RIP Howard Zinn

One more Commie down. The dextrosphere is doing the happy dance, but I’d like to put a word in for Zinn’s People’s History. Yes, it’s biased as hell…just like almost every other history text out there. It may be “badly written, intellectually dishonest and insultingly shallow Marxist propaganda”. It also contains important information you won’t find elsewhere. I would never teach it as a sole book, but I’d certainly use it as a supplement. You see, I have this strange belief that history is about seeing what happened and then drawing conclusions from it. If we don’t teach from an early age how to draw patterns from history, if we give students a tidy narrative with no loose ends, then they won’t have the tools to analyze events as they are occurring and act as citizens accordingly. Of course, that’s the reason they don’t teach history that way in most high schools.

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4 Responses to RIP Howard Zinn

  1. Michael Grosh says:

    I think you give High Schools way too much credit. It’s simply easier to teach history as a tidy narrative with no loose ends. Wrong, but easy.

  2. jeffreyquick says:

    “Never attribute to a conspiracy against learning what you can attribute to union-featherbedding lazy-ass teachers.”

  3. Michael Grosh says:

    Well, partially. I am aware of your background in education so I am gong to assume your response is sarcastic in nature.
    It’s just that, to me, it’s all too easy to find conspiracies everywhere. I have pretty much decided to reject those sort of references unless hard facts reveal thimselves. To do otherwise starts one on the path to membership in the Tin Foil Hat crowd, me thinks.
    I’ll take this opportunity to say how much I enjoy your blogs. You and Beck are my go to guys to cut through the bull***t.

  4. Jeffrey Quick says:

    It’s not an either -or. You’re right that school superintendents and textbook publishers don’t get together and talk about how they’re going to cripple future voters for the Great Marxist Takeover. OTOH, they don’t have any incentives to teach history vigorously. Get some people. places and dates into them, so they pass standardized tests, and it’s good enough. And maybe not even that; my granddaughter told me about her last history teacher, and it’s obvious that kids don’t respect people who waste their time. On the collegiate level, the situation is somewhat like the MSM; some concepts are just not part of their culture, so it never occurs to them to take those positions. The Right is the same way; I read way too many dyslogies of Zinn that talked about “America-hating”. I think that responsible history has to say “we” (term of art for US Gov’t) were wrong when we were wrong, and try to figure out why so that we don’t have to do it again

    Re conspiracies: any situation in which independent actors each pursue their self-interest at the expense of others will appear to be a conspiracy. Until you find the smoking gun, you can’t be sure if its a conspiracy or not, though common sense can lead to reasonably accurate conclusions. Or there may be a conspiracy that’s not as widespread as the credulous might believe. E.g., Al Qaeda…there was/is a movement directed by OBL (or whatever malignant individual is standing in for his corpse), but there are also individuals for whom AQ has favorable brand identification, who will identify themselves as AQ. Another example: the latest buzz at HIllBuzz… I’m willing to believe that there may be a sort of conspiracy to destroy them (in the same way that there’s a “conspiracy” among HillBuzz commenters to ID the perps), but I’m not convinced that it comes from on high, that there ever existed a secret coded message from David Axelrod saying, “Out those ‘Pug-loving faggots.”

    Lumping me in with Beck? I AM NOT WORTHY!!! That said, at least I’m blogging these days. Not that Billy owes any of us shit. I understand that in such a target-rich environment, the trigger finger grows weary. I truly wish that I didn’t have to scratch this itch; there are so many more useful things I could be doing.

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