by Peter Collier
Every so often we experience what Jung called synchronicity—the sudden perception of a possibly meaningful pattern in apparently unrelated events. I had one of these moments myself last week.
The first element was the passing of Howard Zinn. I believe as much as the next guy that every man’s death diminishes me, but to be honest, in this case I was hard pressed to feel a sense of loss. Matt Damon might regard him as Parkman’s equal, but in truth Zinn was a savage parody of a historian, one of those radical hacks whose every word subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge.The best and worst that can be said of his People’s History of the United States is that it has benumbed the faculties of many young people over the last couple of decades. It is perhaps the best example in recent years of the way in which some of the fecal matter thrown onto the wall of our intellectual culture not only sticks but becomes a lasting act of defacement.