Dennis Prager writes at Townhall:
One of the many remarkable traits of the progressives is their lack of self-awareness.
This trait was on display last week in the media and Democratic Party’s characterization of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech – and the entire Republican National Convention – as “dark”.
For the left to dismiss other Americans as having a dark view of America is preposterous.
Because no one – not Trump, not the Republican Party, not any conservative – has nearly as dark a view of America as does the left.
Across the board – from the universities to the media to the Democratic Party – the left, around the world and in America, has an unremittingly dark view of the United States.
Here’s a brief glimpse.
- Racism “is part of our (American) DNA”, President Barack Obama said in 2015. Is there anything Trump said in his acceptance speech that is as dark about America as that?
- On July Fourth weekend, Vox published a long column arguing “3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake”.
- The most widely read historian in American high schools and colleges, the late left-wing professor Howard Zinn, was asked (by me) whether he thought the United States had done more good or more bad in the world. “Probably more bad than good,” he answered.
- The left regularly characterizes the United States as a sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist and bigoted country.
- Our wars are wars for imperialist expansion, driven by material greed.
- The top 1 percent relentlessly exploits the other 99 percent.
- America is rigged against blacks, Hispanics and the 99 percent.
- Cops kill unarmed blacks proportionately more than they kill unarmed whites because so many cops are racist.
- About 1 in 5 female college students are sexually assaulted on campus.
Is there anything in Trump’s speech that can match any of those left-wing views of the United States for “darkness”?
Moreover, every one of those leftist critiques of America is false.
Nevertheless, we are in a dark time in America. In fact, Trump didn’t make the case for America’s darkness nearly effectively enough.
- Our universities – outside of the natural sciences – are being destroyed as learning institutions. They close minds, censor speech and indoctrinate rather than educate.
- Blacks have more anger toward whites and America than at any time since the civil rights era.
- American students are learning less while being indoctrinated more. They graduate high school barely able to write a coherent essay with proper sentence structure, grammar and spelling. But they know all about the existential threat allegedly posed by fossil fuels.
- According to a recent Gallup Poll, fewer young Americans than at any time since polling began are proud to be Americans.
- A greater percentage of Americans are dependent upon government for their income and even for food than at any time in American history.
- The American national debt is the highest it has ever been. And it is increasing at a rate that can only lead to an economic implosion.
- A smaller percentage of Americans are married than at any time in American history.
- Americans are having fewer children than ever.
- Fewer businesses in proportion to the general population are being started than ever before.
- Sectors of major American cities are essentially killing zones.
Is that dark enough?
And the list is only a partial one.
Moreover, every one of those dark facts is the result of left-wing policies, left-wing politicians, left-wing writers, left-wing professors and the left-wing party, the Democratic Party.
If all Donald Trump did between now and November were to delineate the darkness created by the left and the Democrats, he could potentially win in a landslide. But, for reasons that elude me, he won’t, just as no Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan has. In the same way that Democrats won’t identify America’s international enemy – Islamic terror – Republicans won’t identify America’s domestic enemy, the left.
And until Republicans do, the darkness won’t recede.
We agree with his diagnosis – except for one item we removed from his own list of truly dark facts about contemporary America. We removed it because it is not a dark fact at all.
It is this:
Fewer Americans than ever before believe in God, go to church or affirm Judeo-Christian values, the basic moral code of America’s founding and of Western civilization.
The basic moral code of America’s founding was NOT that two-headed chimera “Judeo-Christian values”. The Constitution of the United States embodies the values of the Enlightenment.
Jewish values and Christian values are essentially different. Judaism holds justice to be the highest value. (Which was a good idea; only exactly what those men of old who wrote the Bible considered just was often not good at all.)
Christianity holds love to be the highest value. Love granted unconditionally. Even to the sinner; even to those who do evil to others; so mandating hypocrisy – which provides cover for every imaginable cruelty. And it is the opposite of justice.
Furthermore, Christianity brought a thousand years of darkness down on Europe; a darkness that was only finally dispelled by the Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment set reason above faith, and enshrined liberty as the highest value. Protecting the freedom of each individual became the duty of the state. Under the rule of law, “justice” applied to the individual; only to the individual.
It is real progress if “fewer Americans than ever before believe in God and go to church”.
The churches did a terrible job when they had power. Let’s have no more priests ordering our lives. How about electing a businessman to lead us?
No matter what he says for political convenience – Donald Trump is not a religious man. And for us that is a definite plus.
He believes in his own ability to bring new opportunity for wealth and joy to all Americans.
He is a capitalist. Wherever true free-market capitalism flourishes, freedom flowers and happiness becomes visible.
His speech was not dark. It was a promise of a new dawn.
A promise he might fulfill if he becomes the next president of the United States.
Soon after Independence Day two years ago, in a post titled What Americans should be taught about America, July 15, 2011, we wrote:
American children must be taught the values America traditionally stands for, and why they are the highest and the best. They must be taught that the United States of America was founded as a realization of the idea of liberty. They must be taught that only in freedom are individuals able to achieve the best they are capable of. They must be taught that the conditions necessary for a good life – prosperity, physical and mental well-being, the pursuit of individual aims – exist reliably only in a free society. They must be taught that only the rule of law, not rule by a person or group of potentates, assures liberty. Generations of American children have not been taught any of this. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades now the schools and academies have been teaching Americans to be ashamed of themselves. So millions of Americans believe that they are justly hated by other nations, and their country should change to become more like other countries.
And we quoted this, by Walter Williams:
The ignorance about our country is staggering. According to one survey, only 28 percent of students could identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Only 26 percent of students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Fewer than one-quarter of students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States. … Ignorance and possibly contempt for American values, civics and history might help explain how someone like Barack Obama could become president of the United States. At no other time in our history could a person with longtime associations with people who hate our country become president. Obama spent 20 years attending the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled sermons, which preached that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” called our country the “US of KKK-A” and asked [his] God to “damn America”. Obama’s other America-hating associates include Weather Underground Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn.
We – and others – make the same complaint this year.
This is from an article by Arnold Ahlert at Front Page:
The Fourth of July is over, and despite most of America taking great joy in celebrating our independence and freedom, many members of the American Left are glad that what they consider to be an unseemly spasm of over-hyped jingoism is finally over. For these oh-so-enlightened and morally superior souls, a racist and irredeemably imperialist America is something to be mourned, not celebrated. Independence Day is thus a time for commemorating their hatred of the country and waving it for all to see.
The late leftist historian Howard Zinn’s work was given a platform by The Progressive magazine in 2010, when they trotted out his 2006 screed, “Put Away the Flags”. Zinn wrote, “Is not nationalism – that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder – one of the great evils of our time …?”
Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild wrote an equally obnoxious “me too” piece that same year, “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4.” “You can call me unpatriotic if you’d like, but really I’m anti-patriotic,” he whines. He continues:
I’ve been studying fascism lately, and there is one inescapable fact about it: Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism. And patriotism is but the father of nationalism. Patriotism is not something to play with. It’s highly toxic. When ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties. … We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.
That American superiority complex, better known as American exceptionalism, has made this nation a beacon of liberty throughout the world. It is America’s patriots, many of whom have sacrificed their lives, who have preserved that liberty. That would be the same liberty that allows terminally ungrateful people like the late Zinn and Rothschild to spew their noxious nonsense without fear of imprisonment, or the kind of “reeducation” that occurs in genuinely fascistic societies. …
Many American leftists are a joyless bunch, terminally uncomfortable with anything resembling gratitude or balance. … The Fourth of July will forever be anathema to them. For that, they are to be pitied – and then ignored.
There’s a kind of America-hater who believes that America is no better and probably worse than most or even all of the others and should be humble, and at the same time believes that America (albeit in a blue beret) should be the policeman, doctor, nurse, savior and sugar-daddy to most or even all of them.
Of course only unintelligent persons could be of this self-contradictory opinion, and they should be – well no, not pitied, but yes – ignored.
When, however, one of them is nominated to be the US ambassador to the UN, she is no longer ignorable. She will be in a position to do much harm.
Samantha Power is of that opinion and has been so nominated by President Obama.
Frank Gaffney writes at the Center for Security Policy:
Should her nomination be confirmed, a clue to her likely approach in her new role at the UN can be found in the following quote from an article called “Full Force”, which appeared in the March 2003 issue of the New Republic. In the article, Power wrote:
Foreign policy is an explicitly amoral enterprise. . . . Embedding U.S. power in an international system and demonstrating humility would be painful, unnatural steps for any empire, never mind the most potent empire in the history of mankind. But more pain now will mean far less pain later.
Her view of the US as an “empire” is in itself disturbing and offensive. Her opinion that foreign policy is “amoral” and that “humility” is an appropriate quality for a world leader to project, shows her comprehensive ignorance of the dynamics of international diplomacy, and ignores the cultural differences between people that define effective cross cultural communication. Her lack of sensitivity to these issues alone makes her a poor candidate for the position.
The term “humanitarian interventionism”, as applied by Power, reveals a deep naiveté about the way the world really works. Embedded in the concept is a strong tendency to oversimplify the complexities involved in halting historically ingrained ethnic and religious conflicts. Included among the most serious of these issues is the apparent willingness to minimize or completely overlook the challenges of ending the conflict, and the unique requirements of post-conflict reconstruction in each inherently different situation. It disregards the real and perceived roadblocks imposed by international politics, public opinion, and local culture.
When President Obama led the United States into a coalition of forces against Libya, the person behind that decision was understood to be Samantha Power. The decision was strongly influenced by her doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) that purported to guide the American government on how to prevent genocide. The concept is being promoted to create a new international model based on “moral” criteria, that can be employed in situations where the safety of civilians is at risk.
Yet, on the very first night of the coalition’s enforcement of a “no-fly zone” over Libya, US forces rained 1,100 missiles down on Tripoli. It brought death and destruction to an unprecedented level for a “humanitarian” effort, in a nation in which the US had no strategic interest. …
It was Power’s concept of R2P and not any concern for our national security that influenced the decision. In other words, it was an experiment in “humanitarian interventionism” and not national concerns for America’s welfare.
It should be noted that this intervention was in response to Libyan leader Muammar Ghadaffi’s threat of revenge against dissidents. Although there was certainly fighting on the ground in Benghazi and other places, there was no wholesale genocide taking place in Libya at the time the decision to engage was taken. …
It led to the overthrow of Ghadaffi (less of a threat to the rest of the world since he had given up trying to make Libya a nuclear power), followed by anarchy in Libya, and so to the atrocity of Benghazi, when US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered.
In April 2002, Samantha suggested [in an interview with Henry Kissinger] that “external intervention” may be necessary to foster Middle Eastern peace. …
[She said] her advice to the President would be to “alienate” the American Jewish community, and indeed all Americans who support the state of Israel … because Israeli leaders are fully capable of “destroying the lives of their own people.” She would also advise the President to pour billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money into “the new state of Palestine” and to stage what would amount to an American invasion of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The implications of her off-the-cuff remarks suggest that she believes 1) that either side was capable of genocide, 2) that there was a clear moral equivalence between the two leaders, 3) that US support for a Palestinian state should include massive US funding for a defense force, at the expense of funds now going to Israel for its own defense, and 4) that Israel was incapable of handling its own affairs vis à vis the Palestinians, and that the only solution, therefore, was international [but she implies American]intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state. … Altogether, Power’s statement was rambling, incoherent, and ignorant. That she should compare Israel’s well-ordered democratic state to the tribal chaos that existed in Rwanda during the time of the massacre is shocking. It demonstrated either a total lack of knowledge about Israel, or a total disregard for the truth, driven by an interventionist agenda that is willing to sacrifice truth for a perceived principle. (In either case, it should give the Senate serious pause as they consider her appointment.)
… because she is ignorant, sentimental, unintelligent – and hysterical:
Humbly proffering her apologies to 40 “Jewish leaders” convened to give her a hearing –
[Power] suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her. Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.”
And the gallant or gullible “Jewish leaders” forgave her!
Feeling sorry for people – including herself – seems to substitute for thinking in her case.
The UN is her palace on the hill. Representing the United States among its swirling mists of lies is likely to be the pinnacle of her ambition. No doubt she sees the UN as an embryo world government, as Obama does.
Which prompts us to quote from another of our posts, titled World government – the ultimate nightmare, August 2, 2009:
Barack Obama declared himself, in Berlin, to be a “citizen of the world”. It was not a mere rhetorical flourish. He has a globalist agenda under which the US will enter into a series of treaties that would subject America to foreign rule over its wealth (redistributing it world-wide), its trade, its laws, its use of energy, and even its defense.
The United Nations, that ghastly powerhouse of corruption, hypocrisy, and injustice, is envisaged as the nascent institution of world government.
Liberal left opinion tends to be against the nation state. It is the opinion of approximately half the voters in the Western world. Half the people of the free West apparently want to destroy their nations, and are literally doing so. They may explain their hatred of the nation state by reference to “colonialism”, as if in many cases colonies were not more prosperous, just, and free than the independent tyrannies they have become. Or they may say that the wars and massacres in the last century resulted from “nationalism” so the nation must go; but their thinking would not be right, because the wars and massacres were the work of dictators, not democratic states of which the strongest opposed and defeated the aggressors.
Whatever their explanations, they have launched a movement for the suicide of Western nations.
All over the Western world men and women in national and international assemblies, ministries, academies, councils and committees devote themselves to the business of putting an end to their national identities. Patriotism to them is utterly absurd. Any manifestation of pride in their nation’s history, culture, traditions, institutions, even law, embarrasses if it doesn’t outrage them. In all the countries of Europe, and now under Obama’s leadership in the United States, they work towards their goal.
The very idea of the nation state they consider to be an anachronism; a nasty thing of the past much to be regretted. The more powerful and glorious the past, the more regretful they are. Filled with remorse for what their forefathers achieved, they will apologize to any foreigner who’ll listen to them. However hard their independence as a nation was won, their system of government developed, their individual freedom wrested from the fist of tyranny, they count it all worth nothing. Obama, whose ignorance of history should but doesn’t embarrass him, routinely apologizes for America to appalling little despotisms, and to countries who have survived as comparatively free nations only because America saved them from conquest by tyrannical powers.
The rest of the article is a paean of praise to the (free) nation-state, and a eulogy to patriotism.
“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is not so much a history, more a compendium of complaint. And (therefore) of every Leftist issue you could think of.
(We have written about Zinn before. See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)
The “People” in Zinn’s mind are a totally different species from the “fifty-five privileged white males whose class interest required a strong central government” and so wrote the Constitution and founded the Union. Those same fifty-five privileged white males of a species different from the People have continued to pursue their selfish material interests ever since at the expense of downtrodden masses. These masses, this vast victimized majority (he quotes Shelley at them: “Ye are many; they are few!”), consists of subordinated races, females, persons of minority sexual preferences (he doesn’t call them that), and people who would like to be rich but do not manage to become so (he doesn’t call them that).
Zinn milks pity from his readers (or tries to). He would have you feel bad if you are white, if you are male, if you are “privileged” (ie not poor), and if you are American; but implies over some 700 pages that you can redeem yourself from your badness if you will beat your breast frequently, cry ‘Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” every day of your life, and join with the complainers in bringing down those fifty-five imperial villains by becoming a violent radical socialist revolutionary or, more comfortably – well, he doesn’t say so in the book because it was published before the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged, but he would have said, by joining it.
Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.
John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.
Or to put it another way: indoctrinate students to believe that a much better society – even a perfect one – could be planned and is only not being planned because “corporate interests” (a euphemism for the fifty-five immortals who founded the USA) will not allow it.
A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.
If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book.
That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.
This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years.
Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?”
Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.”
Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. …
American schools today are … undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally.
Which reminds us of what happened to Rome when it took on Christianity, the first Mea Culpa creed in history.
American children must be taught the values America traditionally stands for, and why they are the highest and the best.
They must be taught that the United States of America was founded as a realization of the idea of liberty.
They must be taught that only in freedom are individuals able to achieve the best they are capable of.
They must be taught that the conditions necessary for a good life – prosperity, physical and mental well-being, the pursuit of individual aims – exist reliably only in a free society.
They must be taught that only the rule of law, not rule by a person or group of potentates, assures liberty.
Generations of American children have not been taught any of this. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades now the schools and academies have been teaching Americans to be ashamed of themselves. So millions of Americans believe that they are justly hated by other nations, and their country should change to become more like other countries. (See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)
William Damon, professor of education at Stanford University and a senior fellow of the admirable Hoover Institution, writes in a recent essay:
In our leading intellectual and educational circles, the entire notion of national devotion is now in dispute. For example, in a book about the future of citizenship, a law professor recently wrote: “Longstanding notions of democratic citizenship are becoming obsolete … American identity is unsustainable in the face of globalization.” As a replacement for commitment to a nation-state, the author wrote, “loyalties…are moving to transnational communities defined by many different ways: by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, and sexual orientation.” In similar fashion, many influential educators are turning to “cosmopolitanism” and “global citizenship” as the proper aim of civics instruction, de-emphasizing the attachment to any particular country such as the United States. As global citizens, it is argued, our primary identification should be with the humanity of the world, and our primary obligation should be to the universal ideals of human rights and justice. Devotion to one’s own nation state, commonly referred to as patriotism, is suspect because it may turn into a militant chauvinism or a dangerous “my country right or wrong” perspective. …
By “justice” the unnamed law professor probably means “social justice’ – the idea that wealth should be taken away from those who have earned it and given to others who have not. “Social justice” is Orwellian Newspeak for injustice.
William Damon points out:
Discouraging young Americans from identifying with their country — and, indeed, from celebrating the traditional American quest for liberty and equal rights — is a sure way to remove their most powerful source of motivation to learn about U. S. citizenship. Why would a student exert any effort to master the rules of a system that the student has no respect for and no interest in being part of? To acquire civic knowledge as well as civic virtue, students need to care about their country.
It is especially odd to see schools with large immigrant populations neglect teaching students about American identity and the American tradition. Educational critic Diane Ravitch observed this phenomenon when visiting a New York City school whose principal proudly spoke of the school’s efforts to celebrate the cultures of all the immigrant students. Ravitch writes, “I asked him whether the school did anything to encourage students to appreciate American culture, and he admitted with embarrassment that it did not.”
At least he was embarrassed.
These and other American students are being urged to identify with, on the one hand, customs from the native lands they have departed and, on the other hand, with the abstract ideals of an amorphous global culture. Lost in between these romantic affiliations is an identification with the nation where these students actually will practice citizenship. Adding to the dysfunction of this educational choice, as Ravitch writes, is the absurdity of teaching “a student whose family fled to this country from a tyrannical regime or from dire poverty to identify with that nation rather than with the one that gave the family refuge.”
We are not “citizens of the world.” We do not pay taxes to the world; we do not vote for a world president or senator.
Professor Damon wants civics taught in the schools, and taught well.
How can we do better? Of course we need to teach students the Constitution, along with its essential underlying principles such as separation of powers, representative government, and Federalism. Excellent programs for such teaching now exist. But these programs are not widely used amidst today’s single-minded focus on basic skills. Compounding this neglect, the school assessments that drive the priorities of teachers infrequently test for civic knowledge. To preserve the American heritage of liberty and democracy for future generations, citizenship instruction must be placed front and center in U. S. classrooms rather than relegated to the margins. …
And he issues a warning:
There is a looming crisis … the very real possibility that our democracy will be left in the hands of a citizenry unprepared to govern it and unwilling the make the sacrifices needed to preserve it. A free society requires an informed and virtuous citizenry. Failing this, as Ben Franklin long ago warned, despotism lies just around the corner.
The citizenry should also be informed what life is like in other countries. Most people in the world are ruled over by despots or despotic regimes. Most democracies, like the European nations, are welfare states rapidly becoming poorer as a result of their socialist economic systems. A proper understanding of capitalist economics – “the natural order of liberty” as Adam Smith called it – should be taught in America as well as civics and truthful history.
Walter Williams writes at Front Page:
A recent Superman comic book has the hero saying, “I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship” because “truth, justice, and the American way — it’s not enough anymore.” …
The ignorance about our country is staggering. According to one survey, only 28 percent of students could identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Only 26 percent of students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Fewer than one-quarter of students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States. …
Ignorance and possibly contempt for American values, civics and history might help explain how someone like Barack Obama could become president of the United States. At no other time in our history could a person with longtime associations with people who hate our country become president. Obama spent 20 years attending the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled sermons, which preached that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” called our country the “US of KKK-A” and asked God to “damn America.” Obama’s other America-hating associates include Weather Underground Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn.
The fact that Obama became president and brought openly Marxist people into his administration doesn’t say so much about him as it says about the effects of decades of brainwashing of the American people by the education establishment, media and the intellectual elite.
Actually, though we don’t disagree with the point Walter Williams is making, we think it does say quite as much about Obama. He epitomizes the sort of America-hating ideologue that the decades of debauched education have bred.
Sin writes histories, goodness is silent – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Parents, beware of the history your children are being taught at school in America. In particular be on the alert for works by Howard Zinn. Here to explain why are two accounts of him and his aims:
From FrontPage, by David Horowitz:
Like [Noam] Chomsky, [Howard] Zinn has produced a corpus of work that is a cartoon version of American history in which the nation is pilloried as an evil empire. Zinn has even published a Chomsky-like tract of table talk on 9/11, blaming America and its alleged crimes in the Third World for the terrorist attack and characterizing the victim as a terrorist state. … His signature book, A People’s History of the United States is a raggedly conceived Marxist caricature that begins with Columbus and ends with George Bush. It has sold over a million copies, greatly exceeding that of any comparable history text. Like Chomsky’s rants, Zinn’s book has been embedded by leftist academics in the collegiate and secondary schools curricula. The New York Times Sunday Book Review gave it this imprimatur: “Historians may well view it as a step toward a coherent new version of American history.” …
Like Chomsky, Zinn’s readership extends far into the popular culture as well. He was invoked as a “genius” by the lead character in the Academy Award winning film Good Will Hunting (the film’s co-writer and star Matt Damon grew up as a Zinn neighbor and enthusiast) and is an intellectual “guru” to movie and music celebrities. Both Chomsky and Zinn have been heavily promoted to rock music audiences by mega-bands Rage Against the Machine and Pearl Jam even while they are also icons of intellectual journals like The Boston Review of Books, which is edited by an MIT professor and Chomsky disciple.
The political agenda of A People’s History of the United States is already announced in its historical method. In an explanatory coda to his book Zinn explains to the reader that he has no interest in striving for objectivity, and that his intention is to view American history as a conspiracy of rich white men to oppress and exploit “the people.” The so-called “people” are naturally Indians and other minorities, especially blacks (“There is not a country in world history in which racism has been more important, for so long a time, as the United States”), women and the industrial proletariat.
Zinn begins his narrative not with the settling of North America, or the creation of the United States as one might expect, but with a long chapter on Columbus’s “genocide” against the native inhabitants, an event – which even if it had happened as Zinn describes it – was an act committed by agents of the Spanish empire more than a century before the English settled North America and nearly three centuries before the creation of the United States, which is also geographically well-removed from the scene of the crime. It is Zinn’s unintended way of announcing the tendentiousness of his entire project, which is really not a “history” of the American people, but an indictment of white people and the capitalist system.
From Townhall, by Michelle Malkin:
On Sunday, Dec. 13, the History Channel will air “The People Speak” — a documentary based on Marxist academic Howard Zinn’s capitalism-bashing, America-dissing, grievance-mongering history textbook, “A People’s History of the United States.” The film was co-produced and bankrolled by Zinn’s Boston neighbor and mentee Matt Damon. An all-star cast of Bush-bashing liberals, including Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, Bruce Springsteen, Marisa Tomei and Eddie Vedder, will appear. Zinn’s work is a self-proclaimed “biased account” of American history that rails against white oppressors, the free market and the military.
Zinn’s objective is not to impart knowledge, but to instigate “change” and nurture a political “counterforce” (an echo of fellow radical academic and Hugo Chavez admirer Bill Ayers’ proclamation of education as the “motor-force of revolution”). Teachers are not supposed to teach facts in the school of Zinn. “There is no such thing as pure fact,” Zinn asserts. Educators are not supposed to emphasize individual academic achievement. They are supposed to “empower” student collectivism by emphasizing “the role of working people, women, people of color and organized social movements.” School officials are not facilitators of intellectual inquiry, but leaders of “social struggle.”
Zinn and company have launched a nationwide education project in conjunction with the documentary. “A people’s history requires a people’s pedagogy to match,” Zinn preaches. The project is a collaboration between two “social justice” activist groups, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.
Rethinking Schools recently boasted of killing a social studies textbook series in the Milwaukee school system because it “failed to teach social responsibility.” A Rethinking Schools guide on the September 11 jihadi attacks instructs teachers to “nurture student empathy” for our enemies and dissuade students from identifying as Americans. “It’s our job to reach beyond this chauvinism.” And a Rethinking Schools guide to early childhood education written by Ann Pelo disparages “a too-heavy focus on academic skills” in favor of “social justice and ecological teaching” for preschoolers.
Teaching for Change’s objective, in Obama-esque fashion, is to train students not to achieve actual proficiency in core academic subjects, but to inspire them to “become active global citizens.” Today’s non-achieving aspirants are tomorrow’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, after all.
No part of the school curriculum is immune from the social justice makeover crew. Zinn’s partners at Rethinking Schools have even issued teaching guides to “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers” — which rejects the traditional white male patriarchal methods of teaching computation and statistics in favor of p.c.-ified number-crunching:
“‘Rethinking Mathematics” is divided into four parts. The first part is devoted to a broad view of mathematics that includes historical and cultural implications. Part Two includes nine classroom narratives in which teachers describe lessons they have used that infuse social justice issues into their mathematics curriculum. Included here … an AP calculus lesson on income distribution. The third part contains three detailed classroom experiences/lessons. These include a physical depiction of the inequitable distribution of the world’s wealth, the results of a student investigation into how many U.S. presidents owned slaves, and a wonderful classroom game called ‘Transnational Capital Auction’ in which students take on the role of leaders of Third World countries bidding competitively for new factories from a multinational corporation. …
Our students will continue to come in dead last in international testing. But no worries. With Howard Zinn and Hollywood leftists in charge, empty-headed young global citizens will have heavier guilt, wider social consciences and more hatred for America than any other students in the world.