Some needed chuckles after the last few days. Andrew Klavan returns with his latest installment of Klavan on the Culture to provide a quick survey of Western Civilization from the earliest times to the present:
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Ron Radosh, himself a former Lefty and very familiar with the history of Communist and other radical movements in the US, has posted a very good examination of Zinn’s history as a Leftist in light of what was revealed in the recently released FBI dossiers. Here’s one quote that shows I was wrong to call him a tool of Stalin; Zinn was actually to the Left of Uncle Joe and the CPUSA:
By this time, it is clear that Howard Zinn had long departed from CP ranks. If anything, he was far to the left of the official American CP. During the war in Vietnam, they backed the moderate group known as “Negotiations Now,” which sought a negotiated settlement of the war, and had the support of people like Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Irving Howe. Zinn became the architect of advocacy of unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam and a North Vietnamese victory. In 1978 he and others went to North Vietnam in a solidarity trip, and to arrange the release of a tiny minority of American POW’s, a propaganda coup for the North Vietnamese government.
Internally, Zinn gave his support to the black radicals in SNCC, as well as the militant new group, the Black Panther Party. He called all blacks in American prisons “political prisoners,” and said that the United States “has been a police state for a long time.” He also gave his backing to myriad far left groups, including the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, and the Third World revolutionary nations of Cuba and North Vietnam. One did not need FBI reports to learn what he stood for. In a 1965 article found in the files, Zinn praised the New Left for having “no illusions about Reds,” and for seeing “Stalinism unmasked.” His position was one of “moral equivalence,” in which he equated the totalitarian East with the democratic West as evil centers of power, the United States being the most culpable.
And the textbook this clown wrote is now considered a standard in many high school and college classes. Nice.
Remember, Sheila Jackson-Lee is one of our elected representatives, our nation’s governing elite:
Um… Congresswoman? Ma’am? Ehh… a couple of small details for you to consider:
I invite Representative Jackson-Lee to come to California and visit Little Saigon in Orange County and ask all the now elderly Vietnamese-Americans just how wonderful that victory was. Why, they all got Pacific cruises out of it. I’m sure they’ll be glad to tell you all about it.
You’ll be comforted to know, I’m sure, that this geographical and historical genius sits on the House Foreign Affairs committee.
Other moments of Jackson-Lee brilliance: She once earnestly told the House that, to save the Earth from global warming, we have to get the carbon out of the air. (10:14am entry) Then there’s this gem, from a commenter at Ace‘s:
Sheila Jackson Lee was present at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the Mars Pathfinder landed in the mid 1990s. She inquired whether the rover would be able to roll over to where astronauts had planted the American flag. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents a district in Houston and sits on committees that deal with NASA, did not know that astronauts had in fact planted flags on the Moon — not Mars.
More on that moment.
And she is one of the people who write our laws. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
LINKS: More from Moe Lane, Hot Air, and Thinklets. Jimmie at the Sundries Shack throws a pop quiz at Congresswoman Lee regarding another example of her supernormal stupidity. Ed Driscoll wonders when John Edwards became President of Vietnam.
Michael Totten, a journalist I highly recommend who specializes in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, conducts a wide-ranging interview of historian Victor Davis Hanson. It’s long, but read the whole thing; you’ll learn quite a bit.
One item that jumped out at me came at the end, when VDH discusses an exchange he had with a European admiral just prior to Obama’s election. It’s revelatory on several levels of European attitudes toward and dependency on the United States, and their fear of us becoming like them:
I had an interesting conversation two years ago just before Obama’s election with some military people in Versailles. They were at a garden party, and everybody was for Obama. But an admiral said to me, “We are Obama. You can’t be Obama.”
Everybody looked at him. And I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “There’s only room for one Obama.”
I said, “So we’re supposed to do what? Take out Iran while you trash us?”
And he said, “Right out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said it better. Bush understood our relationship. We have to make accommodations with our public, which is lunatic. You don’t really believe there’s going to be an EU strike force, do you? Nobody here believes that. If you become neutral, what are we supposed to do?”
That’s what he said. I was surprised at his candor. And it’s worrisome. On the one hand I like it because they’re getting just what they asked for, but on the other hand, it’s tragic. And it’s dangerous. We shouldn’t be doing this.
Last night, while attending to what’s important, raising money for Barbara Boxer’s reelection (What Gulf Coast oil spill?), President Obama had this to say:
Let’s face it this has been the toughest year and a half since any year and a half since the 1930s.
Daniel Halper is having none of it:
This is the most revealing comment Obama has made publicly in a long while. It shows his self-absorption and utter lack of a sense of history.
Sure, FDR had a tough ‘30s with the economy and all, but by the time the ‘40s hit, it was smooth sailing. (What’s worse: the Nazis and the threat of world-dominating totalitarianism or the obstructionist Republicans?) And President Harry Truman really had an easy time ending World War II, and having to nuke the Japanese. President Dwight Eisenhower only had the Korean War to worry about – and who remembers that, anyway? JFK and LBJ had Vietnam – not to mention the worry that the Russians might nuke America from Cuba, or any other place in the world, etc., etc., etc.
We’ve got a good one here, alright.
At Real Clear Politics, a curious incident leads Thomas Sowell to think about how the history of slavery is taught, and how its one-sided presentation leads to the wrong lessons:
Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans– more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed.
The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to “Roots,” and our schools and colleges don’t pound it into the heads of students.
The inhumanity of human beings toward other human beings is not a new story, much less a local story. There is no need to hide it, because there are lessons we can learn from it. But there is also no need to distort it, so that sins of the whole human species around the world are presented as special defects of “our society” or the sins of a particular race.
If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance.
Only the fact that the West had more firepower than others put an end to slavery in many non-Western societies during the age of Western imperialism. Yet today there are Americans who have gone to Africa to apologize for slavery– on a continent where slavery has still not been completely ended, to this very moment.
Sowell argues that those teaching only one aspect of the story of slavery, how America enslaved Africans, for example, are doing so because they have an agenda: the derogation and slighting of the civilization in which they live. They also miss the real story, that of the dangers inherent in letting one group of people have unconstrained power over another.
And thus they do their students no favors.
Three videos from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity on the Laffer Curve and why increasing taxes beyond a certain point leads to diminishing returns:
…and Part 3
Given our experiences with high taxes contributing to deepening the Great Depression on the one hand, and the tax cuts under Harding, Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush the Younger contributing to strong recovery and growth, one would think the argument over best practices would be settled. Unfortunately, it appears that the President, shockingly ignorant of History, needs to do some studying.