Monday, December 31, 2012

The Untold History

      I have enjoyed watching Olver Stone's The Untold History of the United States.  A good friend of mine described it to another friend as "taking everything you' ve ever heard about American history, and flipping it on its head."  Unfortunately, that is not too much of an exaggeration, though it speaks more to our general ignorance of real history rather than to Stone's well-known agenda.  I find his account to be closer to the truth, rather than myth, end of things.
     Taki Theodoracopoulos, of all people, has some nice things to say about Stone in a recent column.  One would not normally think of the two as natural allies.  Taki admits as much.

Oliver Stone’s The Untold History of the United States is a very courageous effort to set the record straight. Stone is an old adversary of mine with whom I’ve recently made my peace. I agree very much on certain parts of his extremely controversial theories about his country. But unlike most other historians, Oliver has paid his dues. He won a Bronze Star in Vietnam as a grunt, whereas he could have gotten deferments, since he was at Harvard and near the top of his class. Stone sees Uncle Sam as a rapacious imperialist. He cites American repression of the Filipino struggle for independence around the turn of the 20th century and the repeated US interventions and covert operations in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. He names capitalism as the bogeyman. He also says that the United States, not the Soviet Union, bore the lion’s share of responsibility for perpetuating the Cold War.


Reader John said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I've learned a lot in the last decade or so from the likes of Howard Zinn.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

We saw this book presented on C-SPAN the other night and decided then to buy it. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Zinn? Really? Thought you were a brighter bulb than that.

Anonymous said...

Dear Reader John here's a timely quote from Thomas Sowell posted today:

"If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers' attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn's book.

That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as "agents of change," without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse -- or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.

This misuse of schools to undermine one's own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years."

Zinn and his ilk have poisoned our culture with lies and misrepresentations about the 20th Century for decades. It's very tempting for Christians to want to buy into lefty spin and ignore the consequences of it. Why? Because Christians bring the attitude of "those who know better" to a subtle but persistent kind of utopian magical thinking - and freedom is messy. Very messy. Especially in a country with a federated power structure.

That same messiness has also stood up and defeated the fascist and communist horrors that Zinn whitewashes. The messy post WWII treaties with our 'buddies' the French that resulted in our initial presence in Vietnam on the wrong side of their fight for independence; they did appeal to us several times for aid in liberating their nation from the French.

And when we walked away that horror exploded into the killing fields. I'm not going to engage in revisionist history with leftists. But I will demand that they own it. All of it. The wisdom or lack it it, of using force in the global arena to give people freedom who don't want it, don't understand it, and don't value it, is another subject entirely.

Thanks to the likes of Zinn, two decades worth of our own youth have been trained to despise their freedom, the real accomplishments of mercy of their own country. It requires personal humility, and honesty, to recognize that the collective wisdom of millions of free, functional adults, is wiser than any utopian visionary. Thanks to the likes of Zinn, millions of our people have been taught to not only to despise that wisdom, but to hunger for a life of prolonged adolescence that needs a Dear Leader or Garbage Czar or two to guide them.

Link to the Sowell article:

Anonymous said...

Timely article posted today "The Real Henry A. Wallace: The Truth About Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s “Unsung Hero.” by Ron Radosh on the lack of credibility is found here: