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Howard Zinn's Unwholesome Influence

08/04/2010 11:08 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The American Spectator has a thorough write-up on the recently-released FBI dossier on Howard Zinn, whose textbook, A People's History of the United States, was widely used in many schools and undoubtedly left a lasting impression (the wrong impression, too often) on many a malleable young mind.

That Zinn appears to have been an active member of the Communist Party, or, at the very least, a fellow traveler and "agent of influence," shouldn't have disqualified him as a writer of books, in my opinion. In a truly free country, even Communists have the right to teach, write and propagandize to their heart's content. And academia is full of people like Zinn. Singling him out as an aberration is sort of silly. And I'm sure his advocates will use the files to paint Zinn as the victim of anti-Red hysteria and witch-hunting.

The really damning element of the Zinn saga isn't that he wrote books, but that these became textbooks, which were warmly and uncritically received by the public school establishment. That so many school administrators so enthusiastically inflicted his hard left interpretation of American history, which highlighted all the warts while downplaying the virtues, on so many young people, without blinking an eye, suggests that they shared his dark and distorted view of the American experiment -- that his view conformed with their own.

Then some wonder why so many kids coming out of public schools, if they know any history at all, need so much deprogramming.