A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
Interesting comments in the link..Maybe it's time for America to hold an open minded conversation on the pluses and minuses of Marxist philosophy. Everything else seems to be failing..On the note of extreme conservatives such as David Barton, I've been reading Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment wherein the authors link the Marquis de Sade with the kind of conservcatism seen in Ayn Rand's work..And, that is pretty interesting as well..
David Kaiser, a professor of military history at the Naval War College, charged “A People’s History” — which has sold more than two million copies since its initial publication in 1980 — with damaging the country, “By convincing several generations of Americans that leadership does not matter and that all beneficial change comes from the bottom,” he wrote, “it has played a significant role in the destruction of American liberalism.”
.I heard an interesting comment today regarding the "bottom up" reference you made in your David Kaiser comment.Putting that together with your comment,Tom, I'm wondering about the average age of the Founding Fathers. How old was Thomas jefferson when he penned the Declaration of Independence. Could his actions be considered a bottom up effort?.
...America to hold an open minded conversation on [fill in the blank]While wishing that we could discuss things like market forces & economics, guns, healthcare, politics and religion in a rational way, it sure as hell isn't going to happen in America any time soon (if it's ever going to be possible). We're now at the height of rebellion against intellectualism, knowledge, science, critical thinking*, expertise, and gubmint. It's all done in the gut now.But, I like your optimism. *when a state arm of a major national political party actually, in plain words and for all the world to see, states that one of their party planks is to be against education that promotes critical thinking, you know we're in the deep doo doo. Not even hiding it anymore.
.I get your point straight on as accurate, JRB.I'm beginning to understand the Horkheimer/Adorno claim that conservatism is an outgrowth of the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade. There are various expreswsions of power and when those expressions get to be in line with such domination as is being exercised in present day American Conservative politics as what the Republican Party is putting out, you know our great America is in the deepest doo doo it has ever experienced. Unless something happens--and soon--we're up the creek..
An excellent counterargument, Phil.
.Our politics is so dominated by the super rich that we barely are able to know our own thoughts..It is the American way to overthrow the super rich that puts so much effort into its lust for power.How in blazes did they get to be so filthy rich in the first place? It you know, raise your hand. I've been there and I know what it's like to be dominated by the rich and powerful. They get their kicks out of being able to dominate those whom they consider to be disposable...
Oh, no, I was referring to your counterargument to Kaiser, Phil. The rest of that Horkheimer/Adorno Marxist stuff is complete nonsense and has zero to do with this blog.Kaiser was actually arguing against Marxist "bottom up" historical theory too, and I thought you got the better of him, at least the one-sentence fragment we have of his argument.Where it all falls apart is that the American Revolution was essentially a conservative one, continuing the English Civil Wars and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the colonists claiming their rights as men, and as Englishmen.But hey, you can see anything through Marxist glasses. Go for it!http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/918/cromwell.html
.Tom..Are you saying the American Revolution against the crown of England was a conservative action?.Cow's ass?.Explain that one, please.
That argument comes as news to you, Phil? You've been reading this blog for years but every once in awhile, it's like you just discovered it this morning.You don't have to agree with the argument, but it should seem somewhat familiar by now.http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/war-and-society/a-conservative-revolution.htmA Conservative Revolution by Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D.The American Revolution did not spark a vast social upheaval like those associated with the French and Russian Revolutions. The struggle for independence did not pit one class against another. The men who served in Congress or led the Continental army never sought to restructure society. Although the shape of American government changed, it was always rooted in traditional practice and principles. Because of this, the American Revolution has been described as a conservative revolution, making it unique among the major revolutionary movements of the modern era.Now, you can argue that it was radicalhttp://www.enotes.com/radicalism-american-revolution-salem/radicalism-american-revolutionbut when contrasted to the revolutions in France and Russia [or Cuba], not so much.
.Of course it's true that a major motivation for going to war was related to the life style the Colonists had developed over the generations of being on their own. But, the actual revolution was more than that--the DOI makes it plain..Liberty itself is anti-conmservative. What IS the average age of the Founding Fathers? Does anyone know? Jefferson was what, 25 years old?.
Fine, be that way. The Americans didn't do anything to the king that the British people themselves hadn't done 100 years before.
.If anyone could answer my question, I would expect it would be you, Tom..What was the average age of the Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776?.
The Signers averaged 44. Jefferson was 33, Franklin 70. If there's nothing else, I'll be going now.
Where it all falls apart is that the American Revolution was essentially a conservative one...The AR was what it was. Continuing to draw parallels and equivalency with what happened in old Europe, with long-entrenched institutions that we only had to deal with from afar and considerable geographic differences, is absurd. The revolutionary and progressive step that happened in the AR was the entrenchment in the national government of the political idea that sovereignty and responsibility for governance was in The People. Not a King. Not God. What everyone that is halfway honest will attest is that the American Civil War was an extension of the AR. A long-postponed settling of scores - at stake were the central ideals of the DOI and Constitution, that so many revere today, with respect to humanity and the human condition. That postponement was a result of pragmatic compromises that allowed the Union to putt along until the inevitable. The leading lights of the AR recognized how things would have played out - continuation of slavery and non-union - without compromising and crossing the national fingers.We lost at least 3/4-1 million people during the CW and suffered an amazing toll on physical infrastructure and the national psyche. Getting to be a nation was just as barbarous as any in Europe. And I didn't even mention the outright theft of land and genocide of the original inhabitants during and after the AR and up until today.This idea that we have no blood on our hands and are therefore more pure that the Europeans and Russians in their journeys toward modernity is absurd and does not fit the evidence.But, if you're looking for a good, heart-warming story that makes us better than we are, have at it.Now. I think that there are a lot of good things about this nation and how we got where we are but my view, and apparently Zinn's, is that there's no sense in wearing blinders when trying to understand how we got here.
.I have to write it, JRB. Your post is one of the best posts I've read here at American Creation. You are right on exactimento! .
That was Kaiser's point. Liberty just didn't "happen" without Washington, without Lincoln.As for France, it turned to Napoleon, and millions more died. The Soviet Union died of Reagan and of exhaustion, tens of millions of deaths later.Liberty owes the Howard Zinns nothing."Not surprisingly, Zinn’s book contains not a single source citation (perhaps footnotes would discourage his Pearl Jam fans).More striking than Zinn’s inaccuracies—intentional and otherwise—is what he leaves out. Washington’s Farewell Address, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate all fail to merit a mention. Nowhere do we learn that Americans were first in flight, first to fly across the Atlantic, and first to walk on the moon. Alexander Graham Bell, Jonas Salk, and the Wright Brothers are entirely absent. Instead, the reader is treated to the exploits of Speckled Snake, Joan Baez, and the Berrigan brothers. While Zinn sees fit to mention that immigrants often went into professions like ditch-digging and prostitution, American success stories like those of Alexander Hamilton, John Jacob Astor, and Louis B. Mayer—to name but a few—are off the Zinn radar screen. Valley Forge rates a single fleeting reference, while D-Day’s Normandy invasion, Gettysburg, and other important military battles are skipped over. In their place, we get several pages on the My Lai massacre and colorful descriptions of U.S. bombs falling on hotels, air-raid shelters, and markets during the Gulf War of the early 1990s.ConclusionZinn utters perhaps the most honest words of A People’s History of the United States in the conclusion of the book’s 1995 edition, conceding that his work is “a biased account.” “I am not troubled by that,” he adds, “because the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the other direction—so tremblingly respectful of states and statesmen and so disrespectful, by inattention, to people’s movements—that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission.” Perhaps the reason they lean so heavily in the other direction is that they are based on facts, not leftwing prejudice."http://hnn.us/articles/1493.html
.Speaking of prejudice...
Tom,Have you read Zinn's History? Can you give use some sense of he mistakes and errors that he foists off on an unsuspecting public. What are the lies and distortions. I suspect that most of his critics savage him not so much on technical grounds but on ideological.As best as I can tell, and I haven't read the History either, is that Zinn was up front in addressing his biases and the reasons that he was not covering what was readily available in the existing vast historical literature. He was an iconoclast and felt it his calling to give some voice to the voiceless. Some call that Marxism or communism but that's just ideological name calling. It's as silly as calling Jesus of Nazareth a Commie for championing the poor and dispossessed.Has it occurred to you that he qualifies for the Van Dykeian Barton defense? His enemies, the haters, miss the parts he got right because they're to busy hatin'. Zinn is always trotted out as a false equivalency but there are never any details, just broad ideologically-soaked accusations.
Oh, you should read the rest of the link. Zinn's even worse than that.
I assume that you're referring to Daniel J. Flynn's piece? If so, you do know that it was written by a right-wing activist and was initially printed in Front Page magazine? Does he have some kind of history credential?he criticizes Zinn's History for not containing proper citations yet uses no citations to the information that he presents in the essay? interesting.Just quickly scanning through I found Flynn making this assertion:"Zinn claims that 'George Washington was the richest man in America.' He wasn’t, but it makes for a good Marxist tale." It doesn't take much Googling to find that Zinn clearly cites someone else as the author of this assertion.Again, he appears to be a hater hatin' and not getting what Zinn gets right. Who watches the watchers.To go any further would have me burning beauty sleep tonight and would require me to buy Zinn's book tomorrow - not gonna happen.Maybe there are some other sources?
I don't care enough about Zinn either. There are plenty of specifics in the indictment there for people to check out. As for doing your work for you, pass. I tried to help Phil with his argument, and he ended up screwing his own pooch!
As for doing your work for you, pass.You hardly need to do homework for me. I just thought you might want to beef up your argument with some substance.
Looks like I missed most of the fun ... but here's my two cents.Well Zinn is the furthest one can get from the “great man theory of history.” As I’m closer to the latter, I (and a few others) tend to focus on the key founding fathers as we’ve been calling them here. Mark and Tom have championed the next tier. If we had a Zinn-type of bottoms-up analysis we’d most likely would see a greater emphasis on religion[s].
Yes, Jason---I was rather helping Phil with that argument until it became necessary to provide specifics on how Howard Zinn sucks.http://hnn.us/articles/1493.htmlZinn's defenders complain there are no specifics, then when brought face-to-face with dozens of them, ignore them and ask for more.As Maxwell Smart used to say, the old epistemological black hole trick."Through Zinn’s looking-glass, Maoist China, site of history’s bloodiest state-sponsored killings, becomes “the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people’s government, independent of outside control.” The authoritarian Nicaraguan Sandinistas were “welcomed” by their own people, while the opposition Contras, who backed the candidate that triumphed when free elections were finally held, were a “terrorist group” that “seemed to have no popular support inside Nicaragua.” Castro’s Cuba, readers learn, “had no bloody record of suppression.”The recently released updated edition continues to be plagued with inaccuracies and poor judgment. The added sections on the Clinton years, the 2000 election, and 9/11 bear little resemblance to the reality his current readers have lived through.In an effort to bolster his arguments against putting criminals in jail, aggressive law enforcement tactics, and President Clinton’s crime bill, Zinn contends that in spite of all this “violent crime continues to increase.” It doesn’t. Like much of Zinn’s rhetoric, if you believe the opposite of what he says in this instance you would be correct. According to a Department of Justice report released in September of 2002, the violent crime rate has been cut in half since 1993.According to Zinn, it was Mumia Abu-Jamal’s “race and radicalism,” as well as his “persistent criticism of the Philadelphia police” that landed him on death row in the early 1980s. Nothing about Abu-Jamal’s gun being found at the scene; nothing about the testimony of numerous witnesses pointing to him as the triggerman; nothing about additional witnesses reporting a confession by Abu-Jamal—it was Abu-Jamal’s dissenting voice that caused a jury of twelve to unanimously sentence him to death.Predictably, Zinn draws a moral equivalence between America and the 9/11 terrorists. He writes, “It seemed that the United States was reacting to the horrors perpetrated by the terrorists against innocent people in New York by killing other innocent people in Afghanistan.” Scare quotes adorn Bush’s “war on terrorism,” post-9/11 “patriotism,” and other words and phrases Zinn dislikes.Readers of A People’s History of the United States learn very little about history. They do learn quite a bit, however, about Howard Zinn. In fact, the book is perhaps best thought of as a massive Rorschach Test, with the author’s familiar reaction to every major event in American history proving that his is a captive mind long closed by ideology."
I guess dipping one more time from the partisan hack pool somehow has a magical significance. Nice historical work.And, if you think that I'm just defending Zinn then you've missed the point - although he's entitled to defense from shallow attack. My challenge is to do some lifting beyond citing partisan hack work. I'm challenging you to be a better you. That will help me be a better me. And, it will be interesting.Try reading the book and doing some valuable evaluation.I, like Jason, have a predilection for the inspiration provided by the “great man theory of history.” But, I also realize that that is a narrow reading of the past and that the “every man and every women theory of history” is just as inspiring. So, call me a Marxist if you will. Or a commie. Or whatever. I won't be upset. I have a soft spot for the one's that overturn the tables in the temples.
It should be easy for you to show this Zinn critic is a hack, besides just calling him a hack. Get to work, then.This wasn't written for you anyway, it was written for the passerby to get an idea of just what an ideological hack Howard Zinn was, and what the hell are his books doing in our schools?No wonder our kids don't know Washington's Farewell Address. Their heads are being filled with this crap.
.I'm not sure of the correct words to use; but, the title of Zinn's popular history book is, "The People's History...".Most of the people I knew in high school did not do well in our history classes. Too much on dates and other details and very dry--we didn't learn much atall. Dates and names were what showed up on our tests..Along comes Zinn with a populist history that makes it easy for us dumbos to learn. And, those nerds that did well in high school history books don't like Zinn.But, Zinn did for history what they were unable to do..Go figure...
Along comes Zinn with a populist history that makes it easy for us dumbos to learn.Uh huh.
.Right, uh huh..Other than that, who would care?The professors?I don't come close to thinking I am capable of teaching anyone anything about history.BUT!!I have come to be interested and have learned a lot and some of it from you, Tom.All thanks to men like Howard Zinn who helped open my mind.It takes all kinds. There is another world out here beside nerdsville..I do not think it does anyone any good to put men like Zinn down just because he didn't play by your rules..He was in a class above mose and inspired many people..
Is left-leaning [and award-winning] historian Michael Kazin a hack? Educate yourselves about Howard Zinn.http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=385POINTING OUT what's wrong with Zinn's passionate tome is not difficult for anyone with a smattering of knowledge about the American past. By why has this polemic disguised as history attracted so many enthusiastic readers?
"Along comes Zinn with a populist history that makes it easy for us dumbos to learn. "I thought you were over 80, Phil? Zinn is even after my time (61yrs old). In any case, I remember learning about everyday colonial life in elementary school. I preferred Franklin's kite experiment to kettle cooking and bed warmers. But I guess I'm one of those nerds. I hear today's children don't learn about the great inventors and inventions. Progress?
Michael Kazin is far preferable. Broadly speaking, he calls The People's History (the History) bad history (and I suppose this applies beyond just that one work). (So did John Fea not long ago.) But Kazin's criticism is also at least partly ideological in scope - I guess Zinn asks for it - as much as scholarly. But still I haven't seen anything that indicates that Zinn's "bad history" was wrong history or that he compiled lies and falsehoods on top of distortions and misrepresentations in order to create a totally false narrative (he is not the counterweight to Barton). It seems the critics in academia, in which Zinn was educated and was always a part, may take some offense at work that steps so far outside of the more staid and cautious academic world.It is charged by Zinn's critics and admirers alike that his work is too focused on good v. evil (manichean they call it) and that he oversimplifies. But, as Kazin points out about the History, it is a survey. And it's written with full and honest acknowledgement by Zinn as to his approach and his biases. It is written simply in the style of such surveys and addressed to the people, not to academia. Eric Foner (American Historian) started his acknowledgement following Zinn's death with:"Friedrich Nietzsche once identified three approaches to the writing of history: the monumental, the antiquarian and the critical, the last being history 'that judges and condemns.' Howard Zinn, who died onJanuary 27 at 87, wrote the third kind. Unlike many historians, he was not afraid to speak out about the difference between right and wrong."I managed to find a copy of the History and read the first chapter on the exploration and conquest that founded the Americas .... for the Europeans at least, since it was already occupied.It was not as bloody bad as I thought it would be - much or all of what is said in the way of historical evidence is fairly undisputed*. Probably because it has been so widely disseminated since Zinn popped the bubble of the academic world and allowed some countervailing history to leak out; enraging professional historians and conservative commentators alike.To paraphrase Zinn from his opening chapter, the point is to give people a fuller story of our history; to expose the warts and the stumbles. Not just to be an anarchist or a carrier of the Marxist banner but to give a fuller accounting, to give greater information to the people that, in our system, make decisions and that ultimately will have to live with the consequences. His greatest sin appears to be just this; sharing of information. Information that had generally been swept aside or doled out in microscopic doses by professional historians of the academy - the History is an anecdote for or supplement to the other two styles of histories that Nietzsche described. He apparently trusted that we Americans, adult Americans, could be trusted to know the full accounting of history. And, rather than force the reader (at least in the single chapter that I read) to dogmatically take what he presented at full face value, he asks questions and challenges the reader to ask questions. Among them:"If there are necessary sacrifices to be made for human progress, is it not essential to hold to the principle that those to be sacrificed must make the decision themselves?" Fair question? *it is likely due to Zinn's influence (among others) that more focus has been given since 1980 to the subjects and style of the History. But, if you've ever taken survey American History at the college/university level then you know that the first accounting is generally the much blander, less provocative, and more scholarly surveys that are designed and tested not to offend. Maybe, supplemented with the History. Maybe.Anyways, I agree, bad scholarly history. But, I'm OK with that. And glad that there is a lot of good scholarly history to go around.
The old epistemological black hole trick. Ask for more evidence, get it, spin it away.Fortunately, I didn't post it for you, since I knew it was a waste of time. It's for the reader passing by, just so they know that Zinn is held as a propagandist even by scholars like Micheal Kazin who are themselves very much to the left of center.I don't mind Zinn so much for his banal thesis, that America was built on crimes against weaker peoples [every nation begins with a crime], but that he's taught as "history" in our schools. I would say the same about David Barton, whose history is crap but whose thesis is more true than false.And that's why they are indeed peas in a pod, despite the sophistic attempts to raise Zinn with one hand and smite Barton with the other.And Barton's mythologizing has done the republic far less harm than Zinn, who has helped raise generations of students now to hate their country.In the end, Barton is selling no more than George Washington and the cherry tree. The republic survived that; the damage done by Zinn and the numerous teachers who have propagated Zinn's jaundiced view of our history to our kids is yet to be measured. Kids, hell. Look at poor Phil. Anti-Americanism for Dummies. Thanks a lot, Dr. Zinn.
Tom, It's hard to believe that you would have been anything but a king's man during the revolution - what with the anti-colonialist tendencies of the revolutionaries. One of the fears of the common man was that the Empire and the East India Company would ride roughshod over them and leave them ruined under the weight of their tyranny, much as they'd done elsewhere. Holy cow, pre-Zinnian madness!Zinn has hardly ruined the republic and there's not much chance that he will. I'll hold the same out for Barton. You can catch your breath now.As to your heroic struggle against epistemological darkness - at least to the benefit of the lone, yet un-indoctrinated straggler that happens by, you seem quit taken with the idea of the kind of epistemic closure that is fueled by a top-down happy history that keeps the kids quite and the status quo on track. No unhappy talk, adherence to doctrine and orthodoxy. That's fine. But, I think that we're all adults here and can handle a little unpleasant family history. By the way, did you notice that I conceded - bad scholarly history. Even after actually reading some Zinn. Woohoooo. I lost the argument. At least I think that was the argument. Of course I can understand why it befuddles some that I don't see Barton and Zinn as offsetting equivalents. That has something to do with the fact that one of them builds their history on outright lies, concocted distortions and misrepresentations in a manipulative attempt to advance a narrow political agenda (that even fellow conservative coreligionists have had enough of) and one just pisses people of by using history the "wrong way" - in support of a broad and transparent political agenda. But then they probably both put their pants on one leg at a time. So, there's that.I guess we'll just disagree.
And, Phil, maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention but are you anti America?
And, for the woebegone lone stumbler still on the fence, here are some additional sources of commentary for Zinn.John Feahttp://www.philipvickersfithian.com/2010/01/howard-zinn-rip.htmlBen Alpers (US Intellectual History Blog)http://us-intellectual-history.blogspot.com/2010/01/howard-zinn-1922-2010.htmlAnd, Robert Farley (Lawyers, Guns & Money)http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2010/01/zinnIt appears that Howard Zinn has passed. The only work of Zinn’s that I’ve read is People’s History; I was both deeply disappointed in it as a work of history, yet glad that it existed.Rest in peace.
/And, Phil, maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention but are you anti America? .WTF?
Phil, sorry, I was referring to this that was written above: "Kids, hell. Look at poor Phil. Anti-Americanism for Dummies."Maybe I misconstrued what was being said. But, I thought that it might need clarification and/or rebuttal.
.I don't waste a lot of my time reading all the clap trap that Tom puts out when he gets into his sociopathic ways..Asode from that, he could have been a contender..
Instead of calling them names, now we're linking to Zinn critics.Excellent.Get busy, Phil. You've a lot of catching up to do.
Tom has it right that Zinn has contributed to the black-washing of America that is common in today’s academic establishment and that undermines the Republic. Barton, however, undermines the opposition and contributes to their marginalization. Perhaps that's why two Christian conservatives, at Grove City College, are particularly upset by Barton.
.My education--what little of it that I have--seemed to promote the idea of self criticism. Maybe mine was out of the back waters, I'm not sure..There is a problem with referencing one's commentaries that seems so obvious to me. A skilled historian can make almost any claim based on some reference by citation. Seems that Zinn's work has the ability to leave it up to the reader to search out the veracity of his claims. What's wrong with that?.
Here's another commentary from the academy (found via John Fea's blog):http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/07/lies-the-debunkers-told-me-how-bad-history-books-win-us-over/260251/#.UA7CyBQyP9k.twitterAs I was reading this article it occurred to me that there are two parts that are being conflated in most review's involving both Barton and Zinn; 1) the actual veracity of the work(s) produced, and 2) the use to which the work(s) is/are used and those, the activists, that use the work(s).If just evaluating the veracity of the work(s), or their reliability in conveying accurate historical information (ignoring the authors biases and conclusions), then one thing is not like the other. Beneke and Stephens state,"Both offer stark, simplistic accounts (buttressed, in Barton's case, by a litany of historical errors)." Which can be restated, A) Zinn offers stark, simplistic accounts.B) Barton offers stark, simplistic accounts that are buttressed by a litany of historical errors.B is different than AAdd to that, A) Zinn was educated and trained as a historian and worked his entire career within the academy, andb) Barton is a Republican political operative, once having been the Texas GOP chairman, with no training or credentials in studying or presenting history,and A and B are different. That has been my point. The works produced are not equal and opposite, thus I see a false equivalency. I'm not saying that either are "good history" as defined in the Beneke and Stephens commentary. The activism and the zealous use of their products does seem, however, far more equivalent in my view.It also seems to me that the Beneke and Stephens commentary, like the Kazin article, contains a bit of the academic ire, "The trick works partly because of how little credit Barton and Zinn give their fellow historians, even those who have some affinity with their own conclusions." But I understand the validity of charging Zinn with not building a more scholarly work and that the scholarly works should not be ignored (unfortunately that's what zealots do but it is different than how I would read Zinn).I'll let it go that Barton is referred to by Beneke and Stephens as a fellow historian. I assume that was just a slip of the fingers.
.As a not so greatly educated as some of the bloggers here at this site, I come seeking information rather than showing off my knowledge and expertise. I'm over my head here and that's great. I always liked to go to places over my head--out of the box.What The Peoples' History does for most readers it that it points in a direction; whereas, the works of the highly sophisticated historians employing footnotes and references put an end to the student's curiosity. When brother Tom makes a claim, there's no more to it--that's all there is and everything else is capute. You cannot question his claims as he has included the necessary citations to back him up. Which approach is better?.Actually, it seems to me, that the kind of work we are exposed to in Zinn causes us to seek further information and our mind is expanded..Regarding citations and references all of which are necessary to back up certain claims, I think of the comment we often hear about the Bible that it can be used to prove just about anything you wish. References can be used to prove almost anything.That's the difference between annotation and connotation is it not?.
.Isn't it an important part of the teacher's job to created a desire in the student to seek further information?.Or are we to learn by rote?.
Phil, a lot of the comments made to posts about Zinn around the intertubes are from history teachers that comment on using Zinn in conjunction with traditional texts; maybe at the intro survey level or possibly at more advanced levels. They use it to spark critical thinking in the students and not as a leftist indoctrination tool.There is more than one way to read and to use the People's History. If my experience in university history classes, and humanities classes in general, is a guide, reading Zinn is just as likely to hit a brick wall as to spark anarcho-terrorism or a milder form of America hating. As much as some radio announcers like to think of students as minds full of mush waiting to be indoctrinated, most are bright and not easily led. But, as I mentioned early on - cough, Texas GOP - not everyone likes encouraging critical and independent thought. Scary beans.
.I think I intuitively thought that, JRB..So, thanks for making it all so clear..Life is better experienced when we do our own thinking rather than having some expert explain reality for us..But, I have to hand it to Tom. He is quite an expert..
Thx, Phil, but I'm not even half as good as Howard Zinn.
Zinn never told me how to think.I was under the impression that you considered yourself enough of an equal to Howard Zinn that you were able to so vibrantly fault him an being inferior..
I just say Zinn is a polemicist---and so does he. I don't like him in our schools as "history."As for Barton, I think it's hilarious how upset he gets some people, that they write long essays and even book-length rebuttals.I would oppose Barton's books being used in our schools too, but I find his torturing of factoids like "Jefferson chose to sign documents in the name of Jesus Christ" or some rhetorical hairspitting about the Kaskaskia Indians as fairly harmless---there's no way we're going back to such language in our official documents, the government is not going to pay for Christian missionaries.As for Zinn poisoning our nation's young against their own country---and leftist academics using his books to do so---not so harmless. And my anger is really at the teachers who spread his propaganda to our kids. And other weaker minds...
.Thus, you expose yourself as a person who uses citations to promote your bias and, thereby, render yourself as untrustworthy even though you might be a good representative of most times..And, that is a stupid thing for such an intelligent person to do, Tom..Otherwise, you could be a contender..You must be consistant! Barton making his point about Jefferson promotes the idea that the Founders were mostly orthodox Christians and that is a BIG problem in America today--giving credance to the religious right..
The Founders were mostly orthodox Christians. That's why Paine's "Common Sense" is so Biblical [even though he wasn't]. You don't get it.You---and most Barton critics---reveal yourself not as friends of history, but enemies of the Religious Right. Your own words right here betray it, Phil.
.While I most certainly oppose much of what the Christian Right stands for and promotes. I don't think I am its enemy..
.My guess is, Tom, that you don't know what it means to be an orthodox Christian..
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