Glenn Beck welcomed us to the final Faith class of his University by saying, "Welcome to Faith, our class on American history." Right away, you know you're in trouble. And you know that shit's getting worse when Professor David Barton (you can find my reviews of past Faith classes taught by Barton over here) begins his lecture by saying, “It’s impossible to have limited government without applying faith to it.

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And then he keeps talking and it just gets worse and worse, like when he clarifies that for our intents and purposes, "if you want limited government, you want good government." He then says that the philosophy of American government basically comes from one line in the Declaration of Independence—the line that says men have been "endowed by their Creator"—and that philosophy is:


The conclusion that Barton comes to is,“Our rights come from God and therefore government" has to "leave them alone. Otherwise," Barton says, our rights would be "like France, where [the people's rights] come from groups of people, and [the rights-giving groups of people] can take away those rights whenever they feel like it." This rights-stealing is a situation, Barton says, that "We see all around Europe.”

Barton talks about how the Founding Fathers spoke against debt, which means that America should never have any debt ever. Of course, he doesn't acknowledge that Democrat presidents are traditionally the ones who have lowered debt over the last five decades or so, and Republican presidents have traditionally raised it at the same time that they rail against big government. He discusses what he considers to be Jefferson's 5-point plan for good government:

1. Acknowledge and adore an overruling Providence.
2. Exercise frugality
3. Restrain the infliction of injury (punish criminals — the bad guys, not the good guys)
4. Encourage entrepreneurship and free enterprise
5. Protect a citizens property and earnings

He talks about how it would take 25,000 years to read the entire Federal Code, if you read 700 pages a week, ("“Might that suggest we’ve got a few too many laws?" Barton asks, smugly "proving" his "point" by ignorantly mocking books for the three-millionth time in his career) and then he launches into an argument that is based on three logical fallacies:

1. That taxation is inherently evil.
2. That laws and regulations are inherently evil.
3. That government should (or even could) be run like personal finance.

The belief that taxes and regulations are evil can be argued by anyone who even for a second thinks about what they encounter in the course of a single day: Do you want roads? Police? Fire departments? Do you want to not be killed by lead paint or asbestos? Do you believe that unregulated corporations would make sure that you are safe? Barton says that all our laws are unnecessary: "We've got a hundred thousand laws to put you in jail, but just ten laws will keep you out," meaning that the Ten Commandments are the only laws that America needs. Then he really unlocks the crazy, by quoting 1 Timothy 1:8-10, which he interprets as saying laws are for "murderers, for the immoral, for sexual perverts, for prostitutes, for homosexuals, for slave traders, for kidnappers, for perjurers, or for thoes who do anything else contrary to sound teaching." From there, he makes a logical leap and says that this satellite photo of North and South Korea at night proves the power of free markets:

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  • Click to Enlarge

Then he says that the most-regulated businesses have lost the most money in the Great Recession. (At this point, he's stopped offering sources for any of his information, by the way.) Those businesses include real estate, banking, and automobiles (which, Barton says, are “regulated by the unions.”) The least-regulated industries (he doesn't name any of those industries) are still making tons of money. Then he describes what he believes the philosophy of America to be: "If you make a lot of money, we’re going to take it away from you and give it to the least productive of us, and if you’re completely incompetent, we’re gonna bail you out!"

"“We’re the overwhelming majority,” Barton says to his audience of Christians, gay-haters, and hypocritical teabagging libertarians, adding that “we’ve been allowed to think we’re on the defensive,” when "It’s just the guys with the megaphones on the fringes who make us feel like we’re weird." Then the Faith series of Glenn Beck University ended with this image:


After the jump, I've got outtakes from the post-class chatroom, including David Barton's only criteria for voting and my first and (so far) only attempt to ask a question of a teacher at Beck U.

Last week, I was kicking myself for not asking Barton about the Jefferson Bible in the post-class chatroom. So this week, at the beginning of the chatroom, I asked a question about it. I was trying to put it in language that seemed believable for Beck University:


But my question was ignored by Beck U moderators, who didn't even clear the question for public posting. Here are some of the questions and comments that did make it through:

[Comment From Robyn: ]
How to we keep our debt in our time?

Here's an interchange between Barton and a student:

[Comment From Newtie and the Beauty: ]
I agree! Why, other than for power, would Congress and the Executive Branch make the US Code so burdensome?

In a secular approach, there is no comprehension of the use of religion as an internal restraint. The Founders understood that if religious principles were excluded from public life and policy, government would be required to utilize extensive manpower and expend massive financial sums attempting to restrain external behavior which is simply the manifestation of internal chaos and disorder...

[Comment From JACK (GA.): ]

[Comment From katieissweet: ]
I have developed a new appreciation and love for our founding fathers. Thank you all

[Comment From Louise FL: ]
David what are your personal rules for how do you determine who to vote for?

Mine are probably different from other folks. I like what the Founders said about the 45 words at the basis of our philosophy of government: 1. There is a God; 2. God gives us rights; 3. Government exists to protect those inalienable rights. The Founders then specifically told us a list of enumerated rights (e.g., Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Dickinson, James Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, etc., all talked about the rights on that list). At the head of the list, they put the right to life — and by the way, they did mean abortion within that; in fact, Thomas Jefferson, when he helped rewrite the legal code of Virginia, ensured that abortion was illegal; many other Founders wrote about the right to life also addressing abortion, including John Witherspoon and James Wilson, etc. They taught that if an elected official will not protect the first of your inalienable rights, they will protect none of the others. I have found that if someone is wrong on right to life, their voting record is also wrong on First Amendment issues, Second Amendment issues, Fifth Amendment issues, and all other inalienable rights. And if they won’t protect your life, they won’t protect your money. I have documented in voting records of members of Congress that their economic voting record is almost a 1-1 correlation on their right-to-life voting record. That is, if they are 100% right to life, they are 100% on the voting guide of the economic groups like American for Tax Reform and National Taxpayers Union; and if they are 0% on right to life votes, they are also 0% on economic votes. Remember, only 7% of the nation agrees with President Obama’s abortion position; so how’s his economic stuff working out? And President Reagan was strongly right to life; how did his economic policies work out? That’s my most important standard.