From Howard Zinn's Foreword to "100 Ways"


Some readers may conclude that there is something unpatriotic about pointing to slavery, racism, economic injustice, the massacre of Indians, the imperial wars.  I welcome John Tirmans book because I think we have for too long congratulated ourselves for our good deeds (and there have been some, as Tirman points out) and ignored the ways we have violated human rights throughout our history up to this very moment.  I believe we do our country a service when we look at it honestly, free of nationalist arrogance.
           We need to think carefully about what it means to be patriotic. If patriotism means uncritical support of what your government does, and if it is unpatriotic to criticize the government, then patriotism fits in perfectly with totalitarianism. But if we are  to live in a democracy. we should recall the principles of  the Declaration of Independence, which declared that governments are artificial entities, set up by the people of the country to achieve certain ends an equal right of all to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  . . . . It is in that admirable tradition of dissent, defiance, resistance to illegitimate authority, insistence that not only Americans, but people everywhere have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,  that John Tirman has written this book.  To write it, read it,  publish it,  is a celebration of democracy.


home           other reviews