David Thompson
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February 08, 2010

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rv

"the polemicist and pseudo-historian Howard Zinn"

Oh for fuck's sake, grow up. Neo con cunts.

Mr Eugenides

Yes, grow up, you cunts!

Next week: don't be so offensive, you spastics.

jones

For cunting fuck sake you foul-mouthed fucks.

What sorely tasks you so rv?

David

rv,

It’s always a pleasure when you drop by, before promptly running away. Though I’m not sure why you’re so peeved, unless criticism of Zinn and his more outlandish claims is simply not allowed.

The leftwing historian and Dissent contributor Michael Kazin – hardly a “neo con cunt” – described Zinn’s opus as “bad history” and “polemic disguised as history” with “a premise better suited to a conspiracy-monger’s website than to a work of scholarship.” He added, “the doleful narrative makes one wonder why anyone but the wealthy came to the United States at all and, after working for a spell, why anyone wished to stay.” Kazin also noted, “pointing out what’s wrong with Zinn’s passionate tome is not difficult for anyone with a smattering of knowledge about the American past.”

http://hnn.us/articles/4370.html

See also critiques by the historians Eric Foner (again, not an obvious “neo con cunt”) and Oscar Handlin, who detailed numerous examples of Zinn’s more egregious errors and distortions. (American Scholar #49, Autumn 1980.)

Zinn’s remarks about 9/11 and American “imperialism” and his apologetics for Islamic terrorism revealed a man whose worldview was naive, fatuous and often reprehensible. Not so much a historian as an adolescent contrarian. One might, for instance, question Zinn’s assertion (in “An Occupied Country”) that, “the so-called war on terrorism is not only a war on innocent people in other countries, but it is also a war on the people of the United States... The wealth of the country is being stolen from the people and handed over to the super-rich. The lives of our young are being stolen and the thieves are in the White House.” Likewise, one might raise an eyebrow at Zinn’s claims that America is the world’s greatest “terrorist state,” whose wars are waged “against children” and invariably for reasons of profit, empire and/or racism.

A supposed “alternative to the official story” has for many credulous souls become The Official Story and is propagated with almost evangelical zeal. And it’s often consumed uncritically by those who wish to believe. So you may want to rethink your comment about growing up.

Anna

David, have you seen the comments to Ollie Kamm's post on Zinn? Are rv and "Faceless" one and the same? :)

http://timesonline.typepad.com/oliver_kamm/2010/01/howard-zinn-rip.html

And Norm Geras must secretly be a "neo con cunt" too...

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2005/08/the_steady_stre.html

David

“Are rv and ‘Faceless’ one and the same? :)”

I see there’s a common idiom. But maybe that’s just the sound of terribly radical individuals Speaking Truth To Power.

Ed

He just can't stop swearing, can he?!

KRW/WTP

Gerard Alexander's piece speaks to the main tool that keeps the left in power. People who don't think, think that thinking like people whom they think think are thinking is the only way to think. Condescension is a wonderful tool for perpetuating this perception. Unlike religion, they don't have a proper "hell" to threaten their masses with so condescension works like an enhanced form of the threat of excommunication. Thus alternative ideas appear as a form of blaspheme and you get spasmodic convulsive reactions like those of our mr. rv.

Che is Dead

@ Christopher Hitchens

Jonah Goldberg would love this line:

"Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right."

As he points out in his rebuttal to left-wing critics of "Liberal Fascism", the left's definition of "right-wing" is simply "evil".

carbon based lifeform

But David, Jane Fonda says Zinn was a great historian...
http://janefonda.com/howard-zinn/

David

Yes indeed, Jane Fonda. And who are we to doubt the face of L’Oreal?

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451675669e2012877787f64970c-pi

It’s no great surprise that fashion conscious celebrities have championed Zinn or that Marxist ideologues have described his output as “a weapon in the class struggle.” That’s what idiots do. What’s faintly depressing is that millions of students have been encouraged to believe, based on nothing much, that, “the American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history.” One that “turns [the masses] against one another” and suppresses dissent with a diabolical mixture of patriotism and war. And to believe that the US has *never* used its military power for benign or moral purposes, but always and only to further its “empire” over others. It’s this insistence on an entirely malign intent that leads to a cartoon version of history. As Roger Kimball says, Zinn’s contempt for accurate grading is pretty much symbolic of a broader attitude.

There are plenty of other, more serious accounts of American history and its less edifying aspects, but Zinn struck a chord with a certain kind of adolescent posturing, despite his work being lurid, misleading and factually unreliable. As Oliver Kamm noted, the Guardian’s Victoria Brittain wrote a fawning tribute to Zinn but made no mention whatsoever of the quality of his research. Her prejudices had been buttered and that seems to be enough:

“If your heart is in the right place, so the assumption seems to be, then it doesn’t matter if your scholarship is sloppy or risible. Well, it does matter, because historical truth matters for its own sake. Zinn had no conception of it. To him, an example of ‘admirable and painstaking research’ was - seriously - a popular book claiming that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.”

http://timesonline.typepad.com/oliver_kamm/2010/01/zinn-departs.html

RickC

@Gerard Alexander,

And here I was wondering how deep the cognitive dissonance ran in progressive minds to hold these views simultaneously.

Democrat/Democrat-leaning with positive attitudes on the following:

Small business 95%
Free enterprise 85%
Entrepreneurs 82%
Capitalism 53%
Big business 46%
Federal gov. 67%

And then this,

Socialism 53%

http://www.gallup.com/poll/125645/Socialism-Viewed-Positively-Americans.aspx

Am I missing something? My definition of socialism means the first five on the list are to be eliminated post-haste. And aren't free enterprise and capitalism the same thing? Maybe it's progressives who are suffering from ". . .false consciousness" or at least from a confused world view. Might we benefit from not listening to them?

KRW/WTP

RickC,
I'm sure it's word "free" in "free enterprise" that stimulates the pleasure centers. That consequently makes the blood rush out of their brains to the nether regions and thus in the rest of the poll they're just coming down off of a high.

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