RIP: Howard Zinn 1922-2010

"What matters is not who's sitting in the White House. What matters is who's sitting in!"

"Yes, dissent and protest are divisive, but in a good way, because they represent accurately the real divisions in society. Those divisions exist - the rich, the poor - whether there is dissent or not, but when there is no dissent, there is no change. The dissent has the possibility not of ending the division in society, but of changing the reality of the division. Changing the balance of power on behalf of the poor and the oppressed."

Read Zinn's obit @ New York Times.


Roadkill said...

“His view was that objectivity was neutrality, which I think is a formula for bad history. Objectivity is not neutrality; it is the deployment of evidence and building an argument based on historical logic. That's how we engage in rational discourse. To see history as a battleground of warring perspectives is to abandon the seat of reason.

“He saw history primarily as a means to motivate people to political action that he found admirable. That's what he said he did. It's fine as a form of agitation -- agitprop -- but it's not particularly good history.

“To a point, he helped correct mainstream popular conceptions of American history that were highly biased. But he ceased writing serious history. He had a very simplified view that everyone who was president was always a stinker and every left-winger was always great. That can't be true. A lot of people on the left spent their lives apologizing for one of the worst mass-murdering regimes of the 20th century, and Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. You wouldn't know that from Howard Zinn.”

Sean Wilentz
Professor of History
Princeton University

Anonymous said...

"He had a very simplified view that everyone who was president was always a stinker and every left-winger was always great."...so Zinn was the anti-TEA Party voice. Or anti-conservative?

I think Zinn did a good job of getting people interested in the way history is written and had an important impact on the debates and discussions that have taken place in our country over the past 40+ years.

He was a very interesting person who had the guts to express his opinion and stick his nose into the business of getting people to pay attention to what is going on in this nation and around the world.

Wilentz is so Holden Cauflied in his comment. Just what we'd expect from a Reagan worshiper.