Every so often, one hears the argument that "Left and Right" are outdated terms, or that there really aren't enormous differences in the ways the Left and Right view America, the world, men and women, and just about every other important aspect of life. I wish this were true. But the gaps between the Left and Right on almost every issue that matters -- including and especially issues of good and evil -- are in fact unbridgeable.
That is why, for many years, I have invited leading representatives of the intellectual Left onto my radio show. Not in order to debate them (though I would be happy to do so at any college), but in order to clarify for listeners exactly what the Left believes.
I recently dialogued with an icon of the Left, Howard Zinn, professor emeritus of political science at Boston University, author of "A People's History of the United States," lauded by The New York Times as "required reading" for all American students. And, as Wikipedia notes, it "has been adopted as required reading in high schools and colleges throughout the United States."
Dennis Prager: I think a good part of your view is summarized when you say, "If people knew history, they would scoff at that, they would laugh at that" -- the idea that the United States is a force for the betterment of humanity. I believe that we are the country that has done more good for humanity than any other in history. What would you say . . . we have done more bad than good, we're in the middle, or what?
Howard Zinn: Probably more bad than good. We've done some good, of course; there's no doubt about that. But we have done too many bad things in the world. You know, if you look at the way we have used our armed forces throughout our history: first destroying the Indian communities of this continent and annihilating Indian tribes, then going into the Caribbean in the Spanish-American War, going to the Philippines, taking over other countries, not establishing democracy but in many cases establishing dictatorship, holding up dictatorships in Latin America and giving them arms, and you know, Vietnam, killing several million people for no good reason at all, certainly not for democracy or liberty, and continuing down to the present day with the war in Iraq . . . .
DP: There is evil in the way we treated the Indians, there is no question about it. But there's also no question that the great majority died of disease and not deliberately inflicted disease.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”