Sunset News: Costly visitor center distorts history

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Costly visitor center distorts history

Costly visitor center distorts history
The new $621 million Capitol Visitor Center in Washington gets key facts about American history wrong, reports Matthew Spalding, director of Heritage's Center for American Studies.
"The Visitor Center twists and distorts the Constitution," argues Spalding, who toured the center before it opened at the request of Senator Jim DeMint. Instead of teaching visitors about the powers of government described in the Constitution, the center instructs visitors about the Constitution's "aspirations."
See for yourself. The Heritage Foundation has put the full text, including the script of an orientation film, online.
Spalding tells the Washington Times that "the visitor center selectively cuts passages from the Constitution, weighing in on a long-running debate about the scope and limits of federal power by taking the liberal side of the debate, envisioning broad congressional powers that the Founding Fathers never intended."
Instead of focusing on what the Constitution actually says, the Visitor Center suggests the founding document is a list of "aspirations" about knowledge, curiosity and other things not actually in the text.
In a column in the same newspaper, Spalding explains why this view is wrong. "I always thought (because it says so) that the Constitution was about the powers delegated to government by the people, who possess individual rights."
—David Talbot

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