Zinns Fairy Tales


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I marked the passing of a great fictional icon on January 27th, 2010. J.D. Salinger was a man who defined his generation and his culture with the
alienation of Holden Caulfield. Mr Salingers eccentricities which folldowed his fame are no less of note, and I sympathize with his notions that other people reading what you write is a violation of privacy. But it is not the fictional writing of Salinger that is the main subject of this article.

The other man who died on January 27th, 2010, Howard Zinn,  made a life of fiction into a cause celebre. His mission, to redefine the history of the United States.

In 1992, I worked on the fishing and crab boats of Alaska for two years. On several of those vessels, I met a group of Polish fishermen. They had jumped into waters that would kill a normal man in moments, a mile from Dutch Harbor, and swam their way to freedom and a life in America. They would talk a lot about life behind the Iron Curtain. One of the things I learned was a phrase common under Soviet control. “The future is known, the past keeps changing.”

Whether it is rewriting the history of Scott Brown “41” (oh, Massachussetts did it not because Scott Brown was going to STOP Health Care, but because they wanted MORE of it), rewriting who tried stopping the Civil Rights Act (Democrats), or the origins of our nation, the Left is constantly engaged in a rewriting of American life. Just the way abortion becomes reproductive rights, violating the Constitution becomes Gun Control, Global Warming becomes Climate Change, and all the rest, the Left believes if you can just use different words, you can change reality.

Zinn starts his diatribe in 1492. The New World, once a paradisal playground instinct with benevolence and creativity when Columbus met the gentle Arawaks, is ruined when rapacious, war-mongering white men overran the continent. Unfortunately, is make believe.

Do you know how Columbus’ ships first knew they were near land when they arrived in the New World? They spotted smoke. Smoke from the fires the natives would set to raze the land and drive the game. Those constant fires are one reason why we have the great plains today, absent of trees. The destruction of fauna and habitat was greater than anything we have seen since.

Don’t believe me? Look it up.

Early Native Americans were responsible for the extinction of the Pleistocene era mammals. Giant sloths, long horned bison, mammoths and sabre toothed cats, native horses and camels galloped across the North American plains until the early hunters wiped the species away. And religious appreciation for the animals did not ever translate into a need to preserve anything. The Bison died because of the Indians adaptation to the horse in hunting and environmental changes.

Don’t believe me? Look it up.

The Africans who originally arrived with the 16th century colonists were not slaves, but indentured servants who eventually earned their way out of their obligations. And most of them came from West Central Africa and what is today Nigeria, where they came out of a life of true slavery. They were usually the prize of war between one tribe and another. That’s what happened when you lost a battle in Western Africa. You became a slave of the other tribe.

Don’t believe me? Look it up.

The United States did not back Batista in 1959. And Tet was a resounding rejection of North Vietnam.

Don’t believe me? Look it up.

Hatred of not just humanity but America is the tone of Zinn’s book. We are a pestilence upon a tranquil world. His tome is anti-civilization.

Now, I have read Ishmael and largely, I agree with it. If you haven’t read Ishmael, I recommend it.

Through Ishmael, the author Quinn offers a wide-ranging if highly general examination of the history of our civilization, illuminating the assumptions and philosophies at the heart of many global problems. Despite some gross oversimplifications, Quinn’s ideas are fairly convincing; it’s hard not to agree that unrestrained population growth and an obsession with conquest and control of the environment are among the key issues of our times. Quinn also traces these problems back to the agricultural revolution and offers a provocative rereading of the biblical stories of Genesis.

But just because you might agree with that point of view doesn’t mean you’re justified in re-writing history. Zinn does just that. It will take generations to undo the damage his fictionalizing of history has wrought upon the college educated. Those who come out with such distortions of the world and the reality they live in are intent on spreading that discordant message.

Freedom and truth must be told and retold everyday. Believe it.

Writers addendum: I don’t normally feed the Lefts penchant for derogation. Just talking about our history with the Native Americans is touchy enough. But notice that simply pointing out the mischaracterizations of historical retelling is enough to rile up the America Sucks! crowd. You can’t acknowledge that things were done that were wrong, and keep it in context. No. Our history is genocide. Note the philisophical satisfaction in the commentary.

To address this issue properly we must begin with the most important reason for the Indians’ catastrophic decline—namely, the spread of highly contagious diseases to which they had no immunity. This phenomenon is known by scholars as a “virgin-soil epidemic”; in North America, it was the norm. The most hideous enemy of native Americans was not the white man and his weaponry, concludes Alfred Crosby, “but the invisible killers which those men brought in their blood and breath.” It is thought that between 75 to 90 percent of all Indian deaths resulted from these killers.

Of course, you can start sounding like Ward Churchill and argue that it was all by intent. You can inflate numbers of native americans on the continent in 1492, which cannot be known, you can do all sorts of things. The harsh treatment that took place was heinous, but in that regard the history of the United States is not uniqie.

Ignorance about the rest of world history is no excuse.


About Terry Crowley