Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Howard Zinn's Long, Influential Arm (With Addendum)

This blog post will remain here for several days so that readers of this blog can explore the information in manageable segments.

Please avail yourself of the opportunity to learn about the anti-American views of the man who has in recent years probably most influenced Americans' interpretation of our own history and heritage. Even conservatives have bought into many of Howard Zinn's ideas — and the disparagement of America.

In fact, his materials, including portions of and materials derived from A People's History of the United States, are used in classrooms all over the United States.

During the interview, Dennis Prager asked Zinn if the world would be a better or worse place if America had never existed. Zinn said that the world would be a better place if America had never existed.

The interview in four parts:











For further study:

The Zinn Education Project web site

The Zinn Education Facebook page

Questions for discussion:

1.  How much of Howard Zinn's influence impacted your education?

2.  How much of Howard Zinn's influence impacts your children's (or other younger relatives' education) today?

3.  Besides education, do you see other ways in which Howard Zinn's influence has impacted the way the people think today?

ADDENDUM

Since I queued up this blog post, the following information about the new AP American History Course has come along (August 7, 2014):
Historic fail? Greatest Americans missing from proposed curriculum

New history curriculum standards proposed for top high school students leave out such American icons as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King, Jr., paint colonists as bigots and gloss over the Greatest Generation's fight to save the world from Nazi Germany, according to conservative education activists who want the framework delayed — and perhaps scrapped altogether.

An open letter circulated by conservative education activists is calling on The College Board to delay implementing new Advanced Placement U.S. History guidelines, saying a “rising tide of opposition” believes the curriculum will take the nation’s classrooms in a bad direction.

The Aug. 4 letter, which is addressed to David Coleman, president/CEO of the New York-based nonprofit, claims the new 98-page curriculum is a “dramatic departure” from the five-page outline previously used by teachers and students and offers a consistently negative view of Americans as oppressors and exploiters.

“The framework ignores the rise of democratic institutions such as the House of Burgesses and New England town meetings,” the letter reads. “It also omits the colonists’ growing commitment to religious freedom and the emergence of a pluralistic society that lacked an entrenched aristocracy.”

What’s missing from the curriculum, according to a former public school teacher and author of two Advanced Placement prep guides, is mention of John Winthrop and his “city upon a hill” sermon as one of the key early instances of American exceptionalism and references to Roger Williams and the birth of religious toleration.

[...]

“And you’re not going to find Thomas Jefferson and the House of Burgesses and the cradle of democracy either,” said Larry Krieger, who retired in 2005 after more than three decades in the classroom. “And finally, you’re not going to find Benjamin Franklin and the birth of American entrepreneurialism.”

Instead, students exposed to the curriculum — roughly 500,000 annually nationwide, many of whom will take the class as sophomores and juniors — will find a narrative laden with tyranny and subjugation....
More at the above link.

Also see New War Over High School U.S. History.

Howard Zinn has won!

58 comments:

  1. It's incredible how well this remarkable, much-needed, long-awaited post ties in with the highly provocative article by Timothy Dalton called Nietzsche and the Jews published at FreeThinke's blog today with emphasis added.

    We, as a people, will never be able to heal ourselves of the mental and spiritual malignancy now threatening our very existence, unless and until we learn what has been DONE to us through the sophistry, guile and sheer wickedness of INTELLECTUAL INSURGENCY emanating from a tiny, astonishingly powerful, devilishly clever minority whose sole raison d'etre throughout history seems to have been the overmastering desire to gain control of the Levers of Power.

    Howard Zinn's current place in the curriculum of far too many of our schools is one more piece of clear and convincing evidence of the high degree of success this ignoble, hate-based mission has achieved in destroying faith in the redeeming Word of Jesus Christ and thus conquering the once-Christian West.

    It has been a pitched battle between Love and Hate all along, and sad to say, at present Hate seems to be winning.

    One thing is certain, however, fighting Hate with MORE Hate -- as Hitler thought he was doing -- could never be anything but a losing strategy We must NOT fall into that trap again, because it only STRENGTHENS the Forces of Darkness.

    "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful ..."

    Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FT,
      One thing is certain, however, fighting Hate with MORE Hate -- as Hitler thought he was doing -- could never be anything but a losing strategy We must NOT fall into that trap again, because it only STRENGTHENS the Forces of Darkness.

      Agreed.

      However, I favor righteous anger. If there is no push-back, generations more will be lost.

      Those students who do not subscribe to the Leftist curricula will be shut out of college via the high school courses and the revised SAT.

      Delete
    2. If I am about anything, AOW, surely it must be Righteous Indignation. ;-)

      I am interested primarily, however, in seeing that it gets properly directed. We MUST know -- and adequately CONFRONT-- the forces that have DONE this to us. We must know the SOURCE of our feverish discontent and relentless hostility. Hw and why it came to be. We were NOT ALWAYS the way we are today.

      Zinn was but an END PRODUCT of the depredations of MORAL and INTELLECTUAL TERMITES who've been chewing out the foundations of our Civilization for a VERY long time.

      Please don't say that Zinn has won, because that means SATAN has won. We could never afford to admit that.

      FIGHT ON!

      Delete
  2. Since I queued up this blog post, the following information about the new AP American History Course has come along (August 7, 2014):

    Historic fail? Greatest Americans missing from proposed curriculum


    New history curriculum standards proposed for top high school students leave out such American icons as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King, Jr., paint colonists as bigots and gloss over the Greatest Generation's fight to save the world from Nazi Germany, according to conservative education activists who want the framework delayed — and perhaps scrapped altogether.

    An open letter circulated by conservative education activists is calling on The College Board to delay implementing new Advanced Placement U.S. History guidelines, saying a “rising tide of opposition” believes the curriculum will take the nation’s classrooms in a bad direction.

    The Aug. 4 letter, which is addressed to David Coleman, president/CEO of the New York-based nonprofit, claims the new 98-page curriculum is a “dramatic departure” from the five-page outline previously used by teachers and students and offers a consistently negative view of Americans as oppressors and exploiters.

    “The framework ignores the rise of democratic institutions such as the House of Burgesses and New England town meetings,” the letter reads. “It also omits the colonists’ growing commitment to religious freedom and the emergence of a pluralistic society that lacked an entrenched aristocracy.”

    What’s missing from the curriculum, according to a former public school teacher and author of two Advanced Placement prep guides, is mention of John Winthrop and his “city upon a hill” sermon as one of the key early instances of American exceptionalism and references to Roger Williams and the birth of religious toleration.

    [...]

    “And you’re not going to find Thomas Jefferson and the House of Burgesses and the cradle of democracy either,” said Larry Krieger, who retired in 2005 after more than three decades in the classroom. “And finally, you’re not going to find Benjamin Franklin and the birth of American entrepreneurialism.”

    Instead, students exposed to the curriculum — roughly 500,000 annually nationwide, many of whom will take the class as sophomores and juniors — will find a narrative laden with tyranny and subjugation....


    More at the above link.

    Also see New War Over High School U.S. History.

    Howard Zinn has won!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The above comment is now posted in the body of the blog post.

      Delete
  3. BEWARE the DANGER of TMI!

    When presented with an overwhelming amount of data, most readers will just SKIP the post. I should know. It happens to me all the time -- seems to be happening this very day as a matter of fact.

    In order to attract popular attention one must be brief, provocative, full of red meat, and -- dare I say it? -- more than a little stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FT,
      Yes, the blog post is longer now. I have reasons other than blogosophere reading. Can't say more than that in a public forum.

      This post will remain front and center until Friday.

      Delete
    2. Addendum: Some frequenters of this blog will skip the videos. I know that.

      But the reading? Those two articles are must-reads!

      Delete
    3. That's me.
      Seriously, I don't have time (maybe attention span) do devote to digesting all of this.
      There's another blog I read and she writes beautifully. And long. When they are long, it might be a few days before I can take the time to read.
      I'm off work today and working even harder.
      Just a small break now.

      Delete
    4. Ed,
      I understand.

      However, in my view, it's important to understand how we have arrived to the point that today's American voters reflect when they cast their ballots on Election Day. Otherwise, they will continue to cast their ballots along the same lines.

      Delete
  4. My commie brother (a most hate-filled sociopath and not very bright person) thinks Zinn is brilliant. Tells me everything I need to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adrienne,
      After seeing the film America: Imagine a World without Her a few weeks ago, I read most of Zinn's A People's History of the United States. What I found there: what has happened to social studies curricula since about 1981, Yikes!

      Delete
  5. Oh - and looking forward to perusing all you've gathered together for us - and we thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. After so many generations of whitewashing, it should come as no surprise when the pendulum starts to swing to the other extreme. There's an active effort within the Texas textbook industry to push a counter-fable curriculum, so we'll see who wins.

    Ultimately our future generations lose.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Prager interview was junk. Prager seemed to be trying to hold out the view that all America's wars were good and Zinn with the exception of WW II wanted to go the other way.
    Neither is absolutely correct and Prager didn't have the interview skills to go deeper into the subject of Korea and "mission creep".
    Instead he decided to stir the base and ask an historian about abortion.
    Very poorly done and completely uninformative.

    As for Zinn winning. Well, there was a post by "Law and Order Teacher" stating that every semester he writes "American Exceptionalism" on the board and leaves it there.
    If that type of blatant indoctrination has been defeated then it's to the good.

    If what has been defeated is the childish "freedom and democracy" dogma then that's okay. I don't agree with all Zinn says and I don't believe he represents a complete and necessary replacement but his point of view should be heard and taught.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "American Exceptionalism" was not based on us as real estate or race.
      It was always predicated on our founding documents.
      They are as exceptional today as they were then.
      Not a bad indoctrination.

      Delete
    2. I think Ed's right...our founding documents are exceptional. It's a shame that we seldom live up to the ideals expressed within.

      Delete
    3. Dogma ... the fact you make the assertion without foundation indicaes a necessity to pay attention to Zinn's theories.

      The dogma should be identified for what it is.

      Delete
    4. Duck,
      I don't believe he represents a complete and necessary replacement but his point of view should be heard and taught.

      It is replacement that appears to be afoot. At least, that's some of the information that I've seen.

      Delete
    5. Duck,
      he writes "American Exceptionalism" on the board and leaves it there.
      If that type of blatant indoctrination has been defeated then it's to the good.


      Not sure what level that teacher instructs.

      But why shouldn't young people -- before upperclass high school and college, let's say -- believe that their country is strong and good?

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    7. Strong and good, yes.

      Exceptional leads to mischief.

      Delete
    8. Define the line between those, please.

      Delete
  8. FreeThinke's characterization of Zinn and his ilk as moral and cultural termites is spot on. But I also partly agree with Ducky: His was a reaction to the airbrushed pablum and uncritical hagiographies that passed for history.

    Still, it is clear he hated America, and the leftwing professors who teach his twisted, one-sided crap pressed between book bindings should be ashamed of themselves

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But "American exceptionalism" isn't one sided.

      Please join FT in his room.

      Delete
    2. SF,
      His was a reaction to the airbrushed pablum and uncritical hagiographies that passed for history.

      Was it really a reaction -- or something else? I'm not sure. Perhaps you know?

      Delete
    3. Exceptional implies uniqueness and we have certainly been prone to the same faults as other nations.

      We have been able to grow as a nation and I think Zinn gives that less focus than it deserves just as the right is desperate to deny the left's important role in our growth.

      Delete
    4. Duck,
      Exceptional implies uniqueness and we have certainly been prone to the same faults as other nations.
      America was unique with regard to at least one particular aspect:

      American exceptionalism is a concept that was shared by observers throughout the Western world, not just Americans. The Founders certainly believed that they were creating something of extraordinary significance. That’s why the motto on the Great Seal of the United States is novus ordo seclorum—‘a new order of the ages.’ But it was foreigners who took the lead in describing the United States and Americans as being unlike all other countries and peoples.

      Now, can we find faults? Yes. But, overall, America has been force for good in the world. Zinn, however, advocated a world without America because such a world would have been, in his view, a better place.

      Delete
  9. The Fabians understood over a century ago that America's capitalist- Christian culture could only be defeated from within. Joe McCarthy may have been a jerk, but he wasn't wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

      With one exception. The FABIANS for the most part were upper-class Britishers motivated by genuine humanitarian impulses. They were not Marxists. They set out to undermine the BRITISH Establishment in order to improve the lot of the working class, which truly was deplorable.

      The Fabians were NOT out to destroy CHRISTIANITY and discredit all the magnificent achievements of Western Civilization. It took the vastly powerful, centuries-old hatred concentrated in the minds of the JEWISH intelligentsia in Europe to do that. Marxism was, is and aways will be a JEWISH Invention.

      McCarthy was defeated not so much because he was an awkward, unsophisticated, ham-fisted rube with no savoir faire, but because nearly 100% of the targets of his investigation just happened to be JEWS.

      And guess what? Virtually ALL of them REALLY WERE COMMUNISTS. The Venona Papers bear this out, I believe, and pretty much exonerate McCarthy.

      Just read David Horowitz's Radical Son, if you don't believe me. Horowitz is one of those very rare Jews who will ADMIT the vastly destructive influence Jewish Intellectuals have had on American society. He knows where all the bodies are buried, and isn't afraid to tell you.

      Michael Savage is another pointedly Jewish man who fiercely and fearlessly has denounced the VILE influences that have brought this country to her knees.

      God bless them both for telling the Truth.

      It is only the TRUTH that could possibly set us free.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, Michael Savage is a real thinker.

      You aren't helping your cause, FT.

      Delete
  10. Silverfiddle; it's fine to suggest American history has glossed over some truths about our history but it's all about AGE. I believe we're the only country whose leftists have begun giving information that's as critical as it's getting to middle school students and I think that's unhealthy for any country. To teach facts is important...dates and events. THen when they're in college, they're going to pull apart everything anyway. Time then to discuss what was right and wrong. Always time to give both sides of everything, but that's become a lost art. Teaching to THINK is more important than teaching IDEOLOGY but, sadly, that's not how everything THINKS anymore. And our parents have been asleep at the wheel.

    To leave out Martin Luther King or Thomas Jefferson is just plain idiotic and those who'd do that should be ashamed of themselves.

    As far as helping other countries in times of great need, saving peoples from extermination, negotiating peace, inventions, etc., yes, we have been truly exceptional. Unique. I'd like someone to talk about how many other countries have paid the huge majority of monies coming into any tragedy-struck area in the world, or sent its soldiers to save Jews and others, etc etc. Too much uniqueness to mention here.

    Prager is excellent and hard to hear only when you just hate what he's saying; which is, naturally, someone who's not been taught to think but only to knee-jerk reaction. His teachings on the radio have brought people I know to conservatism because he's reasoned and not emotional. Good stuff, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Z,
      I believe we're the only country whose leftists have begun giving information that's as critical as it's getting to middle school students and I think that's unhealthy for any country.

      Hear, hear!

      The age at which the warts-and-all information is introduced matters.

      The history textbook which my homeschool group uses is not balanced -- too much of the use of rose-colored glass for the high school level. Yes, we cover that material, then I bring in a dose of reality.

      But I don't beat the negative into the ground and harp on it.

      Balance is essential, IMO.

      PS: If the DVD for D'Souza's America is released during the 201-2015 school term, I will show the film.

      Delete
    2. Z,
      And our parents have been asleep at the wheel.

      Worse than that. Many of the parents with whom I real have swallowed so much negativism themselves that they've forgotten just how much good America has wrought.

      Delete
  11. How should American exceptionalism be defined? Worth reading, IMO.

    I also found THIS:

    The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting and not very surprising.

      However, we know it has nothing to do with the contemporary usage by folks like Prager.
      Essentially they feel that the American founding solved the issues of democracy and freedom once and for all and it's only been the left who have spoiled the party.

      Very shallow.

      Delete
    2. Duck,
      we know it has nothing to do with the contemporary usage by folks like Prager.

      Really? I think that you're over the top in that regard.

      Delete
  12. When Obama talked about transforming America and he meant it.!
    THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BARACK OBAMA:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except that's pretty much all we knew when he got elected...and look what happened :-( Let's all open our eyes next time.
      I SO wish that those who are now saying they';d have voted for Romney HAD voted for Romney. But, with a sycophantic media fawning all over Obama, who had a chance?

      Delete
    2. As I read Zinn's A People's History..., I could hear many phrases that Obama uses.

      Just sayin'.

      Delete
    3. AOW...you aren't surprised, are you. The man, Obama, has NO REASON TO LOVE AMERICA! NONE. His upbringing, his family, his mentors, his schools...what REASON? His own WIFE is only proud of it since it elected this man.
      let him be president somewhere else, where we don't have a constitution that should be lived up to, where the people need someone from cradle to grave... Yes, he's built a country in the last five years which do look like that already, but........
      where the HELL are those working against it? Scared? Threatened? What is going ON?

      Delete
    4. Z,
      where the HELL are those working against it? Scared? Threatened? What is going ON?

      I know some people who won't speak out -- educators, I mean -- because they don't want to lose their jobs and their benefits attached thereto. Thus, they rationalize what they're doing even though they know that what they're doing in wrong.

      In other instances, some people are totally defeated (disheartened) and/or apathetic.

      In even other instances, some people are scrambling like mad to keep from going under in this ailing economy.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  15. my husband traveled back and forth from Munich to America many, many times in his career and personal life. He loved his Germany and couldn't wait to live in America, which he found very exceptional.... down to the smallest things like a fire in a neighborhood and neighbors gathering to make casseroles and give Teddy Bears to the children victims "They'd NEVER do this in Germany," he'd tell me. A man like Mr. Z doesn't move countries for a country that isn't exceptional in many ways more than that.
    Your articles are fine ones, AOW. I have too much to say about both of them and don't have the time or energy.
    I guess one has to ask which country is more exceptional....plenty are unique, aren't they.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And every one of those neighbors was a conservative Christian I assume.

      Delete
    2. what in the HELL do Conservative Christians have to do with my comment? Unique and exceptional Americans do more than Germans when it comes to helping others and you assume that?
      My GOD.

      Delete
    3. Don't argue with Ducky. Just arrange to meet him in an alley, kick his legs out from under him, then stomp on his throat with your stiletto heels. You know you'd love to.

      Delete
  16. Any idiot can string a storyline linking events throughout history as a conspiracy. Glenn Beck does an excellent job of it as well... only nobody is pushing to get Glenn's book (America's March to Socialism: Why We're One Step Closer to Giant Missile Parades) taught in high schools across the nation, as it isn't part of a REAL liberals indoctrination scheme. Progressive are LINO's... liberals in name only.

    ReplyDelete
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  19. NOTE: Off-topic comments are typically removed.

    Save such rants for this Saturday's open thread.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. my comment poofed..lol love it or leave it...applies to this day more than ever:)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Earlier today I actually listened to all four of DP's segments with Howard Zinn. I have to say my general impression of Mr. Zinn changed for the better. Prager comes off as pedantic, sententious, verbose, tendentious, self-righteous and a bit strident -- decidedly overbearing. I kept wishing he'd shut up and just let Mr. Zinn talk.

    ZINN on the other hand seemed relaxed, soft-spoken, easygoing, modest and surprisingly fair and reasonable in his responses.

    I was surprised, because i'd seen Howard Zinn interviewed on C-Span years ago, and found him arrogant, unduly challenging, abrasive and frankly repugnant.

    Could he have mellowed with time -- or perhaps success calmed him down a bit?

    Of the two Prager came off far worse than his antagonist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FT,
      Could he have mellowed with time -- or perhaps success calmed him down a bit?

      At the time of this interview (2006), Zinn had just turned 84.

      I haven't seen the C-Span interviews; an index to those interviews is here.

      Zinn was also, of course, a true believer in his basic theses.

      I'm not as interested in the tone of the interviewer and the interviewee as I am in the content itself.

      Delete

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