Netflix movie 13th: Exploring listener questions about how O”€™Reilly”€™s book “€œKilling Reagan”€ and the made for Netflix movie, 13th misrepresent facts about black-on-black crime, involuntary servitude in the black community as it relates to the 13th Amendment, and defaming heroes of our country and how that feeds the nation”€™s racial bias.

Air Date: 12/1/2016

Guests: David Barton and Rick Green


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners”€™ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  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.

Bill O”€™Reilly – “€œKilling Reagan”€ and The Netflix Movie 13th 


Thomas Jefferson said:  “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€œ


It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live- the intersection of faith and the culture. We are talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith. All of it for me Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective. Especially on Thursdays where we take your questions. They might be about the Founding Fathers, founding document, or how to apply good Biblical principles to an issue of today. We are here with David Barton. He is America’s premier historian and my name is Rick Green I am a former Texas state representative. You can find out more about us on our orginization at and A wealth of information there and we are going to throw some at you today. David are we have some great questions today so are you ready for the first one?


You bet! Fire away!


Alright, this one comes from Jeff.  It reads, “€œHow accurate are the Bill O’Reilly books especially “Killing Reagan”? If inaccurate, can you discuss those inaccuracies?”€ So David, I am honestly not that familiar with the O’Reilly books. I have had friends recommend them but hadn”€™t personally read them. What do you think?


Well, there are some interesting things in them and Tim has talked about this before in previous programs, particularly “Killing Reagan.” What Bill O’Reilly said he wants to do with the series is humanize these guys. He wants to get”€™em down off the pedestal, get”€™em down off the level of being these demagogue kind of heros. Which is a great idea, but the problem with that means that you have to show their humanity side.

And so with “Killing Reagan” you found out that before he became president, Reagan had a lot of time with sexual liaisons, with women in Hollywood, etc. So the tone of the book is Reagan was a very immoral guy. Well, at one point in his life he was, but later it was totally different. What happened to all the stuff about Reagan”€™s faith, to all he did as president, to him declaring 1983 as the year of the Bible, and about all the change? Well, we don”€™t get that because we have to make Reagan seem normal and make him a human like us. What that means is we point out all the negative stuff and don”€™t highlight the good stuff.  


Yeah, as soon as you said pull him down off the pedestal that is what went through my mind. I thought that means they are going to find all the negative stuff and every little nit picky thing they can, I guess, to try and make us feel better about ourselves by tearing down the heroes.

Deconstruction Mentality


And that is the problem. This goes to the deconstruction type of mentality that is already out there in academia. They say, “€œOh the Founding Fathers weren”€™t great people. Look at all their faults!”€  Alright, let”€™s look at their faults. But let”€™s also look at all the great things they did and say, “€œYeah, they did have warts on their nose but you know what, they did more to free human kind than any other generation in the world, including what they even tried to do for Blacks at that point in time.”€  

Of course, we will always be told, “€œOh they are a bunch of slave owners, racists, and bigots.”€ No, that is the deconstruction side. So when you try to pull them down off the pedestal, you create negative tone. And then you get the sensationalistic type of stuff as well. You know, you blow up this- well- like Reagan’s affairs, with “Killing Patton.”  

“€œPatton wasn”€™t really killed in a car wreck, he was poisoned by some other”€—– time out- one of my friends owns the toe tag filled out by the doctors who treated Patton and who declared him dead and who gave all the postmortem stuff and declared how he died. He has the actual toe tag! So I have a copy in my library. But my friend in Utah owns the actual one. We recently showed it at a library. We bring our collections together from time to time to show the great stuff out of our libraries.

But O’Reilly says, “€œNo, it is a poison thing, it is a conspiratorial thing.”€  Which is sensationalistic, which people jump all over it. And one of my friends actually called O’Reilly, his good friend, and said, “€œBill you might want to see this toe tag before you put your book out.”€ And O’Reilly said, “€œ Oh-no, no, no, we have got it ready to go to press we don”€™t care about that. We are going with it.”€

Well, wait a minute.  If you have something that is factually shown to be wrong, you need to go back and make a correction on it. Which is not what happened to that book. So I am not a huge fan of the books even though O’Reilly comes from a much less liberal perspective than some many other people, he still does this thing of deconstruction, “€œWe”€™ve got to make them look like us. We”€™ve got to bring them down off the pedestal.”€ Which means you get a pretty steady emphasis of the negative about them.

Even the sensationalistic kind of stuff that you find with Hollywood type of reporting in magazines and that is just not where the real truth is. So for people who have read a bunch of biographies about any of these people and then you read the one from O’Reilly and you go,  “€œOh, well there is some new information in there but you know what based on all the other biographies I have read about Reagan, Patton, or about whatever- uhh- this one is just a little too sensationalistic.”€ So that is the difficulty I have with them.


If I could just ask you about approaching history, should we focus on more positive or negative? I mean we talk about, show the good the bad and the ugly. I guess my personal tendency and personality is to say, “€œI want to know the great stuff “€“ the good stuff. I don”€™t like dwelling on everybody”€™s every little mistake.”€œ I mean we all make mistakes but man it seems like today there is just a trend that we would rather dwell on the negative. Again, I don”€™t know if it makes us feel better about ourselves? But when you go to study history what do you focus on?

Seek Unbiased Truth


To kind of characterize what you are saying there Rick, let’s say we did an objective study of George Washington.  We knew nothing about him at all.  We have come from Antarctica somewhere and we hear about this guy named Washington and we start going back and reading his writings.  Then we read the writings of those who knew him,  who wrote a biography about him. Then we read the writings of the early researchers who read his materials – who talked with those who knew him who wrote biographies about him. We go through all of that, then we read modern biographies about him as well and say,  “€œWow the modern ones are kind of different because when I read everything he did he is human, he has some flaws, but I would say probably ninety percent of it was really, really good. But when I read the modern ones I would say ninety percent of it is really, really bad.”€

And so based on seeking truth, you would conclude that guys who know him the least have the most negative things to say about him. Now, if I were to say, “€œI have never heard of this guy named Adolf Hitler, I want to know about him.”€ I go and read his writings, I read the writings of those who knew him, I read the writings of the researchers who researched those who knew him and his own writings and I am going to come out and say, “€œYou know maybe there are a few good things about Hitler when he was young before he became to power but I gotta say ninety percent of Hitler’s stuff is bad.”€ Well, I don”€™t have an agenda either way I have taken all the facts that are out there and creating an impression that reflects the truth.  

That impression is that Washington is probably ninety percent great and Hitler is probably ninety percent evil. Well then, if I come with a book like O’Reilly did –a book that showed seventy five percent of Washington to be negative to bring him down off his pedestal that is not reflective of who Washinton is.  Ninety percent needs to be positive if you are going to do that. Sure, point out the good, the bad, the ugly. But with Hitler, you have a lot more bad and ugly to point out than with Washington. But that is not the way we go at it today and that is the way it should be. So when I look at materials, I try to get a consensus first of what he actually said, then a consensus based on those who knew him, then a consensus based on the early biographers who had the most access to what happened then, and then I compare that with where we are today and that’s where I find differences. And that is my problem with the Killing Series, is that difference.


Yeah I have noticed in your approach too, because in history- you don”€™t worship or deify any of these human beings. You have always had an approach to really just look for what the good principles I can learn from and I know they made mistakes– we are all sinners –but what did they stand for?  And what were the principles that they fought for and what are the truths that I can find in what they did? We are not looking for a savior in these human beings, you know, so that is an important part of the approach, I would think.

Principles of History are Relevant:  Hitler, Washington


Well it is, and it is finding things to apply and why study history for history sake? We don”€™t get that much out of it unless it is something you can apply. And by the way that is why studying history today is pretty worthless in schools because they don”€™t believe there are things you can apply. They believe you have to create values on your own, that things change across time, therefore the principles that apply three hundred years ago don”€™t apply today because we have evolved passed that. My gosh they didn”€™t even have internet and they rode horses! No –those aren’t principles, those are specific circumstances. I am looking for principles that enforce liberty and help to secure liberty.

See, I could study Hitler and learn a lot of principles from Hitler”€™s life on how liberty is violated. What are the first things you see when someone starts trying to consolidate power to use tyranny. I can find great lessons out of Hitler”€™s life on things I do not want to be, on things I want to fight when I see it arise, on what Hitler did with trying to co-op pastors and churches, the Bonhoeffers, the Niemollers , and those guys. I can see what he did there and say, “€œHere is the principle of human nature. Here is how it works.  Man, this is what we”€™ve really got to be careful of today.”€

Or I can look at George Washington and say, “€œHere is how you understand what liberty is, here is how you secure it, here is how you fight for it, here is what you are willing to sacrifice for it.”€ I look for principles to apply either good or bad. So I can find as many liveable principles out of Hitler”€™s life as I can to show me what not to do, as I can out of George Washington”€™s life which will show me what to do. And that is why if you watch George Washington’s rules to civility, I think one hundred and nine rules that he wrote down when he was twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years old!  Probably ninety five of them still apply today.

We wouldn”€™t worry as much about spitting as much as they did back then with as much of the stuff that was going on back then, that wasn”€™t what he was talking about. But he talked about spitting in public and around other people. Nobody really thinks about that today unless you are a cowboy out in the country where you still spit a lot. So that”€™s not going to apply but most of the things he says on how you treat people, what you do with elderly people, how you treat ladies, and keeping your mouth shut when other people are talking-not interrupting. Those are things he wrote three hundred years ago! The majority of his principles still work today! So that is what I look for principles that I can still apply today.


Samuel Adams said, “€œThe liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”€

Intro Two:

Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

The Netflix Movie 13th Amendment Misrepresents the Constitution


We have got another question David, it comes from Mike it has to do with a movie recently released on Netflix. This is kind of “€œOur Culture Foundations Thursday”€ this week, first books, now movies. Anyway, this one is from Mike and the movie is called 13th. And he was curious if WallBuilders has heard much about it or fact checked the perspective of this movie narrative.  And it is about the black population and basically that there is a modern slavery going on right now with the number of blacks that are incarcerated in prison. So have you heard much about the movie?

Are Prisons A Violation of 13th Amendment:  slavery, involuntary servitude?


Yeah, interesting thesis because it is based on the 13th Amendment which was passed in 1865 abolishing slavery. As a matter of fact, with the text of the amendment says is that, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude will be permitted.”€ and so it goes through involuntary slavery and involuntary servitude. Now what this film maker does is they say, “€œWell, look at all these people who have involuntary servitude in prisons right now. They are being forced to serve corporations and states, being forced to do work inside the prisons and not getting paid for the work that they are doing.”€ And so the argument is that it is slavery and it is what the 13th Amendment prohibited and it is black slavery. Because that is the overwhelming population in prisons is blacks, so they say we are back to the 13th Amendment being violated.

It is an interesting thesis but it is totally flawed. Here is the reason it is totally flawed, I am going to read you the 13th Amendment the way that the movie goes at it, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude”€¦ shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” So if you read the 13th you can not have involuntary servitude so what you have- is what Texas does- is prisoners that are on good behavior they will let them go out and work the highways, to pick up trash, to mow the highways, and they do not pay them for that work. Or in the case of some prisons they contract with private businesses and for example, Wal-Mart will pay Arkansas $10,000,000 for labor  being done to create packages that they sell in their store and it is prisoners that do that. Well, the state gets the money and keeps the money the prisoners do not get any of that.

Prisoners Getting Paid?


And sometimes they do, I mean, I remember back in my legislative days visiting some of the prisons here in Texas where you had opportunities for them to work and send some money home.


And they do get paid at times, that”€™s right. They usually do not get paid all the money that some business would give the state.


Yeah, some goes into victim funds sometimes.


That”€™s right and sometimes the state uses that to help defer prison expenses because it is expensive to run prisons. So, with all of that they are saying that is involuntary servitude which is prohibited by the 13th Amendment. Now let me read the 13th Amendment the way it actually reads, not the way the movie interprets it. The actual 13th Amendment says,  “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.  Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”


So in the movie they literally cut out the part that describes that being punished for crime is part of the 13th Amendment.

Prisons are Disproportionately Black, Is That A Sign of Racism?


The 13th Amendment says, yeah you can have slavery and involuntary servitude if it is part of punishment for a crime which the party has been duly convicted. So the 13th specifically authorizes involuntary servitude or slavery if you want to use that term. It is not in the way that we think of it, but in the way that you lost control of your own freedom and you don”€™t get to go where you want to, and you don”€™t get to do what you want to, when you want to, you don”€™t have that freedom anymore, which is slavery. You are one hundred percent in control of someone else you are a slave, and that is the definition of slavery. Yeah, that does happens in prisons and that is authorized by the 13th.

So here is the other thing they point out, it is disproportionately black. So is this Blacks being put into slavery in prisons? The question that has to be answered before that is well, have black folks in prison committed a literal crime of which they have been duly convicted and are they convicted on the basis of race or on the basis of some criminal statute? Now Black Lives Matter is going to argue that if you are black and are in prison, you are a sign of racism.

But there are other things to be considered here. I would say that this movie 13th comes from that Black Lives Matter kind of perspective. So let me just throw out some stats here; according to FBI stats, there were 4,906 black people who murdered other black people in the last two years, there were 4,906 convicted of murdering other black people. Now is that racism on the part of the court convicting black people of murdering other blacks? Is that showing racism there? Significantly, that number  – 4,906 black murdered by other blacks – that is nearly 1,500 more black deaths than occurred in all the 70-80 years of lynching.  Really?  So where is the racism in this? Here is another one, in 2002—


And David I would think that in a black community, white community, or whatever if people are being murdered in your community, you would want to people who are committing the murders to be convicted and put in prison.


You would think so. But since so many blacks are being convicted and put in prison, that is racism.  Well, let”€™s go back to stats for a minute.  We will come back to the racism part in a bit. The most recent stats since FBI stats run three to four years behind.  In 2012 white males were 38% of the population and committed 4,600 murders. In that same year black males were 6.6% of the population and they committed 5,500 murders. In other words, that is one fifth of the number of whites and they committed 1,000 more murders more than whites. Is that racism?  No that is behavior and that is police arresting people for murder and that is courts and juries including black jurors and  juries say, “€œOh, you did it you are going to jail.”€

Here is another one.  Even though blacks represent 13% of the total populations, 6.6% were committed by male 13% total population. For the last thirty years, nearly half of the murders in the United States were committed by blacks. Well, that might be another reason why you have more blacks in prison than you do whites. That is not a sign of racism.  I could keep going through this – and by the way if you want to look at Black Lives Matter, the number I saw this year so far in Chicago there have been something like 5,500 gun shootings this year in Chicago. And I think like 581 deaths so far and 77% of those deaths have been of blacks and only 1% have involved police shooting blacks. So the other 76% were blacks shooting blacks. So why isn”€™t Black Lives Matter out there protesting black-on-black violence? The stats show that it would take about forty years for the police to commit as many killings that the black-on-black killings commit in one year.

What Causes the Disproportionate Violence in the Black Community?

So that is another stat – all this aside, so how come it appears that blacks have such a disproportionate  amount of violence committed in the black community? It is not racism.  Here is what the problem is – and stats are real clear on this-  right now, the family is more disintegrated in the black community than in any other  community. 68% of children in the community are born without fathers in the home. It does not matter whether it is hispanic numbers, white numbers, asian numbers,  or whether it is black numbers. All numbers agree that when there is not a father and mother in the home the rate of violence increases.  But the difference is, for example, in the asian community.  I think it is only 20% of children are born out of wedlock as opposed to nearly 3/4ths in the black community.

That is where your disparity of violence comes from.  It is not from racism within the justice system. It is from a lack of family stability within the black community. And that is where the black church really needs to step up and say, “€œHey guys we really need to solve problems in our own community and that starts with having a father in the home. If you are going to impregnate a girl you need to stay with her, you need to raise that child, and take care of that girl.”€  

See, this is what has lead to the feminisation of poverty and again it is in all races and in all colors but it is more transparent in the black community because the percentage is such a higher percentage there. But when you have no male in the home that is where you have the feminisation of poverty comes in. That is why so many people who live below the poverty line are single mothers. Very, very few married mothers live below the poverty line, lots of single mothers do. So that is what the Netflix movie 13th misses in this whole thing. They are totally off the board in their premise they really have to chop up the meaning of the 13th Amendment to get where they are going.

It is True.  A Disproportionate Number of Blacks Are in Prison.  Why?

And yes, they are looking at stats .  And yes a disproportionate number of blacks are in prison, are incarcerated. They have lost control of their lives, and they are in slavery if you want to use that word”€¦ but how did they get there? It is because of the breakdown in the family.  Any other community that has that breakdown – and by the way, it is an increasing number in the white communities. Now 40% of the white community and with that has been the same kind of violence and crime, white-on-white violence and domestic crime. It all goes together. So until you solve the family problem, you are not going to solve the problem they are talking about with the movie “€œ13th.”€

Retribution:  Victim”€™s Rights


Let me ask you this David, forget red, yellow,  black, or brown race not being an issue just in terms of prison.  When someone does commit a crime and society says if you commit that crime you are going to prison. Once they get there then, I use to think you could and should be required to work to help offset the cost of what you’re there for. Has that kind of fallen to the wayside? Is that not a common value that when you go to prison you have to work?  And even Biblically what would be the perspective on that or historically?


Well there are two different things there, I think it is a common practice but I don”€™t think it is a common value anymore. I think that a common value that is growing is what you see in the Netflix movie 13th is that, that is not fair. Well, it is not fair that these guys committed a crime that caused these guys to lose their life, or part of their family, or part of their property, or they took their possessions, or anything else. So from a Biblical standpoint restitution is always the end. Biblical Standpoint, if someone violated the right to life, they were removed from the face of the earth.  That goes back to Genesis 9:6, that goes all the way through Romans 13.

So you can say what you want to about capital punishment but that was the first civil law given to mankind was Genesis 9:6.  God says, alright, whoever sheds man”€™s innocent blood, whoever kills someone, they are to be taken out. That is the rule from here on.  That is the way it used to be, therefore, you didn”€™t have a second, third, or fourth victim. We know now from so many accounts of how that illegal immigrants who have been convicted of murder, once they get released will do second, third, fourth murders that should have never happened.  There should have never been a fourth time.

Past that, if you took someone’s property, if you violate them, if you hurt them or maim them, restitution was always the object of the Bible. You took, so you worked and worked your tail off until you paid back everything you had stolen, taken, hurt, or damaged, plus 20% in some cases- most times it is higher than that. So there was always a punitive side as well to make sure that you did not want to do that a second time. By having to work three years to pay back what I stole in one weekend, plus I”€™ve got to pay 20% on top of that, that ain’t good. So we get you a job, we garnish your wages, we reduce what you live on, it is not a pleasant time for you and you are working your tail off to repay back what you took. That is the Biblical way of doing things. What we do now is we put them in prison we make them work and they can send some to their family. But it is really the state that gets the money rather than victims.

So even in this last election some of the lower ballot initiatives were for victims”€™ rights to try and get some rights and repayments back to victims. It is not right that the victims should be short the money that was taken from them and they have to work themselves to get that back as opposed to other things.  So the old practice was restitution. Yeah, you are wrong.  Wrongs need to be compensated and you need to be put in a place where you do not do this a second time, whether that is through restitution or that you are just not going to be here to kill a second person. But I am not sure that is a common value still today. It is a practice, somewhat, but I am not sure that people are really behind that. I wish that they were, that is a Biblical and historical thing.  That”€™s what should be and that”€™s what works.


Well that is part of the principles we want to teach! Thanks for reading! It has been Foundations of Freedom Thursday here at WallBuilders.

Outro two:

Thomas Jefferson said , “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€Â