Friday, October 22, 2010

Politicizing History

Ron Radosh, best known as a conservative critic of Howard Zinn and other left-wing historians, gives a favorable review to two books attacking the bogus history of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party. One of the books he reviews, by Jill Lepore, points out that today's Tea Party is not the first of modern times:
Lepore realizes that trying to find a usable past is not only a sin of the right. Indeed, she shows that in the 1970s, the left-wing activist Jeremy Rifkin created what he called “The People’s Bicentennial,” and used the Tea Party as a symbol for his attempt to invoke the Founding Fathers for the left in much the same way Beck and others do for the right today. His group, she writes, was meant to start “a tax-agitating Tea Party, too,” and said Tea stood for “Tax Equity for Americans.” His goal was to obtain “genuine equality of property and power and against taxation without representation,” and the group’s slogan was “Don’t Tread on Me.” Rifkin, she writes, “wrote the Tea Party’s playbook.”
One of the depressing things about studying history is that the people who care the most about it care the least about getting it right.

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