This Just In: General Franco is Still Dead

My column about Howard Zinn has drawn a protest from Ron Radosh, who claims that I called him a fascist and accuses me of McCarthyism. (It is the ninth comment on said column, just pointed out to me by a third party.)

I am, of course, shaken to the core. But it's hardly my fault that Radosh has spoken well of Franco's regime. One can see where he might not like having that pointed out. In any case it is not the same as labeling him a fascist, which I have never done.

What really rankles, perhaps, is that I did not think very much of his autobiography, and said so when reviewing it for the Washington Post some years ago:

Nothing in Radosh's memoir conveys the painful ordeal of dis-illusionment, in the strong sense: an ordeal, a crisis, in which one faces not only the morally repulsive consequences of beliefs and actions but also the qualities of willful self-deception and ideologically compulsory blindness that have sustained one's previous commitments.

Instead, we get a chronicle of complaints and alibis. It is a commonplace that leftist dogma can be a way to avoid unpleasant realities about oneself. Commies makes a pioneering and rather daring use of right-wing rhetoric for the same end. When Radosh's first (and by his own account quite miserable) marriage finally disintegrates, this is because his wife was influenced by the women's movement. A few pages later, he finds himself having sex with an alcoholic girlfriend on top of Mount Rushmore. "I now don't understand why or even how I did such things," he writes. "Perhaps it was the cumulative effect of too much marijuana." So much for personal responsibility. It was all the Zeitgeist's fault.

At last report, some ten months back, Radosh was getting a leg up on Lyndon LaRouche by suggesting that Obama is a fascist. He is now calling me both a charlatan and (here the irony gets so thick it starts to congeal) a McCarthyite. Well, I'll live. But it's hard not to notice that the man is not getting any more cogent with age.

February 3, 2010 4:34 PM | | Comments (6)

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6 Comments

Who is Ron Radosh?

He's sort of like David Horowitz, except without the intelligence, eloquence, charm, and animal magnetism.

I am going to regret making that joke. I feel sure of it.

The real question is: Are people still allowed to have sex atop Mount Rushmore?

Chances are if you tried to Google that question you would get some interesting results, if not an answer exactly.

What is perhaps most interesting about Radosh's burial of Howard Zinn is its accuracy. That is, Radosh's obit is filled with lines like this: "Zinn himself added a few weeks ago that his hope was that his work will spread new rebellion, and "lead into a larger movement for economic justice." And this: "From Zinn's perspective, history should not be told from the standpoints of generals or presidents, but through that of people who struggle for their rights, who engage in strikes, boycotts, slave rebellions and the like. Its purpose should be to encourage similar behavior today."

In other words, Radosh accurately assesses Zinn's politics; he simply finds that encouraging "a larger movement for economic justice" and writing about "people who struggle for their rights" are inherently reprehensible for a historian.

Great point -- I, too, noticed that Radosh seemed relatively non-lunatic. His one twitchy bit is insisting that I write about him every chance I get. (It is true that I don't think all that much of Radosh. But neither do I think of him all that much.)

The best response to his comments on ZInn was made by Gil Scott Heron in in "B Movie," a spoken-word piece about Ronald Reagan recorded almost thirty years ago:

"Civil rights, women's rights, gay rights...it's all wrong...Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild....God damn it...first one wants freedom, then another wants freedom...pretty soon the whole damn world wants freedom."

To update, it is worth pointing out that D'Ho has chimed in and brought things to a suitably level of barking and frothing:

http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/02/03/the-zinnians-the-neo-communists-and-the-fate-of-america/

I have always wanted to be a neo-something, but it never quite worked out, so this is really a special day for me.

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This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on February 3, 2010 4:34 PM.

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