LINK: I was cruising through Dissent's website, and came across this Michael Kazin review of Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States, which quotes Zinn as follows:

"The mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the other direction-so tremblingly respectful of states and statesmen and so disrespectful, by inattention, to people's movements-that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission."

The article goes on to address--and dismiss, in part--the general defense for Zinn that it's okay that his book leans so heavily on one (sometimes incomplete or wrong) interpretation because it's meant to counterbalance the dominant interpretation. I bring this up because there's a defense of MM that generally runs along these lines: though he may exaggerate and have only a passing acquaintance with facts, it's still important that his viewpoint should be heard.

As Trotsky would say, that sort of argument is twaddle of the worst kind. If your argument rests, in whole or in part, on incorrect facts, then your argument fails. There is no there there. Why on earth would you think that an argument which can't even support itself represents a valid viewpoint, or one that needs further discussion*? And I think you impugn your credibility along with his by even potentially lining up beside that defense. There's enough acrimony in politics, we don't need to start advancing arguments that don't have any intellectual heft.

*I'm aware certain of my readers will point out that Moore is merely responding to a line of argument from the administration that is itself built upon facts that will not stand scrutiny. Even if it is so, that provides no excuse for retaliating in kind.

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