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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Film Archive: C-SPAN’s Book TV: Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States and Becoming a Historian: From 1999

This piece was originally posted at the FreeState Plus WordPress Blog

This sounds like a very far, or new-leftist take on American history and writing about it from Howard Zinn. I like his line though about that he’s interested in history, because he’s interested in the present. He doesn’t learn about history simply because he wants to know what went on before he was lets say around, or too young to understand what was going on, or things happening in his time, but he wasn’t aware of them. Which is the same reasons why I’m interested in history. Yes, to know what happened in the past, but to also know what worked and what didn’t back then and what we should do differently in the future.

Howard Zinn are arguing that a lot of our American history has been written about the American military and that our heroes have been military people for the most part and that they are all lets say Caucasian men and most of them Anglo-Saxon at that. That a lot of our history has not been written about African-Americans, or American Indians to use as examples. But there has been a lot of history written about the civil rights movement, as there should be. And lot of the leaders that have been written about were African-Americans. The famous and most important leader and hero of that era being Dr. Martin Luther King.

Howard Zinn, makes a good point about big government in America that is has always been here. I mean you could start with slavery and all the African slaves that this country held. Of forcing Americans Indians off their land so Europeans could live there. The early 20th Century of Jim Crow that prevented African-Americans from being able to go to good schools and even hold good jobs. Unless they owned their own business’s, but good luck doing that if you can’t get a loan from your bank, because of your race and color.

Where I differ from Howard Zinn is his point that America shouldn’t criticize other countries, because we aren’t perfect ourselves. That we can’t get on other countries human rights records, because we don’t have a perfect human rights records ourselves. Well if perfect was the standard for criticism no one and no other country would be able to criticize anyone for anything. And we would have a hard time improving ourselves, because people would always be telling us how great we are, or not say anything at all as far as what they think of us. Of course America is not perfect, but we’re a lot better than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and it has never been a contest.