One of the saddest moments you can experience as a parent is the day you catch your kid with a copy of A People’s History of the United States in her backpack. You say to yourself, “It’s not her fault; the teacher assigned it…”
But then denial turns to belligerence and you feel you have to read the thing so you can help her refute all the cons, the lies, the bait-and-switches, and the cherry-picking. Did the Arawaks really live in “communes?” Why doesn’t he mention that the Aztecs wiped out the Toltecs? How can he claim he speaks for “the people” when he constantly shifts his focus to whoever happens to be the worst-off at a given time? Why does he describe U.S. history as an “endless cycle of defeat” when there are more of us than ever before, yet we eat better, live longer–and millions of aliens are clamoring to join our abject misery.
It’s a bad idea, a sucker’s game, to read too much of this book solely in order to defeat this creep. His life is over and yours is too short. As a public service, I skipped to the book’s end where he describes the WTO riots in Seattle; since I was there at the time, I’m able to challenge his account based on first-hand experience. And I can tell you that Zinn’s story is nothing but propaganda.
First of all, he claims that the protestors forged “a remarkable set of alliances” and there was “unity on the streets,”–environmentalists lying down with labor unions, as it were. In fact, contemporary reports described it as a hodge-podge of different groups with no unified agenda. At the start it was more like a music festival than a political rally.
Second, he states that the protest was non-violent except for a few anarchists “who created a ruckus.” This is false. From the beginning, protestors were overturning cars and getting in the way of delegates, screaming in their faces at point-blank range and blocking them from entering the convention site. If anyone tried doing this to a woman approaching an abortion clinic, they’d be hauled away in chains–and rightly so.
And that little ruckus? Just 2.5 million in property damage, $17 million in lost sales, at least $2 million in legal costs, plus the expense of deploying the police and National Guard to protect regular people–businesspeople, residents, shoppers, employees–who don’t seem to qualify as people (let alone “the people”) in Zinn’s perverted narrative.
All in all, the events of November 26-30, 1999, are not proud or pleasant memories if you don’t happen to think that mob violence is the best way to settle differences with your neighbors.
But what about your daughter?” you must be wondering. “Did she make it through the 11th grade without full communist indoctrination?” Happily, yes. At the time, I asked her about her impression of A People’s History, and she said her teacher forced everything into a feminist perspective. “So what do you make of that?” I asked.
She thought for a while, and then she said, “I don’t like it. I don’t want to have to go around with hairy legs.”
And I thought, “Thank God for the teenage brain.”
0 0 votes
Article Rating