Howard Zinn is a very advanced, mundane historian. The difference between Howard's vision and Christ's is a matter of whether or not to use the coercive power of the state to enforce righteousness. Howard Zinn's desires are righteous up to that point. Howard is completely correct up to that point. He's way ahead of every leader in public office I know of. However, we need to go beyond even what Howard is advocating. We need to want all the things Howard is suggesting below in his article, but we need to get there without coercion.
Humanity is never going to be able to force itself (each other) under threats of punishment to do the right thing. That's because such punishment is in itself not the right thing. The reason for that is because each of us is a learning being. We come into the world that heretofore offers up errors. We were all once young. We were all once unsuspecting. Mistrust is something we learn due to having been misled and punished.
Being misled and then punished hardens people. It becomes ingrained and difficult to turn around. The difficulty varies from one person to the next. Turning it around is made that much more difficult when surrounded by other people who don't comprehend the process or desirability of softening. They continue to balk and to council hardheartedness. They act out in this way. They do the hardhearted things that magnify exactly what it is that caused the problem (the hardening) in the first place. It is the vicious spiral downward. It is the darkening process that brings more of itself.
Every person is subjected to this in this worldly world. Every person is confronted with the stream of error that can seem insurmountable to straighten out. Everyone is punished and has dished out offense in one form or another thereby adding to and compounding the error of coercion.
Each of us requires forgiveness for having made our errors. If we hold others to account under coercion and punishment, will we be able to meet the highest standard? What of the faults we ignore in ourselves? Will someone else want to cast us into the Lake of Fire for not measuring up even though we may come to see the error of our ways and seek to change in earnest?
God is the concept we are to understand as perfect. If we don't measure up, then under the coercive model, every single one of us is fit for the flame to burn as so much waste.
Is this too idealistic? Ask yourself what setting lower sights has brought forth. Look at the present situation in the world. If we always aim lower, we will never arrive at the higher target. We will always fall short. We must aim at the highest to rise above the present situation.
Howard is asking everyone in the U.S. to raise the sights considerably. He is right to do that but right only in the relative sense. The absolute right thing is to raise the sights as high as conceivable and to be prepared to learn to conceive even better all the way to best.
What prevents this? The habit of error does. The conditioning we experience does. The behavior of each other that isn't concerned with others and even is out to poke others, to needle them, and to do other things, much worse things too, that amount to passing on mistreatment and taking out mistreatment on others. It is falling into the downward spiral of short-term confused physical stimuli with longer-term negative consequences. People who fall to this then are ripe for falling to war and other huge errors. They adopt Machiavellianism. They rationalize away as if there is no higher standard. They twist the concept of illusion into believing the negative of Jesus Christ. Where Jesus called something good, they turn around to call that illusion. Where Jesus called something evil, they turn that around to call it reality. The consequence is that they bring forth Hell on Earth whereas sticking with Jesus's definition we may bring forth Heaven on Earth. This is Isaiah/Jesus Liberal Theology where "liberal" means harmless and beneficial only. It is semantical theology.
Howard is advocating against certain known harmful things. Christ is advocating that we take that as far as possible. Coercion is harm in and of itself. It doesn't matter that the U.S. has set up a convoluted, indeterminate scheme called limited, divided, representational, republican democracy and by other combinations of terms. The few or the majority end up penalizing and punishing that is hardening rather than overcoming wrath and moving on to responding with loving kindness and tender mercy.
There are those who insist that this isn't possible. Theirs is a self-fulfilling path of failure doomed to painful purging consequences. It is avoidable by choice. However, we are all in this together even as we are each separate souls measured separately to the nth degree. How we handled the interconnected aspect of our existence will be part of our separate evaluation.
We have been told that if we turn the other cheek, they (the "they" are spoken of as if they aren't fellow human beings but rather beings incapable of responding to the very emotions that soften each of us) will never stop doing evil. Well, what is the alternative and what is the final outcome. What legacy do we learn and leave behind? Grab what you can. Don't let anyone else's welfare prevent you from that. That's the lesson many are preaching. It's a dog-eat-dog world and the toughest, meanest, dog eats the most. Well, then the dog dies and into what? The real dog has a smaller brain. The human turned dog has simply caved into behaving on a level that has shutdown the higher regions of the human brain. The real dog doesn't have the front lobe or temporal lobes of the human brain. Those are the regions of unselfishness. The real dog must be taught to overcome the dog nature of fighting over the dog dish or bowl. The human being has to be taught to fight over it. Human beings come into the world built for giving and sharing, but humanity is loaded with those who have succumbed to adopting the natures of the lesser beings. Yes, they are lesser in their natural kinds' potentiation at this point in the world's spiritual development. That's self-evident.
We humans have been given a huge gift that allows us to rise in quantum leaps. We can choose a different government system overnight. We can switch from competition to cooperation instantly. We can drop punishment and displace it with loving help instantly. Dogs don't think on that level. They will though react positively to it, just as will all animals and the whole planet and universe in fact. That's how much power there is in love. That's why John said God is love. It truly is infinite and eternal and the basis for all that is truly real (perfect).
Let's do the things Howard is talking about, but let's go all the way to the elimination of all hypocrisy in our law. Let's go all the way to the New Commandment that is the law without hypocrisy, hence the real law.
Here's Howard's article:
"Are Hillary and Obama Afraid of Talking About the New Deal?" By Howard Zinn
We might wonder why no Democratic Party contender for the presidency has invoked the memory of the New Deal and its unprecedented series of laws aimed at helping people in need. The New Deal was tentative, cautious, bold enough to shake the pillars of the system but not to replace them. It created many jobs but left 9 million unemployed. It built public housing but not nearly enough. It helped large commercial farmers but not tenant farmers. Excluded from its programs were the poorest of the poor, especially blacks. As farm laborers, migrants or domestic workers, they didn't qualify for unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, Social Security or farm subsidies.
Still, in today's climate of endless war and uncontrolled greed, drawing upon the heritage of the 1930s would be a huge step forward. Perhaps the momentum of such a project could carry the nation past the limits of FDR's reforms, especially if there were a popular upsurge that demanded it. A candidate who points to the New Deal as a model for innovative legislation would be drawing on the huge reputation Franklin Roosevelt and his policies enjoy in this country, an admiration matched by no President since Lincoln. Imagine the response a Democratic candidate would get from the electorate if he or she spoke as follows:
"Our nation is in crisis, just as it was when Roosevelt took office. At that time, people desperately needed help, they needed jobs, decent housing, protection in old age. They needed to know that the government was for them and not just for the wealthy classes. This is what the American people need today.
"I will do what the New Deal did, to make up for the failure of the market system. It put millions of people to work through the Works Progress Administration, at all kinds of jobs, from building schools, hospitals, playgrounds, to repairing streets and bridges, to writing symphonies and painting murals and putting on plays. We can do that today for workers displaced by closed factories, for professionals downsized by a failed economy, for families needing two or three incomes to survive, for writers and musicians and other artists who struggle for security.
"The New Deal's Civilian Conservation Corps at its peak employed 500,000 young people. They lived in camps, planted millions of trees, reclaimed millions of acres of land, built 97,000 miles of fire roads, protected natural habitats, restocked fish and gave emergency help to people threatened by floods.
"We can do that today, by bringing our soldiers home from war and from the military bases we have in 130 countries. We will recruit young people not to fight but to clean up our lakes and rivers, build homes for people in need, make our cities beautiful, be ready to help with disasters like Katrina. The military is having a hard time recruiting young men and women for war, and with good reason. We will have no such problem enlisting the young to build rather than destroy.
"We can learn from the Social Security program and the GI Bill of Rights, which were efficient government programs, doing for older people and for veterans what private enterprise could not do. We can go beyond the New Deal, extending the principle of social security to health security with a totally free government-run health system. We can extend the GI Bill of Rights to a Civilian Bill of Rights, offering free higher education for all.
"We will have trillions of dollars to pay for these programs if we do two things: if we concentrate our taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population, not only their incomes but their accumulated wealth, and if we downsize our gigantic military machine, declaring ourselves a peaceful nation.
"We will not pay attention to those who complain that this is 'big government.' We have seen big government used for war and to give benefits to the wealthy. We will use big government for the people."
How refreshing it would be if a presidential candidate reminded us of the experience of the New Deal and defied the corporate elite as Roosevelt did, on the eve of his 1936 re-election. Referring to the determination of the wealthy classes to defeat him, he told a huge crowd at Madison Square Garden: "They are unanimous in their hatred for me — and I welcome their hatred." I believe that a candidate who showed such boldness would win a smashing victory at the polls.
The innovations of the New Deal were fueled by the militant demands for change that swept the country as FDR began his presidency: the tenants' groups; the Unemployed Councils; the millions on strike on the West Coast, in the Midwest and the South; the disruptive actions of desperate people seeking food, housing, jobs — the turmoil threatening the foundations of American capitalism. We will need a similar mobilization of citizens today, to unmoor from corporate control whoever becomes President. To match the New Deal, to go beyond it, is an idea whose time has come.
HOWARD ZINN is author of many books including his recent collection of essays published by City Lights Books, A POWER GOVERNMENTS CANNOT SUPPRESS.
Here are some links to other sites you may find worth visiting that cover Howard Zinn-type philosophy. Any sites that agree with Howard Zinn are headed in the right direction at least on certain issues. They are going to be more compassionate than are false-compassionate and self-styled conservatives. The issue the Church will have with each of them will be concerning the degree of consistency each is willing to apply across-the-board. I/We seek the highest calling possible as stated above. We say God bless all.
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