Howard Zinn Essay

1039 words - 4 pages

Howard Zinn was born on December 7 19922 in Brooklyn New York. Zinn was raised in a working-class family in Brooklyn, and flew bombing missions for the United States in World War 2, which experience he uses to shape his opposition to war. Howard Zinn is one of the most respected historians, the author of various books and plays, and a passionate activist for radical change. A clear statement of his nature is his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. He is perhaps best known for A People's History of the United Sates, which presents American history through the eyes of those outside of the political and economic establishment, like the Native Americans, slaves, women, blacks, etc. In his essay "Violence and Human Nature" Howard Zinn points that; even if humans are capable of violent behavior, it is social conditions that harness that cruelty. He warns us to steer clear of the widespread notion that humans are biologically predisposed to violence and warfare.Mr. Zinn starts off by using an arsenal of famous thinkers, pointing out their pessimistic views and believes on human behavior. Views based on no concrete evidence that we humans are born with this trait called violence. Zinn starts off using Machiavelli's positive view in the "The Prince" that humans tend to be bad. Zinn add great minds such as Einstein and Freud and their correspondence to illustrate their own views on the subject, and their conclusions that humans are violent by nature. Other scholars are also thrown in to support this traditional view of human nature being evil.The writer goes on with the idea that scientific evidence doesn't proves it, and that is the notion that humans are in nature prone to violence. Howard picks on some scientific fields to show as that there is no evidence of human instinct for the kind of aggressive hostility that characterizes war. He turns to sociobiology, where the Harvard professor E.O Wilson in his book "On Human nature" answers with a yes on the question "Are human beings innately aggressive?" and finds his evidence not in his field but as Freud did in History. Wilson goes on to describe that humans are born with such a trait as violence, that we own it to our genes. Zinn counter attacks this with the following, Stephen Jay Gould a colleague of Wilson and a expert in evolution categorically just replies when asked that there no evidence for such a statement by Wilson. Zinn is starting to show us an interesting pattern, a blueprint that clearly show us that every explanation from those important people look to root their selves with evidence found only in History.Zinn invites us to illustrate why History is being picked as the field from where those people can pull their evidence of Human violence. It's easily proven when you choose humans to be evil, you just need to pick your example, and history is flooded with it. Zinn shows us that there is a down side of it picking on history, because it depends on which...

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