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Enjoying the Howard Zinn Blowback

Posted on February 6 2010 1:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Apparently the comment sections were not enough to contain the neo-communist Left’s rage that David Horowitz and NRB would dare to tell the truth about the disgusting positions Howard Zinn dedicated his life to promoting.

Two readers (so far) contacted NRB to express their disgust. Their names will be changed to protect both the ignorant and the malevolent.

“Karl” sent this in on February 4:

Mr. Horowitz, it appears you are in violation of your own Commenting Rules, i.e., (1) Abusive, Ad Hominem, Overly Mean-Spirited, in your column of Howard Zinn’s death.


I responded:

Which of David Horowitz’s statements were abusive, ad hominem, or overly mean-spirited?

That was 22 hours ago and Karl has yet to respond to my query.

I got more of a discussion (if we want to really dignify it as such) from “Leon”:

Dear Mr. Horowitz,

I was so surprised by your comments regarding Mr. Zinn. Rude dismissal of a well-known and influential author for an obituary is not the mark of a great intellectual.

You might say such things to a person’s face and allow a rebuttal. But an obituary is off limits for hateful spouting.

Mr. Zinn was a historian and author who bravely offered a more complete picture of history than the “status quo” version we all learned in grade school.

Your description of Mr. Zinn as a “fringe thinker”, while admitting that his writing affected millions is a contradiction in terms.

The Right wing has many loud-mouthed club-thumpers these days, and very few genuine intellectuals.

Perhaps that’s why I had never heard of you until this week. If your work has reached millions, I have yet to know about it, and I would frankly feel sorry for those who are drawn to you.

Despite having not yet read Mr. Zinn’s most famous book, I have heard from many people how profoundly moved they were by his work.

I somehow doubt that a similar legacy will be yours.

Admittedly, I’m not familiar with your work to make any kind of comparison.

However, I do believe that a man of authentic accomplishments would allow for opposing views in a respectful manner, and speak of his colleagues accordingly.



Just as many Muslims have no idea what’s actually in the Koran, Leon here is ignorant of his holy text, A People’s History, but will diligently attack any who dare question its greatness. He’s not the only person I’ve encountered on the Left who has not read the book but is sure that conservatives are lying about its contents. I replied:


Why would you defend Howard Zinn when you have not read A People’s History for yourself? David Horowitz has read the book and has been familiar with Zinn’s work for the past 40 years.

Maybe you should try understanding before you come to your judgments. Our Discover The Networks profile on Howard Zinn is a good place to start:

I mean Zinn, doesn’t even recognize the United States as a nation:

When you understand what Zinn’s views actually were then you see how fringe they are. Even if 2 million copies of A People’s History have been sold then his ideas are still fringe. Perhaps 1-2% of Americans actually embrace Zinn’s ideas. Horowitz’s ideas are actually pretty mainstream.

If Howard Zinn had spent his life defending the Nazis would you celebrate him? No, of course not. You’d regard him in similar terms that Horowitz used in his posts on Zinn’s death.

Why then do you and the entire Left celebrate him when his life was dedicated to defending Marxist totalitarians (responsible for 100 million deaths in the 20th century — more than the Nazis) and the modern day Islamic Nazis who seek to wage a new Holocaust?

-David Swindle

P.S. Horowitz has made the charges to Howard Zinn to his face before. On a TV broadcast he once called Zinn a communist and an anti-American and Zinn did not deny the charges.

He took the bait and began responding further:

Dear David,

I do appreciate your rapid response. But I don’t think I was clearly understood.

It’s a given that experts will disagree on things sometimes.

My point is that someone of genuine stature would acknowledge those differences respectfully. We can speak of peoples views and opinions as being off-base or unfounded, if we feel that way, but denigrating a person, especially the recently passed, is *way* out of bounds.

I know, I know – that’s not how todays Republicans roll. Personal denigration is a cornerstone technique in gaining power and influence by sweeping others aside.

But I digress. . .

Did I mention any specifics in Mr. Zinn’s work? No, I didn’t. I don’t need to have read the book to make an assessment of Mr. Horowitz’s comments here.

The cutting remarks made by Mr. Horowitz are beyond the pale. That is my point.

Your subsequent comments traverse wildly off course.

“Why then do you and the entire Left celebrate him . . .”

“If Howard Zinn had spent his life defending the Nazis would you celebrate him? No, of course not. You’d regard him in similar terms that Horowitz used in his posts on Zinn’s death.”

Where did you pull that out of??

“. . . defending Marxist totalitarians (responsible for 100 million deaths in the 20th century — more than the Nazis)”

ditto . . .

So. . . I get it; You want to justify inappropriate comments, rather than saying, “You’re right, we made a mistake.”

I wonder when (or if) the right wing (of any country) will ever find a conscience.

– “Leon”

Oh this was just getting better and better:

I understood you. You’re mad at us because we told the truth about one of your heroes while other publications presented the comforting lie. I imagine I’d be mad too if I still held the views you hold.

What did Horowitz say specifically that you take issue with? You have not quoted his piece at all so I don’t know which comments set you off. To you it seems to be a crime for us to point out what this man actually believed and fought for. How are we speaking ill of the dead by accurately describing his views and then condemning those views as intolerable?

I’ve provided you links where you can research what Zinn actually believed. To you it seems to be irrelevant that Zinn was a defender of totalitarian mass murderers. You need to try and understand Horowitz and the Freedom Center’s position before you judge and dismiss it.

It’s actually the Left which is without conscience. How can the Left support Marxist mass murderers and Islamist medievalists — as Zinn did all his life — and still consider itself as having a clean conscious? Check out my colleague Jamie Glazov’s book United In Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror and you’ll understand. Why is it you’re more offended by Horowitz’s comments about Zinn than Zinn’s own lifetime devoted to the defense of totalitarianism?

To regard Zinn as a hero and to ignore his intellectual crimes is to disrespect the millions of victims who suffered and died at the hands of Zinn’s heroes. Why would you do that?

– David

And the delusions just continue:


Thank you for the link – I will check it out.

Mr. Horowitz’s statement, “There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect.” . . . is the statement I take deep issue with.

It may be Mr. Horowitz’s opinion, but if you compare the two, I would have to conclude that Mr. Zinn has had a greater impact on the general discourse. That contradicts Mr. Horowitz’s subsequent statement that Zinn “represents a fringe mentality”, though he might wish it were so.

The title of the book you provided a link to makes me chuckle –
it sounds like “Liberal Fascism”. Ah, spin, spin, spin goes the wheel.

If you’ve never actually studied history, which I’m beginning to believe is the case, then you might not realize that progressives, liberals and “the left” have always aligned in opposition to tyranny, while the Right Wing has always been waiting at the door when tyranny comes to town.

Other books (that someone should write):
Poor Rich People: How Wall St. Moguls Became Welfare Queens

How George W. Bush and Dick Cheney Made Fascism KKKool In America

Into The Hall of Mirrors: How Right Wing Wolves Got Their Sheepskin Clothes and Blamed the Left for Killing the Sheep

This last one is a must-read!!

– “Leon”

He has yet to respond to my last correspondence, sent 17 hours ago:


Question: who has studied Howard Zinn more: you or David Horowitz? By your own admission you haven’t even read A People’s History. So you don’t really know if there’s anything in Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of respect. Why do you assume that Zinn is somehow an intellectual worthy of respect?

You know you’re not the first leftist to argue with me about Zinn and to confess to me that you’ve never even read A People’s History. It’s really kind of pathetic to defend a book that you haven’t even read.

Do you think the idea that America is not actually a nation is a “fringe” view? Do you think the idea that United States is the greatest terrorist nation in the world is “fringe” view? What percentage of Americans think that we deserved what happened to us on 9/11? These are fringe views — and it’s why Zinn was relegated to journals with minuscule circulations like The Progressive and ZMagazine whereas Horowitz appears on TV regularly.

I’m not sure why I’m even bothering talking about Zinn with you, you’ve already confessed that you know nothing of his work.

The Left did not stand against Marxist tyrannies of the 20th century and it tries to whitewash the Islamist tyrannies of today. But you refuse to consider the evidence of these obvious facts.


If any other Zinn Disciples feel compelled to defend their guru they are more than welcome to contact NRB here.

Update: “Leon” responds here in a way that could not possibly be more amusing.

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