Howard Zinn, RIP

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The great leftist revisionist historian has passed away at 87. Zinn taught a couple generations of young people to question their history teachers and the civic religion of US governmental supremacy. While he was a bit of a pinko on labor issues, he was courageous and consistent in his condemnation of the worst thing the state does: murder innocent people in large numbers. His A People’s History of the United States is thus a refreshing alternative to the nationalist supremacism that dominates the conventional left and right historical narratives. See Zinn on World War II, in particular:

It was a war against an enemy of unspeakable evil. Hitler’s Germany was extending totalitarianism, racism, militarism, and overt aggressive warfare beyond what an already cynical world had experienced. And yet, did the governments conducting this war—England, the United States, the Soviet Union—represent something significantly different, so that their victory would be a blow to imperialism, racism, totalitarianism, militarism, in the world?

6:57 pm on January 27, 2010