December 8, 2021

Liberal Fanatics and Educators Rewrite the Bill of Rights: Only Militia Members have the Right to Bear Arms, Kids!


The Daily Paul broke a story yesterday about an AP U.S. History exam review book by John J. Newman and John M. Schmalbach.  The textbook contains paraphrases of the Bill of Rights, because students studying Advanced Placement U.S. History (a college credit course, should one take the AP exam and obtain a satisfactory score) clearly can’t handle the original text.  Here are the First and Second Amendments, as paraphrased by Newman and Schmalbach:

First Amendment: Congress may make no laws that infringe a citizen’s right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Congress may not favor one religion over another (separation of church and state).

Second Amendment: The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.

The First Amendment

The above quotes are liberal revisionism at its worst: nowhere in the First Amendment does the phrase separation of church and state occur; indeed, the history of the United States would seem to totally undermine the modern concept of the phrase.  The North Carolina Constitution initially disestablished the Anglican church, only to enact a prohibition against anyone other than Protestants holding public office.  This last until 1835, when the North Carolina Constitution was amended to allow only Christians to hold office, and by this time the term Christian had been broadened to include Catholics.  This lasted until 1876.

In the case of Thomas Jefferson, the situation was very different.  Jefferson authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which forbade interference by the Virginia state government in matters of religious freedom.  Even so, the text of that statute acknowledged Almighty God as the creator of the mind, and “the holy author of our religion.”  In Virginia, where Jefferson as governor had issued Proclamations of Thanksgiving and Prayer, even though he later refused to do the same while president.

Clearly, Jefferson had a different idea of separation than today’s liberals.  Indeed, at the state level, Jefferson never once voiced the notion that other states should be compelled by the federal government to adopt Virginia’s approach to religious freedom.  He certainly never voiced the opinion that states should be compelled towards Virginia’s approach by the federal judiciary.

Indeed, most colonies had Test Acts to qualify for elected office on the basis of religious membership, and some of those colonies retained their tests in the form of oaths under their state constitutions.  The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 required members to take the following oath before taking their seats:

I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.

At the federal level, Congress could not and did not attempt to establish one religion over others because it was so clearly forbidden from doing so. The states, however, had no concept of separation of church and state as a compulsory obligation; instead, they either chose of their own volition to enact such separation, or they continued with their religious establishment practices and their religious tests to qualify for elected office.

In the case of North Carolina, this was the reality until 1876, some eight years after the Fourteenth Amendment had been adopted.  The liberal argument that the Fourteenth Amendment automatically incorporated the First Amendment’s prohibition against religious establishment is obviated by this historical fact. In point of fact, any liberal who can point to the section in the United States Constitution that empowered the Northern states to coerce Southern states into ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in order to gain congressional representation will receive my eternal admiration.

I do not dispute that the Fourteenth Amendment is valid, or that its reach is illegitimate; I merely point out the historical reality to illustrate the point that liberals are thin on historical understanding and precedent.

They wrap history around their preconceived notions like a gift-wrap, because the sole purpose of history to a liberal is to affirm their ideological outlook.

The Second Amendment

As it relates to the Second Amendment, the liberal revisionism is even more astonishing.  Only members of a state militia have the right to keep and bear arms, according to Newman and Schmalbach.  Moreover, Newman and Schmalbach’s portrayal of rights as existing only when granted by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not square with historical understandings of rights in America, as evidenced by the 9-0 opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Cruickshank:

The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.

The English common law, from which we derive the entirety of our common law traditions, recognized the right of citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense; indeed, the same was codified in the 1689 Bill of Rights passed by Parliament, which allowed Protestants to have arms for self-defense.  Previously, James II had removed those rights from Protestants while leaving Catholics armed; Parliament rejected his authority to do so by banning royal interference with the law and the freedom of the people to have arms for their own defense.

Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England recognized absolute and auxiliary rights, the former giving rise to the latter.  It was in the absolute rights of man to his life, his limbs, his body, his health, his reputation, and his property that Blackstone derived his fifth and last auxiliary right, which was having arms for defense of his natural rights of resistance to tyranny along with his right of self-preservation.  When the sanctions of of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression, Blackstone endorsed the right to use arms in defense of life and property.

The liberal reinvention of the Second Amendment misses the point entirely; even if the Second Amendment does not encompass an individual right to bear arms, it is no matter because men have a natural right to bear arms suitable for self-defense and resistance to tyranny.  The historical precedent, contained in Blackstone’s work and the entirety of our common law tradition, is ample to rebut any assertion by adjunct professors of history like John J. Newman and John Schmalbach.

However, it is only ample if we rise to cite to that historical precedent in order to publicly refute the willful misrepresentation of those ideological fanatics like John J. Newman and John Schmalbach who would simply write over actual history with their own revisions in order to make history what they would prefer it to be.

Again, liberalism seeks to wrap history around its preconceptions, as do most ideologies.  The Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin comprehended the importance of education in promulgating ideology:

Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

The AP review book authored by John J. Newman and John Schmalbach is but an extension of this ethos.  In order to pass the AP U.S. History exam and obtain college credit for their high school history course, students across this country rush out and buy the book, or they are given the book by their school district.  This implies that the AP exam itself contains a reinforcement of Newman and Schmalbach’s ideology; if the Second Amendment paraphrasing in their review book were to lead students to the wrong answer on the exam, what use would the review book be?

That means that an entire generation of students is learning a history that isn’t even history; it’s ideology masquerading as history, a miseducation on one’s rights and the history behind those rights.

The author of the original Daily Paul article, RobHino, traced the review book to Guyer High School in Denton, Texas. Grassroot Journal traced the review book to state after state, such as California, Illinois, Virginia, Texas, New York, Florida,  and Tennessee.  In all, we traced the Newman and Schmalbach review text to no fewer than 28 states as of the writing of this post.

The liberal strategy has always included indoctrination at the school level, which is why teachers unions, dominated as they are by liberal ideologues, have sought at every turn to block parental input in education.  According to educators unions, and even many educators, parents simply don’t have the requisite expertise necessary to have a say in what their children are being taught.  Indeed, in Connecticut, the American Federation of Teachers blocked the parent trigger, which would have given parents the ability demand administrative change from failing schools or to invite a charter school to take over.

In a soon to be infamous Powerpoint presentation presented at the AFT’s national meeting, the union emphasized the importance of “knowing the enemy,” namely, minority groups who are tired of their children being pushed into failing public schools.  Additionally, the AFT pushed  reform that wasn’t reform at all, giving parents the majority on School Governance Councils, and noting the name was a misnomer:

They are advisory and do not have true governing authority.

Yes, because why would you want parents to have authority over their child’s education?  Why would you want children to have an education free of the ideological perversions of liberal reinvention of the Bill of  Rights?  The endgame is simple: to produce children who know and regurgitate the same ahistorical, inaccurate claptrap ideology as the educators and unions who push such nonsense in our school curriculums without parental input or consent.