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The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth

 
book review

This History Book is Different: It's True - Setting the Record Straight

By Gailon Totheroh
CBN News Science & Medical Reporter

CBN.com - (CBN News) - My apologies for not bringing a should-be classic, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History," to the attention of our Internet readers in a more timely fashion. What Dr. Thomas Woods does is directly confront many of the falsehoods that are weighing down Americans with boatloads (dwarfing the Mayflower) of junk knowledge.

Frankly, many well-meaning people, including many educators, have been sucked into thinking things "that just ain't so." In fact, I have been divested of quite a number of things in my head. The academic world has miserably failed the public in accepting, teaching, and promoting many "clichés," to put it nicely. The majority of them (polls show) are heavily biased against God, representative government, patriotism, free markets and true family values.

And, speaking of the Mayflower brings us to the subject of the colonial origins of America. Take the Puritans, for example. Weren't they racists toward the Indians? Didn't they steal their lands? Didn't they commit genocide against these Native Americans?

Let’s take a few choice quotes from Woods on this topic. Here’s his comment on John Eliot (1604-1690), the missionary who learned the Massachusetts Algonquin language, developed a written form of it, and translated the Bible into Algonquin:

"If Eliot and the Puritans had wanted to oppress the Natives, they could have come up with an easier way."

Here are comments on colonist-Indian relations:

"Colonists could and did receive the death penalty for murdering Indians…. [one] English settlement in the Connecticut Valley was positively encouraged (author’s emphasis) by some tribes in the 1630s, who hoped the English might prove a useful obstacle to the ambitions of the Pequots, a hated tribe that had begun to force its way into the area…Each colony negotiated with the Indians, who were all too happy to sell the land--a commodity they enjoyed in great abundance.... The Puritans recognized Indian hunting and fishing rights on lands that the Indians had sold to them (author’s emphasis).”

Now don't misinterpret Wells. He does affirm that Indian peoples received horrible mistreatment at different times in American history. Still, he wants to set the record straight about the devout Puritans and other early colonists. They’re far from the Indian bashers they’re made out to be.

After his foray into the early Colonial period, Wells then takes the reader on a tour through American history, to correct the misinformation and disinformation that abounds. He contrasts the American Revolution with the French Revolution (poles apart), looks at the North-South division (Civil War distortions), highlights the realities of the Great Depression and the New Deal (the scoop on FDR), and covers much, much more. He finishes with a look at the Clinton presidency.

In fact, Wells takes the Republicans to task for their response to former President Clinton’s wrongdoing: “As despicable as the president’s philandering was, the GOP leadership’s decision to dwell upon various aspects of the president’s character left the impression—even if unintended—that his policies were not so objectionable.” The author then lays out what he finds were some of the worst examples of bad policies, though largely perceived as positive.

One that really caught my attention was the Balkan situation. Wells suggests that Clinton abused military power, had our government grossly exaggerate atrocities against Albanian Muslims (400,000 claimed, vs. under 2,500 estimated) to justify the action, and ultimately left the region with an “uneasy, unstable, and unenforceable peace.”

In light of 9/11, an extremely troubling aspect of that war is described by Wells. “Moreover, the Clinton administration fanned Islamic extremism in the area, not only by siding with the Muslims against the Serbs, but by even going so far as to help import mujahedin (radical Islamic jihadists) from the Middle East—something that even Clinton’s chief negotiator, Richard Holbrooke, called ‘a pact with the devil.’”

That war was just part of the big picture of the questionable (i.e., non-strategic) use of the U.S. military. Wells points out that Clinton dispatched our service men and women 44 times, while the previous nine presidents had only deployed the nation’s military might eight times over the 45 years prior to 1992.

While Woods deals admirably with a panorama of the all-too-sordid details flowing from the ‘myth monolith’ (that's only a slight exaggeration), there is the bigger picture to consider. That's the issue of worldview. In other words, why have all these myths come about, and why have they been perpetuated? From what view of the world and life do these cockamamie twists on reality arise?

Mind you, this is not a criticism of Dr. Woods' book; the book accomplishes what it purports to do and does it well. But Christians, in particular, need to take a look at the dominant worldviews of our times -- and educate their children in what they are and the gulf between them and the Biblical worldview.

That calls for what would be an excellent prerequisite—or companion reading--for "The Politically Incorrect Guide." That book is "Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth", by David Noebel.

Dr. Noebel covers the major worldviews today such as Marxism/socialism, cosmic humanism (New Age), atheism and, of course, Christian theism. If readers take on Noebel first and understand the reigning philosophies, then he or she could amply apply that knowledge to understanding the mental motivation for many of the myths about American history.

And lastly, there's the obligatory criticism of the book--reporters always have to find a flaw or two in a book so that we feel like we've done our job. I would respectfully submit that Woods should have added a section on the Scopes "monkey trial."

Many of the myths about the trial arose from the deceptive play, and later, movie versions of Inherit the Wind. One basic myth from the trial is that Darwin's evolution was somehow shown to be superior to an ignorant belief in divine creation. Evolutionists and leftists had been distorting the trial from the summer it took place, onward.

Indeed, as legal scholar Phillip E. Johnson writes in the Regent University Law Review, "(T)he stereotype it promoted helped the Darwinists to capture the power of the law, and they have since used the law to prevent other people from thinking independently. By labeling any fundamental dissent from Darwinism as ‘religion,’ they are able to ban criticism of the official evolution story from public education far more effectively than the teaching of evolution was banned from the Tennessee schools in the 1920s." So, Woods could have made a fine addition to his book by including the truth about the Scopes trial -- often called "the trial of the century" -- as an additional key item in his chapter "The Misunderstood Twenties."

In sum, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" is in the must-read category. Whether you're 90 or nine, this book will help you increase the accuracy of your ‘baloney meter.’ After all, there's certainly more baloney out there than ever before.

 

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