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August 6, 2010
Howard Zinn's Communism, by any other name
Howard Zinn, the late author of A People's History of the United States, has just been exposed as a longtime member of various Communist groups in the United States.
This should hardly come as a surprise to most sensible and observant Americans. His most famous book admittedly sought to portray America through the eyes of a Marxist, and this seminal work is an outright indictment of American imperialism and capitalism.
But in light of this news directly exposing his Communist ties, it can be said with certainty that the venerated literature Zinn leaves to his supporters in the American left resonates Communist ideals. Indeed, it now seems undeniable that the seeds and roots of Communism have sprouted and taken hold in America, as Zinn's work has legions of influential followers.
Curiosity demands a response from the left. Now that we all know for a fact that Zinn was a Communist, will that change the opinions of his supporters, or will they just be forthcoming and concede that they hold Marxist beliefs? Will Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who revere Zinn's work, recognize that his championship of the proletariat and condemnation of the aristocracy is simply familiar Communist propaganda? Will the History Channel cease lending historical credibility to Zinn's work, as it is obviously nothing more than suggestive socialist rhetoric? Will Oliver Stone, an admirer of Zinn, finally disparage him as the Communist he is?
None of this is likely. The probability is that these men, and those who think like them, have long been too anti-American to care whether Zinn was a Communist.
Truly, how much could men like Affleck, Damon, and Stone possibly know about Communism if they would refuse to denounce Howard Zinn when faced with the revelation that he was a staunch Communist? The only logical answer would be that they believe so fervently in America's place as the wickedest of nations that they are unable to realize the absolute fact that Communism surpasses even National Socialism as the responsible ideology for more forced famine, death, and political oppression than any other governmental structure in modern history.
To believe that Communism, in any form, could be less vile than our American republic is beyond comprehension, but Howard Zinn was guilty of it. And given that practical history screams the contrary of Zinn's beliefs, one could argue that his followers have not so much been educated by the factual substance of his work, but indoctrinated by the slanted ideas therein.
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe once wrote a concise historical observation of Communism's most notable contribution to mankind:
For pure murderous evil, there has never been a force to compare with Communism. The Nazis didn't come close. The Holocaust was uniquely malignant -- never before or since did one people construct a vast industry of death for the sole purpose of rounding up and destroying every single member of another people. But the Nazis exterminated 11 million innocents; the Communist death toll surpasses 100 million. Nazi power lasted from 1933 to 1945. The Communist nightmare began in November 1917, and continues to this day.
This unabashed truth about Communism set against the evils of Nazism highlights a weird double-standard in America today. Allegations of Nazi rhetoric are liberally, and often loosely, employed by politicians and pundits alike as the most heinous label one could endure. So why is it that a confirmed Communist, a proponent of a destructive political system beyond the scope of Nazism, is widely revered and his propaganda embraced by celebrities, politicians, and academia?
The simple answer is that Zinn's minions do not view him as a Communist. To his supporters, Zinn was just a humanitarian that promoted the communal good, an intellectual that represented the pen rather than the sword. And even if all logic and evidence provided by others points to Zinn being a Communist, it would still be preferable to the oil-sucking, war-mongering George W. Bush and the America he represents.
The American left's fascination with Zinn is quite peculiar. They idolize a Communist and support his Communist beliefs, yet few would admit that they would advocate Communism as a philosophy. How can this be so?
Sadly, the acceptance of the Communist principles found in Zinn's work has not been validated by reason, but only by the ignorant idealism of his supporters. And such ignorant idealism is why, for the past five decades, Communist philosophy has been gradually popularized and has permeated American culture as humanitarianism, collectivism, and intellectualism.
So Zinn's Communist principles are alive and well today, tenderly nurtured by the American left. They just choose to call these principles by the less incendiary brands of "progressivism" and "social justice."
William Sullivan blogs at politicalpalaverblog.blogspot.com