Steven Hayward over at PowerLine published an article Monday about Sam Weinberg’s review of Howard Zinn’s History of the American People in all its shabbiness. Steven says this.

I’ve never bothered to declaim on the fundamentally shoddiness of Howard Zinn’s scandalously popular People’s History of the United States, in part because I simply can’t get through it. Every few pages offer egregious errors of fact and even more tendentious interpretations of facts, such that it is impossible to take seriously. I’d rather read Heidegger or grind my teeth.

Certainly an honest history of America (or any country) should include its crimes, mistakes, oppressions, and manifold other defects, and many bland history textbooks can be faulted for doing this poorly (or not at all). But Zinn’s approach includes only that aspect of the American story, and supposes that the evils and shortcomings of America represent the whole of America. And that explains the book’s enormous popularity: it becomes a balm for people who wish to think poorly of America, and as an intellectual boat anchor to sink the republic we have.

A book so biased and so agenda-driven actually cuts off sensible evaluation of past events, and what they might tell us about today. […]

My evidence for this is an article appearing recently in Slate, usually thought of as a mainstream liberal site, by Sam Weinberg, a professor of education and history at Stanford, entitled “Howard Zinn’s Anti-Textbook.” Weinberg is not a fan, starting off by noting the books’s formal weaknesses:

Like traditional textbooks, A People’s History relies almost entirely on secondary sources, with no archival research to thicken its narrative. Like traditional textbooks, the book is naked of footnotes, thwarting inquisitive readers who seek to retrace the author’s interpretative steps. And, like students’ textbooks, when A People’s History draws on primary sources, these documents serve to prop up the main text but never provide an alternative view or open a new field of vision. . .

Largely invisible to the casual reader are the moves and strategies that Zinn uses to bind evidence to conclusion, to convince readers that his interpretations are right. More is at stake in naming and making explicit these moves than an exercise in rhetoric. For when they encounter Zinn’s A People’s History, students undoubtedly take away more than new facts about the Homestead strike or Eugene V. Debs. They are exposed to and absorb an entire way of asking questions about the past as well as a means of using evidence to advance historical argument. For many students, A People’s History will be the first full-length history book they read—and, for some, it will be the only one. Beyond what they learn about Shays’ Rebellion or the loopholes in the Sherman Antitrust Act, what does A People’s History teach young people about what it means to think historically? . . .

A search through A People’s History for qualifiers mostly comes up short. Instead, the seams of history are concealed by the presence of an author who speaks with thunderous certainty.

He’s just warming up, good for him, it’s well overdue. Steven may not have spoken about this farce of a book before, but his colleague Paul Mirengoff noted a connection between Zinn and Obama here.

I too have written about this intentionally dishonest book. Like Steve, I could not make it through it. Just something about barefaced lies, that make me lose interest.

“The Revolution did not just eliminate monarchy and create republics; it actually reconstituted what Americans meant by public or state power and brought about an entirely new kind of popular politics and a new kind of democratic officeholder. . . . Most important, it made the interests and prosperity of ordinary people — their pursuit of happiness — the goal of society and government. The Revolution did not merely create a political and legal environment conducive to economic expansion; it also released powerful popular entrepreneurial and commercial energies that few realized existed and transformed the economic landscape of the country. In short, the Revolution was the most radical and most far-reaching event in American history.”

Gordon Wood in the introduction to The Radicalism of the American Revolution

That’s a clear statement, and it states what to anybody has read American History is plainly visible. It doesn’t take any Doctorate to figure it out

All you have to do is look at American history, especially economic history. In less than 150 years, the United States went from a strip of subsistence farms along the eastern seaboard (and yes a few slave worked plantations) to a colossus whose output was many multiples of the world’s output when it was formed. In the course of that trajectory, it, in cooperation with Great Britain, outlawed first the slave trade and then chattel slavery itself in the western world, even though that same slavery had been the mainstay of the economy at the Revolution.

Zinn’s crap is the kind of rot that they are filling our children’s heads with, in school, is it any wonder at all that they come out indoctrinated with such crap, and unable to see the truly amazing story of the United States (and yes, this also applies to the United Kingdom). The two nations who, above all others, have made the world free and prosperous.

It is well past time that we take back control of our schools from the progressives and start teaching real history, not to mention math, science, and reading again.

About Neo
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  1. Scoop says:

    This seems to go hand in hand with an article I read this morning and posted over at AATW. Times are getting crazier and crazier. This latest by Fr. Z lets us see that this same type of lawlessness, lack of integrity, veracity and strong-arm ‘intellectualism” is being used to brainwash folks . . . in this case within the Catholic Church:

    Obviously, something has gone very wrong here in America in the last decades. It is enough to make one weep for our country and for our future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      Yep, that’s true. Haven’t read yours yet, but will get there.

      We’ve let education be handled by the professionals, the wrong professionals, and there will be a price. For both church and state, I fear.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scoop says:

        Yes, as the article at AATW on HATE points out. That seems to be the only unforgivable sin anymore. And our Churches have joined that progressive liberal mindset as well; now agreeing with the ‘real’ haters of this world; the haters of truth. They hate history so they rewrite it, they hate what psychology factually said regarding certain pathologies so they have now made them ‘normal’, they hate what certain words actually mean so they change the meanings, they hate that women are different than men so they de-feminize and emasculate men. We could go on and on but this seems to be the bedrock and undefined foundation of the left these days and they have the upper hand in education, reporting, political think (even the right has adopted their methods) and in the churches as you mentioned. I’m not sure how you bring this present world back to sanity again. God help us.

        Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          Interchangeable cogs in the machine. That is the goal, and we know who want to be the operators. The problem is that many who think they will be operators will simply be more cogs. The joke’s on them which is why Lenin called them “useful idiots” We need to put a lot of sand in the gears, and do it soon.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Scoop says:

          I’m not even sure that we might have lost our window of opportunity already to do just that. I hope there is some way out but it sure looks like the slippery slope is leading us to some of the biggest mistakes in history; the French Revolution, Facism, Stalin and Mao’s Communism and this foolish idea of ‘democratic socialism’ which is nothing but window dressing for that which underlies the brutality and the dictatorial regimes that lurk below the surface.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          I know. I think there is a chance, but if we don’t do well in this election it will pass. That is part of the reason Kavanaugh is so important, both as a Justice, but also because if he is not confirmed, the base is done. I feel it in my bones, and I share it. It is put up or shut up time.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Scoop says:

          And you see, in my mind, I only see it as small potatoes because it is not going to change the culture of ‘hate’ that is now the clarion call for anything that is done outside of progressivism. They won’t change but they will double down on their rhetoric. Changing minds and behavior in the long run is going to be more important than these small victories which seem huge to us now; since we have had so few of them. But when all is said and done; the professionals, historians, large corporations, political elites, the ideological purveyors of destroying this country and erecting a new regime are still in ascendency. I feel like our democratic republic is in hospice, on a respirator and gasping for air. We might show improvement for a day or two but we are losing that final battle: or so it seems. Without some huge outside influence; a war, a famine, or call it an act of God there is little hope in the patients recovery. What we need here is a miracle.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          And that is why we pray that God is on our side. He usually has been, but He never makes it easy.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. the unit says:

    Takes a lot of little tick tocks to make an hour and then a day go by. God may not even be using a Swiss timepiece. Probably more like how many times I have to scratch my nose when I’m trying to fall asleep. 🙂
    I’ll take every small win and smile, my old grandmother clock pendulum swinging with a smiley face painted on. All we got to do is keep her wound up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the unit says:

    As they rewrite history, be sure to keep your old calendars from bygone years. 🙂


  4. Nicholas says:

    As I was watching HBO’s “John Adams” for the second time earlier this week, I was thinking about NEO’s grief over the Kavanaugh business, which I also share. I was also praying that God would grant victory and bring him to the Bench. Beyond that, I started reflecting on the parallels between America and Israel. Your Declaration of Independence, while it does not use the name YHWH or Lord or Adonai, nevertheless appeals to the Creator, “Nature’s God”, and while not all of the Founders were orthodox Christians, a number of them were. This Declaration seems to me to be a covenant of sorts, almost a Sinai moment, and I can see other parallels between your history and the history of Israel. May God preserve the Republic until the coming of Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      We, from the founders on down, have also always been aware of those parallels. They are real, and they are one reason for the closeness between Israel and America.

      Covenant is a freighted word, of course, it is also a very common one used by our founders, in the full sense of its meaning,

      And America, today, remains a mostly Christian nation, pretty much alone in the west. Not a clue what any of it will mean going forward, but it is not our plan we execute here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        Indeed, these are perilous times. It is very hard to say what will happen going forward, I remain convinced, however, that the reign of the Beast prophesied by Daniel and John is not global as so many dispensationalists believe. I think it likely that America will be in some position to resist, even if it means going through some kind of civil war first or at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

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