Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Debunking of Pseudo-Historian David Barton’s Book on the Second Amendment

By Chris Rodda here. Update: Here it is on Huffpo.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Psychotic. I couldn't bear to read past

"Like many a good Christian, pseudo-historian David Barton likes guns and, of course, thinks that every person in America has an unlimited constitutional — and biblical — right to own and carry them."

Actually, the right to self-defense is a natural right, pre-constitutional. The Second Amendment would only clarify the natural right of self-defense, not limit it.

For as the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution reads,

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

David Barton's critics should read more of the Constitution itself, and much much less of David Barton.

No constitutional right is "unlimited." However, each right is unalienable, such as the rights to life and liberty.

We [esp the states] can restrict guns, but we/they cannot take them away. Every man [and woman] has a natural right to self-defense and in this day and age, if you ain't got a decent gun, you ain't got no self-defense.

And although she's pretty wiggy when it comes to David Barton,

I still trust sister Chris with a gun for her own self-defense against the forces of crime, rape and Christianity more than I fear she'll use it on David Barton to save the republic from impending theocracy.

Although it's a close call.

Art Deco said...

This whole set of discussions is odd. Teasing out Thos. Jefferson's religious views thoroughly would seem to be the task of someone intimately familiar with voluminous correspondence and with religious concepts. None of the principles in the discussion in question - not Barton, not Throckmorton, not Coulter, and not Rodda - fit that description or remotely resemble it.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Aye, Mr. Deco. True of many accredited historians as well, who have studied only history and not the history of religion and of [political] philosophy.

When Founder James Wilson quotes John Locke quoting the "judicious" Richard Hooker, the Rev. Hooker---the "Father of Anglicanism"---is often building on the work of Thomas Aquinas and his philosophical heirs in "natural law."

I wonder how many scholars of American history could even tell you Aquinas' birthdate within 100 years, or his nationality within 1000 miles!

As for Jefferson and his drunk and dopey correspondence with John Adams after both had left the presidency and public life, we make too much of their amateur attempts at serious theology. It's just that they lived so long after they passed into irrelevance and wrote so much that we give their insipid musings the time of day.

We rightly ignore what Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter thought and said after they [mercifully] passed from American political life. So let it be with Jefferson and Adams!

Art Deco said...

Dunno. Late 18th c politicians tended to be liberally-educated in ways that are extremely unusual today. John Adams could read Sallust in the original. I would wager their theological opinions surpassed in sophistication anything you would see today outside the theological academy, and, unlike divinity school professors, it may have been more than a diverting game. Jimmy Carter was well-schooled, but in a field where your knowledge is highly esoteric and perishible (engineering). Richard Nixon was well-read and a decent person in his mundane life, but seemed to have no convictions whatsoever.

There are bound to be gaps in the background of academics, so I would not regard it as remarkable that a specialist in colonial or antebellum American history was not conversant with Aquinas. The thing with this is that none of the participants have any formal background in any dimension of this. Coulter is a political theoretician and closest to the subject matter. Throckmorton is a clinical psychologist, a specialty I think tends to be quite atypical in free-standing arts and sciences faculties (where physiology, animal behavior, and tests-and-measurements are the order of the day). You gotta ask why they are publishing outside their field. (In response to someone who is not an academic at all). Grove City College has two historians who work in this area.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, I thought I was the only one to wonder at such things, although frankly, for a full-fledged scholar to take on Barton would be to diminish himself and elevate the amateur Barton to equal standing.

You may find this link of interest---page 3 on Richard Hooker's view of reason and reality per the scriptures [that there is no separate thing called Reason with a capital "R"], and also a slam on page 4 at Mark Noll's theological chops, now the establishment's go-to guy for bashing the Evangelical Mind [there isn't one] along with a religion and the Founding far more congenial to the more secular orthodoxy of the academic establishment.

Art Deco said...

I seem to recall either Robert Solow or Kenneth Arrow reviewing a book by George Gilder ca 1986, so you can get accomplished scholars into the fray on occasion. By some metrics, Grove City College is among the most effective of liberal arts colleges at actually imparting knowledge that its graduates might retain. However, its faculty are fairly rank-and-file scholars. Would that make them more status conscious or less? If one posits that Coulter was receiving term papers with David Barton's work in the bibliography, his intervention in this controversy does not seem all that peculiar; Throckmorton's does.

Thanks for the reference. At my age I am not very intellectually nimble, so it is difficult to delve into subjects I have not studied in the past.

I have read articles by Mark Noll and reviews of his books. I have not bothered reading the books due to a deficit of interest in his subjects and due to the reviews. The sighing more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger scold is a tedious character, and, one suspects, not really a square shooter. One thing that troubles me about Throckmorton is that he seems to have adopted this pose late in his career.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Damage control? Penance?

I appreciate his professional predicament; I'm not sure this is the cure.