Frederick Douglass Versus Marxism – A New Perspective With K. Carl Smith – Why is Frederick Douglass so important to American History? Can the principles of Frederick Douglass be used to combat Marxism? K. Carl Smith joins us today to discuss this new perspective of Patriotism and more!
Air Date: 09/5/2022
Guest: K. Carl Smith
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Think about that just for a second now.
Hot topics of the day, so any issue that we’re dealing with in the culture, that you’re dealing with in your neighborhood, that you’re dealing with in your state, that we’re dealing with in our state, it’s something that we’re dealing with in Congress, I mean, all of these issues that affect our lives, we’re going to take a look at those issues, but we’re going to look at them from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective, which means biblically, we want to know what the instruction is because there’s not a single issue that is not dealt with in the Bible. That may be a principle that applies to a big picture issue and maybe not quite as specific as, for instance, if it’s transportation, they didn’t have airplanes in the Bible, but they still dealt with transportation, you still dealt with people and moving people and that sort of thing, if that makes sense. So we’re always going to go back to what does the Bible say.
A good example of that would be the border situation and sojourners in the country, what does the Bible say about that? And following the law and how a sojourner had to adopt the laws and the rules and be a part of the people and follow those laws? Anyway, so we’re going to always look at what the Bible says about something, what the history can teach us about it, because nothing new under the sun, everything we’re facing, somebody has faced it at one time or another and we can learn what works and what doesn’t work.
And then, of course, constitutional perspective, we live in America under the United States Constitution and therefore we need to know what it says about those issues of our day. And then when we deal with those issues, a lot of times perspective is critical and actually, today’s program is going to be about perspective: Frederick Douglassism over Marxism. Our guest later in the program, KCarl Smith will be telling us about that. Looking forward to that, guys.
It’s a topic, David and Tim, that absolutely has to be addressed. We’ve been dealing with this on so many levels, just this whole critical race theory thing that is a poison in our culture and how to actually address these issues in a way that we bring people together instead of tearing them apart all the time.
Frederick Douglas, I know he’s been dead a little while, but we can still learn from Founding Fathers. We can also learn from Frederick Douglas, right. He taught a lot about how to influence the culture in a positive way and how to actually move towards liberty even though he came out of complete slavery.
Yeah, Frederick Douglas has a lot of lessons to offer because this is a guy that really he turns out to have a whole lot of the kind of integrity that’s needed today with a lot of courage. Now, Frederick Douglass is raised in slavery, and he escapes from slavery, and he gets up into the New York area. And while he’s up there, he learns from a lot of what are considered the radical abolitionist. These are guys that, I mean, they just hate anything that has the tint of slavery, and they consider the constitution to be a proslavery document.
And so he learns from them, and he learns that, and he finds out that Constitution is not that great a document. Well, he’s later asked by the Massachusetts Abolition Society to go to work for them full time and start traveling for them and start speaking against slavery. And he agrees to do that, and he has the integrity to say, you know, what I know about the Constitution is from these guys who told me about it, I really think I ought to read it and study it for myself.
And he said that when he did, he found it was a glorious liberty document. He said, far from being proslavery, he found that every clause in it was an antislavery document. So he called it a Glorious Liberty document. So the first thing that stands out about Douglas is he’s willing to go find things for himself and not just believe what everyone tells him.
And it’s worth noting that where he says that it’s in the same speech that people often refer to what is the 4th July to a black man? And this is where we tell people, sometimes you need to read the rest of the speech, read the whole thing, get the context. And this is where we encourage people to ask questions, right, is what’s the source so that you can go and look it up? Or how do we know it’s what he said? Is that all that he said, is there more that he said? What’s the context?
And when you begin to do research, what you realize is Frederick Douglas life really was an interesting journey. And it’s not quite as simple as when Colin Kaepernick pointed out that Frederick Douglas once said that the 4th July was not that great for the black man because the promise of the Declaration had not yet been realized, etc. Well, that wasn’t all he said in the speech. And the point he was making is that because of the way that America was being run at that time, that there were many pro slavery people in states that allowed slavery.
And so even though there were promises in the declaration that all men were created equal, not everybody in America was getting to enjoy the reality of those promises. But Frederick Douglas wasn’t anti-America or anti-Constitution. Dad, as you mentioned early on, he kind of started that way, but he had this remarkable progression in his life which there’s a lot more to his story than most people give them credit for.
One of the interesting things about Frederick Douglas and I have read his autobiography, but I’ve read a lot of autobiographies. If you got autobiographies of presidents and athletes and others, he’s the only guy I know that has three autobiographies. Everybody else is like they lived one life. It’s almost like he lived three lives because when he’s young, he’s a young slave that’s escaped and now he’s a hero and he’s on the road and everybody’s coming to hear him and he’s a really good speaker.
And so he writes his autobiography when he’s young, and it has all of his young thoughts and young ideas without a lot of experience to go with it. And then a little later in life, he gets into this thing where, well, I’ve never really studied this myself. I’ve learned a lot of things. I found a whole lot of my theory didn’t necessarily work the way it was supposed to and that theory and practical things aren’t always the same. And so his second autobiography is a lot mellower and a lot more wise with a lot more insight. And then he writes one late in life. And that one late in life really is a very wise man who has learned a whole lot, who has a great view of America and a great view of liberty in the Declaration of the Constitution. And there’s really good things about it.
And he was so famous that he actually was photographed more often than Abraham Lincoln was photographed. I mean, he is like the most famous guy in his generation. And so he has a lot of wisdom. There’s a lot that he dealt with back then, things that he covered, that are still issues today, immigration and economics and taxes and racism, so many things. So there’s a lot of wisdom that you can actually get from Frederick Douglas if you take the time to read his biographies. And if you want to read all three, that’s great. If you want to go to the last one where he ends up his life with all the wisdom he has, that’s a great one too.
Well, he’s had such a huge impact on the American culture, and it would be great to see a resurgence in that and bring back the things you’re talking about, all the lessons and all the things that we could learn from him. Certainly, could have used a lot more of that during all of the BLM stuff two years ago and people actually being able to look at what’s going on from a better perspective.
And one of the guys that is a real voice on this is KCarl Smith, and he talks about this. He actually says, Douglasism is what’s needed to defeat Marxism. And so he’s got a great article. We’re going to link to that today from 1819news.com, and we’re going to have him on the program when we come back from the break. So stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with Another Moment from American history. The Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees to every individual the right to keep and bear arms has been targeted for years now by those who are determined to dismantle the individual right to self-protection.
Opponents argue that only the militia, the military and law enforcement are to have and use firearms. But those who wrote the Second Amendment strenuously disagreed, including Founding Father Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration, a president of the Continental Congress and one of those who actually framed the Second Amendment. He declared, “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young how to use them.”
For more information about Richard Henry Lee and the history of the Second Amendment, go to wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us, KCarl Smith is with us, and we’ll give out his website today at walburnerslive.com. It’s easy to get to. It’s diversityengagement.org. Kay Carl, thanks for some time today, sir.
Hey, Rick, I appreciate it very much. I look forward to chat with you about something very important, of course.
No doubt. And I think we’re on the same page on so many things. We here at WallBuilders, big fans of Frederick Douglass and do include a lot of teaching from him and a lot of our things as well. You’ve basically said that his teaching is essential to saving the culture. We’ve got to return to the message that he gave.
So we wanted you to kind of walk through the one, two, three at a great article on we need Douglasism to defeat Marxism. And even in this short period of time we’ve got together, we can talk a little bit about it and we’ll link people to the article. But just really appreciate you coming on to talk about it and get you to kind of walk through. What is the difference in basically Frederick Douglasism and what most people on “the right or conservative side of things” are trying to do?
When you take a look at both Frederick Douglas and you kind of look at their lives, both of these gentlemen were born in 1818. Of course, Carl Marx was born in Germany, never had a real job in his life. His father was a lawyer. He married into money. But Karl Marx became a theorist about oppression.
On the other hand, Frederick Douglas born 1818, of course, born into slavery, he was a slave for the first 20 years of his life, doesn’t have real life experiences…
He was living it, not just reading about it or writing about it. Yeah.
That’s right. So the message of liberty based on the writings of a former slave resonates with people, and the Left has no answer for it, because you can’t call Douglas a racist, he was a victim of racism. You can’t say he owned slaves. He was a slave. But in his writings and in his speeches, Douglas affirmed the Founding Fathers, and he affirmed the Constitution. And also, he wrote about free speech, personal responsibility, immigration, parental school choice. He wrote about the right of the people to keep and bear arms. He wrote about religious liberty.
All these tenets of liberty that we’re fighting for today, Frederick Douglas wrote about them. So that’s why we need to leverage that, because, as you said, “Douglasism” is the best effective liberty message to defeat Marxism. And I contend that Frederick Douglas is not only, in my view, the forgotten prophet, but he’s also America’s greatest writer, thinker, and speaker when it comes to liberty and the US Constitution.
And you point this out in the article, he tied these principles of liberty to the basic idea that they’re not something we give to each other, but they come from God, government doesn’t grant it to us, they come from God. That was essential in his philosophy as well.
Most definitely. And one thing I picked up when I started studying Douglas, that the techniques of oppression used by the plantation slave master are identical to the techniques of oppression used by the slave government. This is the same thing, just nothing new under the sun. So when Douglas wrote about the confiscation of his wealth, when his slave master let him to work on certain jobs outside of the plantation, what does the government do to us in terms of incremental tax increases? Douglas had no mobility.
Doughnut on one occasion, he said, the first aim of slavery is to separate a man or woman from their God. Jesus Christ and socialism cannot coexist. So do what they have to do? They try to get us bowed down to the altar of the “almighty” government instead of the altar of the Almighty God. Do Douglas is so important key, is essential, I don’t think liberty and liberty is based in, what I believed in, the liberty of Frederick Douglas.
Well, you’re on a mission to essentially train people that are, I mean, call them activists, call them citizens that take this business seriously of preserving liberty and passing it on to our kids and grandkids. You’re on a mission to train them how to communicate this, how to actually articulate these things, whether it’s around the dinner table or it’s with family at the reunion or it’s on social media. This is so essential because we’re so bad at communicating these basic principles. And you’ve basically said, alright, folks, listen, we got to get our messaging right.
That’s right. And of course, the center pieces of that is Frederick Douglas. Rick, we actually designed a persuasive messaging model entitled Frederick Douglas Republican Engagement Strategy. And basically, what we do, we teach conservatives how to trump the race card unintended. And what we advocate, I’ve been doing this for 12 years, Rick, and I’ve been telling conservatives, stop using the word ‘conservatives’. The Left has demonized that word. I hate to admit it. But we got to find another way to identify ourselves politically where we are on the offense, not the defense.
So I am a conservative. But in we’re saying conservative, I’m a Frederick Douglas Republican. So when I say that, what I mean by that, I believe that life impacted by Frederick Douglas. What are the things he wrote about? Respect for the Constitution, respect for life, the visibility of power of government and prosperity. So to be a Frederick Douglas Republican is not based on your skin color, it’s based on if you embrace those life and time and values of Douglas or the tenets of liberty that we’ve been talking about.
So good, so good, man. And actually, on your webpage earlier today, I was listening to that Rush Limbaugh clip where he’s saying the exact same thing, that you’ve got to look at these terms, you got to look at what the left has done to the word ‘conservative’ and realize that you basically dig yourself a hole when you start off the conversation with I’m a conservative and try to defend the word. Yeah, you forget it. You got to be conservative and the principles are conservative. But that terminology has been absolutely repainted and rebranded and unfortunately reframed in such a negative light that you lose the audience and people aren’t willing to listen.
That’s right. And I’m glad you pointed that out because Rush made this comment back in 2018 and I’ve been advocating this message of stop using the word ‘conservative’, find another way to identify yourself politically since 2008. So you listen, always be happy, I know that Rush Limbaugh agrees with me.
Yeah, it’s good. Man, well, I have just signed up for the course. I’m looking forward to going through it. I’ve always felt like our messaging was, man, just this whole concept of reframing and speaking the values and speaking the language of the people that you’re talking to is essential, absolutely essential.
You got it, Rick. What we got to do, Rick, we have to revive America’s commitment to our founding principles, those values. And the best way to do that is based on the life and writing of Frederick Douglas and leverage Douglas and make that part of your political identity. That’s how you come to race course.
That’s fantastic. So good, man. I’m going to ask you in front of our whole audience, but I’d love to have you speak at Patriot Academy next year too. That’s our program at the state capital with young people, 16-25. And I just think this would be so good, but we’ll chat at some point about that and just appreciate what you’re doing. We’re going to give out the website today and really appreciate you taking your time to come on the program today.
Look forward to it, Rick, and thank you for having me on your show.
That’s KCarl Smith. Folks, stay with us, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Back with David and Tim. Very special thanks to KCarl Smith for joining us and we’ll have a link to his full article on our website today at wallbuilderslive.com. So, guys, obviously, he has the same respect for Frederick Douglas that both of you do. And I have to say, I didn’t know much about Frederick Douglas before I started listening to WallBuilders and you guys and reading your books and listening to your tapes and all that stuff, you’ve always been a fan of Frederick Douglas and brought out a lot of truth from him.
Yeah, there’s a lot of good things to bring out. But one thing I didn’t realize, I did not realize Frederick Douglas and Karl Marx were born in the same year. And that is such a great juxtaposition of those two, side by side. As he said, well, Karl Marks talked about oppression, but Frederick Douglass actually lived through oppression, and how they come out with such opposite views, that’s amazing.
Well, even as he pointed out that Karl Marx theorized, not just talked about, he theorized, he’d to imagine what oppression would look like, as opposed to Frederick Douglass, who had actually been a slave, who had been oppressed. And it is such an interesting, dad, you mentioned this juxtaposition, it’s so interesting that Karl Marx not having a job, having somebody else take care of him his whole life, then promoting these ideas of Marxism, but certainly that overlap with socialism and communism, as opposed to what Douglas knew and in the midst of Douglas going through the oppression, how Douglas came out on the backside praising the Founding Fathers and praising the Constitution.
And, dad, as you mentioned before the interview where Frederick Douglas talked about the Constitution was a glorious liberty document, and this is something too, that we would encourage everybody go back and read that speech, “What is the 4th July to a black man or it might be what is the 4th July to a Negro? Nonetheless, go back and look at speech up and read it and also recognize that it was given, I believe, in 1852. So this was given before the Civil War, before the 13th, 14th, or 15th Amendment. So he’s talking about America not yet having fulfilled the promises that the Founding Fathers intended.
And the fact that he identifies the Founding Fathers intended those things to happen is a really good example too of someone who in a much more relevant era close to the Founding Fathers, that’s actually dealing with this issue of slavery, he’s still pointing out that the Founding Fathers, by and large, the great leaders of the Founding Fathers were antislavery. But such a good thought that KCarl Smith was pointing out that one of the best ways to overcome some of this Marxist propaganda is going back and using the life and example of Frederick Douglas.
You know, it’s interesting too in all the things he was talking about, because he talked about what Douglas talked about, and I just don’t remember all the subjects he covered. But he said, Douglas talks about immigration and religion and economics and racism and gun control and oppression, all these other things. You know, that’s a lot of fun because we do that with Founding Fathers. We take the things that they have talked about and say, well, here’s how it applies today.
And to be able to go back to a black conservative and by the way, a black conservative Republican, because he was a very outspoken Republican, he serves under four Republican Presidents. They appointed him to key positions. And along those four Republican presidents, a Democrat President that came in who removed him from office. So he’s clearly a Republican. Democrats didn’t like him, Republicans did. But he does address all these things that we deal with today.
But I thought something that KCarl said that was really good was that socialism and Jesus Christ cannot coexist. And he made the point that Douglas pointed out that one of the things that oppressors like to do is cut you off from God, that even back in the slave stuff they wanted to separate you from God. I thought that’s such a great point because that’s what socialism does. It moves towards secularism and moves away from God. It is certainly not pro-Jesus. And I thought the way he addressed that with Douglas is really good.
Yeah. When he makes the point that the first aim of slavery is to separate a man from his God, one of the things that’s interesting, certainly, when we talk about slavery in America, people instantly think of the north versus the south, and the thought is that all southerners were racist and all these people that had slaves are really, really evil. That certainly not everyone in the south was racist, not everybody that we would hear these overgeneralized stereotypes, it’s not accurate for so many people. They were racist people in the north. There were antislavery people in the south. There’s a lot more to the story.
However, one of the interesting things is that there was a movement in the south to say, well, we will allow the slaves to practice religion, but we need to edit the Bible for them. And so, for example, what became known as the “Slave Bible”, they removed the Book of Exodus from the “Slave Bible” because they don’t want the slaves to think about the fact that maybe slaves should get together and have a revolt in a mass exodus. It’s a little humorous looking back thinking like how ridiculous are you that you’re going to give the Bible and you have to pretend like freedom is not part of the biblical narrative.
However, this is certainly something that when you look at what’s happening with Marxism today and see the reality of what happens under oppression and really slavery in these nations, it’s very true. Marxism tries to remove Christianity and religion from individuals in that nation. And whoever is under the dictator, whoever’s under the tyrant, they try to remove Christianity and religion. And that is absolutely something we are seeing happen around the world in these Communist Marxist nations. But it’s also something that we have seen a very intentional effort in this nation, whether we talk about the educational system or the political arena, to secularize and remove man from his God.
Yeah, and even from the family, right? You think of Marxism typically going after the kids when they’re young, which they do with the public school system. But boy, did they accomplish that with the university system: separating kids from their parents, changing the values in those few short years at college, and how many families we talk to now that literally don’t even speak to their children or grandchildren or allow the parents to see the grandkids, all because the Marxists have separated them.
You know, I thought KCarl made a really interesting recommendation about, hey, don’t call yourself conservative, call yourself a Frederick Douglas Republican. It’s like you’re going to get beat up for calling yourself a conservative, but you’re not going to get beat up for saying you’re a Frederick Douglas Republican.
And even with that, this is really a great opportunity to learn more about history and Constitution and principles. Because clearly by the positions he held, Frederick Douglass would be considered a conservative today. Now, he’s not going to get beat up. Now, a lot of black conservatives do get beat up, but at this point, Frederick Douglass is not getting beat up. But nonetheless, man, I just listened to Carl, thought this would be a really fun guy to have at a home school group or to have at a Republican group or some conservative club or whatever, just listening to someone expound on those beliefs and how they apply today and how to articulate them today. This is a really good opportunity to really expand our rhetoric and expand the way we present ourselves and what we believe.
Yeah, dad, I think it’s a great point, that if we’re looking for someone to use as an illustration in modern culture and obviously Carl pointed this out too, but if we’re needing somebody to have an example of modern culture where we can point where the ideas of Marxism are so counter to some of the great abolitionist heroes that the freedom promoters, the liberty lovers of America, Frederick Douglas is such a great example.
And like many people in America’s history, he’s someone whose story is very deep and it’s complex and he dealt with so much not dissimilar from a Booker T. Washington or George Washington Carver, people whose stories are so rich. And today we just know so little about them.
Often what happens is, like we saw with Colin Kaepernick taking a tweet from part of Frederick speech saying, see, this guy didn’t really love America, he didn’t love the Constitution. And if you read the whole speech, he says the exact opposite. What happens, unfortunately, Rick, is you talked about even with universities, that they’re instilling this Marxist ideology in kids, we are giving our young people only part of the story, not introducing them to the actual characters and individuals giving them depth of story and breadth of the individual to realize that there are some amazing overcomer stories in America from people who actually were oppressed.
But what’s amazing about America is America is a land of opportunity where you are given your freedom, and if you have the work ethic, the creativity, the ingenuity, you can be very successful in spite of really negative things in your life. Regardless of where you started, you can do great things in this nation. Well, that’s the way this nation has been. And Frederick Douglas is a great example of that.
Alright, folks, out of time for today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live with David Barton, Tim Barton and Rick green, our special guest today, KCarl Smith. And if you want to learn more about Frederick Douglas, there’s so many good places that you can go. But one of the things I want to encourage you to watch is American History in Black and White, you can get it right now. It’s called Setting The Record Straight. It’s at Wallbuilders.com. You can read the book or watch the DVD. But there’s some really cool stuff in there about our history that, frankly, has been lost and left out on purpose because there are many people that want to divide us rather than allow for us to be united.
I’m so thankful you’re listening to WallBuilders Live. Our goal is to bring people together under the principles that made the nation great in the first place, and that’s why we constantly bring back that biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.
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