Wallbuilders #2 Man Compares David Barton’s Critics to Hitler and Alinsky

Rick Green, David Barton’s right hand man at Wallbuilders, uses some creative and colorful language to address those who have examined David Barton’s claims about Thomas Jefferson.

Question: What do elitist professors have in common with Adolf Hitler & Saul Alinsky?

Answer: They masterfully use the powerful art of innuendo to falsely defame those with which they disagree.

Definition of Innuendo: A derogatory hint or reference to a person or thing.

The internet is abuzz today with leftwing bloggers, elitist professors, and downright jealous peers licking their chops and rubbing their hands in excitement as they repeat the juicy quotes about David Barton books being full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.”

Yet not a single article can point to a single factual error, quote out of context, or misleading claim.

How ‘bout that.

It is one thing to defend your boss or friend, it is another thing to accuse someone of using the tactics of Hitler. I thought everybody knew the first rule of arguing: the first one to invoke Hitler loses the argument. Since he did it first, he loses.

More seriously, this is an outrageously irresponsible reaction. Those looking to Wallbuilders for thoughtful reactions to their recent crisis should be more than disappointed. They should be astonished and shocked that someone who claims to run a pro-family ministry would respond in this manner. Many conservative Christian scholars have raised substantial, documented issues with The Jefferson Lies in various places.  Instead of taking these matters seriously, Wallbuilders resorts to hyperbolic name calling.

It is beyond belief that Green claims that “not a single article can point to a single factual error, quote out of context, or misleading claim.” Just go search for hot-pressed Bible, Kaskaskia Indians, Gnadenhutten, Jefferson Bible, manumission and/or Thomas Jefferson on this blog to get numerous posts outlining in detail factual errors, out of context quotes and misleading claims.  Anyone doing 5 minutes worth of searching will find many more elsewhere.

This is a classic example of trying to change the subject. However, the truth is that the critics are bringing the specifics. Right now, it is Wallbuilders that is using the innuendo and defamation as their chief argument.

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  • http://www.free-grace.org That Bad Dog

    I heard Rick Green on a Christian talk radio show last year in which he was discussing, among other things, the relationship of art and culture to church history. During the course of the interview, he made an extended argument that the Protestant Reformation caused the Renaissance. This was not a slip of the tongue. It was an elaborate and detailed argument that went on for several minutes, in which he appeared blithely unaware that he had reversed events by centuries. He then went on to talk about several important “Reformation artists”, including Raphael, and Michelangelo. All he listed were Roman Catholics, and most of them were dead before the Protestant Reformation began. One of them was an active participant in the Counter-Reformation. The bumpkin hosts were too ignorant to call him on any of it, and just went along saying “yep yep yep” like the Martians on Sesame Street and talking about how they “never learned any of this stuff in school”. Perhaps that was because none of it was actually true.

    I was left with a series of unpleasant options as to how to interpret this event:

    1. Rick Green is an idiot who actually knows nothing about history.

    2. Rick Green is a liar who knows what he is saying is false, but says it anyway because there is a market for it and he is making a good living by it.

    3. Rick Green is a delusional and actually believes what he is saying is true even though it is clearly contra-factual.

    Clearly any one of these would be a disqualifier for a position near the head of an organization that promotes itself as dealing with history.

  • Boo

    From what I’ve learned about Saul Alinsky, he devoted a considerable portion of his life to helping poor people, particularly poor black people, register to vote.

    So you should take the comparison to him as a compliment.

  • http://wakingupnow.com Rob Tisinai

    Sorry, Warren, but Scott Lively’s got your number! He’s shown that your whole disagreement with Barton over Thomas Jefferson is part of your conspiracy to advance the gay agenda (and somehow, weirdly enough, I’m part of it).


  • Jen

    Elitist appalachian? This would mean your car doesn’t have holes in the floor, you quit eating squirrel & possum, & you have less than 3 broken down cars in your front yard?

    On behalf of the REAL members of our culture I am offended & believe you should be forced to speak English in the way it was intended & let the non-elitists continue the traditions elisits spurn.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      @Jen – It really is humorous to consider a Porchmuth native elitist, especially this one.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I guess he can be praised for consistency. His understanding and analysis of very recent history is about as accurate as his understanding and analysis of the time of the founding of the nation.

  • http://pastinthepresent.wordpress.com/ Michael Lynch

    I had never heard of Green before finding a link to his response on a religious history blog, and found it to be downright bizarre. He lambasts Barton’s critics for innuendo and derogatory references while at the same time comparing them to Hitler, denouncing them as “elitists,” and impugning their supposed motives. He claims that the critics haven’t documented any specific problems with Barton’s work, which is simply not true. And he argues that Thomas Nelson pulled the book because of the HarperCollins acquisition, despite the fact that Nelson still offers books by the likes of Billy Graham and Max Lucado. This is not the way to engage in historiographical give-and-take.


  • http://www.born2synthesize.com Michael Miles

    I can’t divine the sincerity of the beliefs, but they are nothing if not highly calculated and effective. This flank of the culture war is purely political, ambitious and targeted. The academy needs to do much more than react to individual skirmishes.

    I jumped on that thread. It is a much different perspective than I am used to experiencing. And quite hostile.

  • ken

    ‘I thought everybody knew the first rule of arguing: the first one to invoke Hitler loses the argument. ‘

    FYI: that is known as “Godwin’s Law” Attributed to Mike Godwin in the early 90s.

  • Lynn David

    It seems that the main defense put on by Barton aficianados has been a religious gathering-round as if Barton’s writings have all the power and faith-demands of Genesis. And in that I would rest my own point.

  • Bernie

    Oh My, oh my. You do know how to pull the hornets out of their nest.

    I guess Rick Green will not post anything I have to say about the matter, considering the whole ACP vs AAP debacle.

    Or even more recently, the timing of the two publications. When Barton and Green claimed that Mssrs Throckmorton & Coultier published their book before Bartons so,”therefore we know it’s not true.” They never responded to my letter, telling them ONCE AGAIN that they lied. Nor did they have the Christian manhood to put a retraction of their mistake and apologize to Throckmorton on their radio program. No, we couldn’t have that now, could we?

    Speaking of “Christian Manhood”, I would think that it be in the best interest for Barton to debate Warren, or Chris Rodda, and allow the folks at home to decide. If he’s right then more power to him. Bachmann, Huckabee, Beck can continue to address him as the most important historian alive. BUT, should he be proved to have “prevaricated”(yes Mr Green, that was meant for you, look the word up this time), then I guess Mr Barton will be exposed as an hack.

    This is getting more nasty as the days wear on. It is certainly keeping in tempo with the election.

  • William

    Green thought that the Protestant Reformation caused the Renaissance and that Raphael and Michelangelo were Reformation artists? That’s priceless. It’s almost as good as a certain deceased British celebrity who didn’t know that East Anglia was an area of England but thought it was somewhere abroad, and who didn’t realise that the USA was an English-speaking country.

  • Richard Willmer

    Looks like the lovely Scott Lively wants to get in on the act: http://www.scottlively.net/2012/08/12/in-defense-of-david-barton/

    @ Warren : I think you should work on the principle that any publicity is good publicity!

  • Bernie

    @William, “Green thought that the Protestant Reformation caused the Renaissance and that Raphael and Michelangelo were Reformation artists? That’s priceless.” …that is priceless! You just made me giggle. Do you have a link for this?

  • Richard Willmer

    I have put the following comment on Lively post (it is ‘awaiting moderation’!):-

    ” You seek to defend Barton principally by attempting to rubbish one of his most well-known antagonists. However, if some of what Barton has written is incorrect, then it’s incorrect, regardless of who his antagonists might be. (I note that you very quickly veer onto your ‘pet topic’, but is this really relevant to your ‘defence’ of Barton … such as it is?) ”

    No prizes for guessing what Scottie’s ‘pet topic’ might be!

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  • http://www.free-grace.org That Bad Dog

    I wish I had a link for the Green interview. I was running errands in my car and flipping radio stations. I hit one of the Dallas area Christian talk stations – probably a locally produced show – and they were conducting an interview with Green, who was promoting something. I wasn’t actually familiar with Green, but they referred to his position in Wallbuilders. At that time David Barton was getting a lot of national currency, and clearly these smaller interview duties had fallen to Green. I don’t even know why I paused the radio, but he quickly began to utter a laughably catastrophic chain of errors, including the ones I mentioned in the first comment.

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  • StraightGrandmother

    That Bad Dog- FOR THE WIN!!!

    I have been following WThrockmorton on Twitter for a while now and I must say I am really enjoying this. I never really thought of him as “elitist” though.

  • Richard Willmer

    Effectively to bracket Alinsky with Hitler is an utterly risible thing to do (what on earth do these two people have in common??!!), and shows just how ‘all at sea’ are the likes of Green. How pathetic!

  • http://www.byron-harvey.com Byron Harvey

    I was Warren’s pastor in Pennsylvania for the better part of 10 years, and when I saw him, I always genuflected before him. Around the church, we secretly (I can admit this now) referred to Warren as “EW” (signifying “Elitist Warren”). He most definitely was on a different intellectual plane than we mere mortals. Ten minutes in his exalted presence was just like…well, about ten minutes, but it was an ELITE ten minutes.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Byron – Just think of how elite those ten minutes would have been if I had been awake…

    Your turn.

  • Richard Willmer

    Isn’t this Green guy also a (somewhat extreme right-wing) politician? Have I got the right man here?

  • TxHistoryProf

    As an academic, I love reading the uneducated tell us what they “think” we are taught when the closest any of them have been to a college camps is the parking lot of a college football stadium tailgating.

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