it no longer needs to have any connection to reality. That's been my experience online, certainly.)


Jim Harris said...

Bill, you're going to have to explain your objection to this video. He didn't say anything religious or political in it.

WCG said...

Jim, my objection is that it's not true. Barton presented as history something made up after-the-fact to enhance a cherished myth. (Sound familiar?)

Now, it would be no big deal if an ordinary person made this mistake, but David Barton pretends to be a historian. He makes a very good living teaching his alternate history to gullible right-wing Christians. He's adored at Fox 'News,' and by other Republican pundits and politicians, because he tells them what they want to hear.

He even writes history books,... supposedly. His latest received such a firestorm of criticism from real historians that even Barton's Christian publisher withdrew the book from publication.

Not long ago, Barton actually presented a scene from a Louis L'Amour western as actual history. (See my links in the post above.) This is probably a more innocent mistake than that, but it continues to demonstrate not just that Barton isn't really a historian, but that he doesn't care about the truth of what he says.

David Barton is a Christian evangelist and right-wing political activist who's only pretending to be a historian in order to persuade people to his point of view. This particular error is simple enough, and relatively harmless, but it illustrates the problem, I think.