The Donkey Is Sleeping Today

Beck U 6 and 7: Double Creature Feature

In Idiocracy, Message/Framing, Politics, Propaganda, Religion on August 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I vowed to drop out of Beck University. The weekly “lessons” caused my migraines to flare up. They threatened me with expulsion (apparently talking back in class is a real Bozo No-No). And I had run out of bullshit repellant. But like John McCain to “Jersey Shore,” I couldn’t turn away from watching the train wreck of human ignorance.

So I girded my loins and braced for the most painful and frightening double feature I had ever endured. No, not “The Creeping Terror” and “Troll 2”, but Beck University “professors” James Stoner and David Barton. On second thought, perhaps it’s the same thing.

As with any double bill, the evening began with the “B” movie – still scary enough to give you a few chills but merely whetting your appetite for the hair-raising, spine-tingling, bladder-emptying feature attraction.

In the first “lesson,” James Stoner proceeded to give an 8th grade civics lesson on the Constitution, specifically the Separation of Powers and the system of checks and balances it created. Stoner is the most accomplished “faculty” member at Beck U (he is an actual professor at LSU), and he delivered his lecture in the same manner in which he would an ordinary lesson – boring, verbose, and repetitive.

And like all “B” movies, I kept wondering when the story would start.

Separation of powers creates a divided government… blah, blah, blah… Should I get up and get a soda?  Hmmmm… Checks and balances “checks” the powers of each individual branch against the other… Zzzzzzz… I think I still have a package of the Orville Redenbacher Ultimate Butter Microwave Popcorn… Yumm!

Finally… at end of the 2nd Act the monster comes out.  Here’s what Stoner snarled about the Necessary and Proper Clause:

Since the New Deal, there has been a presumption on the part of Congress and the president that, if there is a problem, the federal government is the first entity to look for a solution.

Damn right, Skippy. I’d say the government did a good job of bailing us out of the Great Depression, winning World War Two, creating a vibrant middle class, enabling millions to attend college, expanding civil rights… I could go on.

But the monster really popped out of the closet when Stoner wrapped up his lecture on judicial review. Boy, nothing gets a right-winger more worked up than Marbury v. Madison. The horns came out as Stoner spat out the following:

Judicial review was not understood at that time to be power given to the courts to roam through the statute books and strike down whatever injustice they saw.

But I guess in a monster’s world, slavery would still be legal, separate but “equal” would still apply, women and minorities would not have the right to vote, and single people wouldn’t be allowed to use contraception (see Beck U3: It’s Not A Tumor). But I digress.

Now let’s look at the true monster… The Roberts Court. The Alliance for Justice released a report earlier this year entitled “The Robert’s Court’s Record of Overreaching” that illustrates how the five conservative Justices twist the law to serve their corporate masters.  Nan Aron, President of The Alliance for Justice, writes on The Huffington Post that:

Our analysis looked at 13 cases in the period since John Roberts became Chief Justice and found a consistent pattern of the Court taking cases it does not need to hear, answering legal questions not squarely before it, making up new law out of thin air, and settling questions best left to fact finders in lower courts.

As retiring Justice John Paul Stevens said in his dissent in the notorious Citizens United case, “Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.”

Now that’s the true horror show.

Enjoy Intermission.  Be sure to visit the snack bar.

As we all know, the feature attraction is where we get all the pant-soiling goodness, with even bigger creatures lurking around the bend. And “Faith 103” did not disappoint.

The nasty critter in this one was none other than David Barton – the evil villain of Beck U.: Leave Those Kids Alone and Beck U. 4: Deconstruct This!

But this sequel on limited government was more of a Tingler.

Apparently, limited government = good government = God’s will.  And this was just the teaser.  I munched my Hot Tamales with renewed fervor. I wanted to hear more about how our Founding Fathers really wanted to create a theocracy based on Biblical Law – with none other than Thomas Jefferson leading the way.

Of course, Barton learned me in Faith 101 that Jefferson really just transcribed the Declaration of Independence, basing it on obscure cherry-picked sermons. And wasn’t Barton one of the leading forces behind diminishing Jefferson’s role in the nation’s founding in Texas textbooks?

So much for story logic.

But Barton rode Jefferson like Mothra into Tokyo to “prove” his case.  Here now is the…

Sum of Good Government (According to Jefferson via Barton):

1. Acknowledge and Adore God

As we learned in Beck U. 4, we apply the Transitive Property of Christian Fundamentalism and anytime anyone mentions God, Providence, Deity, etc., they are automatically talking about Christ, which means that they are in fact jonesing for a Christian Fundamentalist Theocracy. According to Barton:

[We aren’t] like France where the rights come from groups of people who decide what the rights are and they can change them whenever they want. [But] that’s what we see across Europe and other countries as well.

Holy Freedom Fries. In Barton’s scary world, rights come from God only, and the government cannot intrude on them or regulate them. I wonder if he realizes this sounds an awful lot like what the Islamic Fundamentalists want – an undying fealty to strict Sharia law.

But silly me, I learned in my hippie, communist private schools that Jefferson said the following about freedom of religion (emphasis mine):

…among the inestimable of our blessings, also, is that… of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will

Jefferson also penned the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in which he wrote:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

2. Exercise Frugality

Again, Barton quotes Jefferson as saying that “public debt is the greatest of dangers to be feared.”  True.  Jefferson did say this, but if Barton is so frightened of the public debt, why was he a hired as a shill for the RNC and other Republican candidates when they were running up the deficit like strippers in the VIP room during the Smirking Monkey’s administration?

Here’s a visual aid about public debt and the frugality of Republicans:

3. Restrain Infliction Of Injury

Basically, Barton wants to abolish all those icky federal laws and replace them with these ten, which is all anyone really needs because I’ve been known to covet my neighbor’s ass donkey on occasion.

After all, Barton thinks you shouldn’t regulate the good people, just the perverts.

He then cites obstructionist speed limit laws that vary from state to state and how on earth is he to be expected to know the law from state to state and ignorance isn’t a defense and we’re all just screwed. Of course, his argument screams for federal regulations so that the law is consistent from state to state, but I’m expecting too much from the plot here.

4. Encourage Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise

According to Barton, “the free market system came from the religious leaders in Europe and America” but he admitted that he didn’t have time to prove all that now.

After all, the recent taxpayer bailouts “happened to all the most regulated industries” because when the government gets involved in economics, it destroys economies. You know, industries as horribly regulated as banking, real estate, insurance, etc.

5. Protect Property and Earnings of Citizens

For the climax, Barton suggested that:

– God wants us to own property

– Property taxes are evil

– There are no homeowners in Europe because the government owns all the property

And then Barton ended with a quote from his true God:

The Right's Great God Reagan

And that’s when I soiled my pants and let out a bloodcurdling scream.


Here are Beck 2: Hope (In The Name Of Wealth) and Beck 5: Blame Canada.

  1. The undeniable truth, the bitter reality, it is all government. Whether pseudo private enterprise, religion or actual government. It is all the same thing a government of the people, by the people and for the people (really wobbly on that bit). Control, who controls what and how they control it.
    Private enterprise is nothing more than the public’s willingness to surrender control over parts of their society to individuals for those individuals benefit. Supposedly and most foolhardy in the belief that somehow those individuals would somehow serve society rather than themselves.
    Of course based upon history those individuals who benefited upon that belief fostered it by killing anyone that disagreed, the reality of current capitalist society, deny it and you go to prison or die, weird, really truly weird.

  2. Barton is wrong on the Declaration. There were many legal papers and legal philosophy essays from Jefferson’s time going back to the 1500’s dealing with natural rights and Nature’s law.

    In these papers (mentioned above) a distincion between natural rights and nature’s laws was made. Natural rights is ideas about laws, Nature’s law is ideas about the law of nature.

    An examiniation of the Declaration document would show that the paper mentions only Nature’s law. In order to understand why this is read the following:

    A natural right would be: It is against the law to kill someone.

    A person is on trial for killing someone. If the person proves that is was done in self-defense the person is invoking nature’s law in that it is a law of nature for a person to defend his life. Hence Nature’s law is what the lawyers will defend and not natural rights which is the law against killing someone. Hence we have the defence of the person and not the defence of the law. The person is nature’s law in this case, the rule against killing someone is the law in this case.

    Locke the philosopher is where Jefferson could easily have taken the ideas from because Locke was clear on the distinction. Note: Spinoza was very clear on this as well.

    Back to the Declaration and why Jefferson mentioned only nature’s law. He was defending “life” “liberty” which legal scholars at the time considered to be nature’s law. The Declaration is a document on the faith in Humanity hence the defence of the person, hence the reason only Nature’s law was mentioned.

    Barton is a confused man because he is confusing natural rights and nature’s law. Government creates natural rights and the Declaration is merely pointing out that whatever natural Goverment makes it is to be in harmony with Nature’s law. This point is very clear in the Declaration.

    Barton is very wrong and very confused about natural rights and nature’s laws.

    The Conservative’s pervert the Document as being some proof that we are to be a Christian based Nation. Wrong they are. We knew we were going to create a Government and that Government was going to be creating laws and the Declaration was merely giving comfort to the people that the distinction between natural rights and nature’s law will be in harmony and if not so we have to right to remedy that.

    We are a freedom from religion nation.

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