I always wondered why Howard Zinn was considered a radical. (He called himself a radical.) He was an unbelievably decent man who felt obliged to challenge injustice and unfairness wherever he found it. What was so radical about believing that workers should get a fair shake on the job, that corporations have too much power over our lives and much too much influence with the government, that wars are so murderously destructive that alternatives to warfare should be found, that blacks and other racial and ethnic minorities should have the same rights as whites, that the interests of powerful political leaders and corporate elites are not the same as those of ordinary people who are struggling from week to week to make ends meet?
None of these things are radical at all. I’m old enough–and I’m not that old–to remember that most people, including many Republicans, would have agreed with these statements. The political arguments were about the proposed solutions to these problems (although I think some of the conservative solutions were not offered in earnest). These should not be debated or debatable points, yet we have shifted so far to the right, that horrid melange of Palinism, Randism, and theopolitical conservatism, that we, in fact, debate whether we should be solving these problems.
By the way, this is how a conservative healthcare proposal gets portrayed as liberal.