The False Promise of Howard Zinn’s Anti-Americanism

An important Wall Street Journal article this week pointed out how Howard Zinn, the Marxist historian, and a former member of the Communist Party in 1949 is making the academic left and Hollywood more influential than ever. This excellent article by David J. Bobb, director of the Hillsdale College Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, in Washington, D.C., takes direct aim at the “impressive empire devoted to the spread of [Zinn’s] ideas.” Now, this entire movement fostered by Zinn’s relentless criticism of “alleged American imperialism” is in my opinion nothing more than a communist manifesto style of anti-Americanism.

Zinn, who died in 2010, is the author of “A People’s History of the United States,” published in 1980. So far as Zinn is concerned, America is synonymous with brute domination of people that can be traced back hundreds of years. The Founding Fathers were nothing more than “self-serving elitists defined by guns and greed.” This is historical claptrap. According to Zinn, capitalists are villains controlling all basic material goods such as food and housing and that basically everything including healthcare, education, and transportation, should be free to everyone. What Zinn and his followers fail to understand is that communism stifles incentive and where there is no incentive there is no economic growth.

Endorsement of Zinn’s writings by the likes of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and other Hollywood notables is eminently unjustified. Here are two actors who have made millions as a direct result of the workings of American capitalism but who nevertheless are Zinn supporters. As the article points out, both are Zinn family friends. This is nothing more than hypocrisy at its best.

Any supporter of communism who wants to try out its ballyhooed heroic workers glory need only live under it to experience the mass despair and misery that plagues everyday life under that system. One need only to look at North Korea and Cuba, two countries beset by not only economic stagnation but an absence of human rights, to know that this “workers paradise” does not work for the masses. Those who glorify it should go and live in any country where communism is the way of life before preaching its ideals. China also has a communist government but a capitalistic economic system. And how much freedom for the masses is there in China?

Any institution of learning that allows Zinn’s works to be presented should also temper any such presentation with a hard look at present conditions under communism as well as those that were extant under the former Soviet bloc. Those who would cast capitalism as a villain should try going into business where communism exists and not free enterprise. Capitalism may not be perfect – it surely has its faults – but it’s the best system yet invented by man to foster economic growth and wealth as the history of this country will attest. Those who live in this country and enjoy its many freedoms but nevertheless clamor for the “social justice” endorsed by Zinn’s writings
simply ignore the harsh realities of life where our freedoms do not exist.

Copyright 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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