Right-wing pseudo-historian and GOP platform committee member David Barton closed out a presentation last week at Charis Bible College in Colorado, where he is in the process of launching a “School of Practical Government,” by sharing a couple of historical quotes that perfectly expose the utterly absurd hypocrisy that lies at the heart of his latest endeavor.
After spending nearly an hour explaining how his “School of Practical Government” will prepare students to seek public office for the purpose of implementing public policy based explicitly on the Bible, Barton read quotes from the likes of Samuel Adams and Benjamin Rush, who have said that those who seek office are not to be trusted and that those who refuse to serve in office when asked are selfish.
First he cited this quote from Adams:
It bodes very ill to Government when Men are exalted to places of high trust through their own Sollicitations. He only fills a place with Dignity, who is invited to it by his Fellow Citizens, from the Experience they have had of his adequate Abilities, & who does the Duties of it with Zeal & Fidelity … Whoever interposes in their Elections, with his own Sollicitations for himself, it is to be feard, if he is of any Consequence, will in time become a dangerous Party Man. He ought therefore to be despised as an obtruder.
Barton then cited a similar quote from Noah Webster:
As a general rule, it may be affirmed that the man who never intrigues for office may be most safely entrusted with office…Such a man cannot desire promotion unless he received it from the respectable part of the community, for he considers no other promotion to be honorable.
It seems rather odd that Barton would cite quotes warning voters not to trust people who seek public office while promoting a school that is designed to teach people how to run for office and even includes a class entitled “How to Run For Office.”
To make matters worse, Barton then cited a quote from Rush to argue that if people approach you to ask you to run for office, “you are not allowed to say ‘no’ because that was being selfish … Didn’t God put you here to serve others? “
Back in 2013, Barton himself was asked by his friends like Glenn Beck to run for the U.S. Senate and refused to do so, though that has somehow not stopped him from regularly lecturing other people that they have no right to be selfish by doing exactly what he did.