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Ron Radosh

It’s the Culture, Stupid: Facing the Long Road Ahead

November 8th, 2012 - 5:02 pm

Imagine how many television viewers, many of whom know virtually nothing about how we got to where we are, will learn from this expertly edited documentary how and why the United States is basically an evil nation, on the wrong course, and supported the wrong side in all foreign policy crises throughout its modern history. We cannot disregard the effect this kind of miseducation has on the knowledge of our fellow citizens. Do you wonder why the polls show that most Americans think Barack Obama’s foreign policy the past four years was successful? It is because they are a generation educated from “historians” like the late Howard Zinn, political theorists like the linguist Noam Chomsky, and now from filmmaker Stone and his historian co-author, Peter Kuznick.

Finally, I have a recommendation. For your left-leaning friends and associates, I highly recommend a new e-book written by my friend, the eminent historian Martin J. Sklar. It is called Letters on Obama (from the Left):The Global Revolution and the Obama Counter-Revolution. Sklar is sui generis. He calls himself a Marxist historian and a socialist. Yet the positions he takes — which he argues are those in defense of liberty — are positions regularly associated with conservatives and Republicans. You might consider this naiveté or an oxymoron. But any serious reader should take into consideration the insights he presents and the intellectual case that he musters.

One reviewer on Amazon’s site, Norton Wheeler, describes Sklar’s thesis in this way:

On the basis of decades of historical research and publication, as well as political practice, Sklar concludes that the market economy in a modern society plays an increasingly prominent role in providing social welfare. He further concludes that the wing of the Democratic Party that has been ascendant since, roughly, the beginning of the 21st century has become a fetter on the forces of production, adopting state-centric, low-growth policies (“capitolism”) that inhibit both general prosperity and vibrant democracy. Relatedly, he argues that the same tendency has constrained the historical role of the United States as promoter of free societies on a global scale. On the basis of these critiques of current domestic and foreign policies – and with the premise that the United States has historically been a left-tending nation, in thought and practice – Sklar concludes that the last three Republican presidential candidates have been to the left of the last two Democratic candidates.

In Sklar’s view, the Republican have advocated policies that are pro-growth, pro-democratic, and within the American tradition, while the policies of the Democrats have been regressive, reactionary, and, in Marxist terms, counter-revolutionary. I urge readers to purchase his book – which costs only $4.95 – and engage his argument.

All of these works I have mentioned are examples of the task that faces us today. To win in the political realm four year from now and in the future, it is not only finding new candidates that count. We must also change the culture.

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Cross-posted at PJ Lifestyle.

Related at PJ Lifestyle, more post-election cultural reflections:

Politicizing Ourselves to Death: Is the Culture War Over?

When Your Dog Dies, You Can Bring Him Back to Life

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