Why Leftists Should Embrace Our Proud History, from Thomas Paine to the New Deal ❧ Current Affairs
(UW-Green Bay Emeritus Prof.) Historian Harvey J. Kaye has long argued that leftists are too negative about American history, and that our focus on its horrors and miseries risks downplaying the other side of the story: the great radicals in every generation who have fought, and often died, to make the country better, and whose legacy (and unfulfilled mission) we inherit. History is a rich source of inspiration and we have a great deal to gain by studying and learning from the inspiring figures who challenged the unjust social systems of their time, under even more trying conditions than we face today. Kaye recently joined us on the Current Affairs podcast to discuss his work. Kaye is a (retired) professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He is the author of a number of books, including Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History? and most recently the book Take Hold of Our History: Make America Radical Again. The new book features a blurb from legendary TV producer Norman Lear, creator of All in the Family, who says “no one has ever loved a nation more or spanked it harder for straying from its premise than Harvey Kaye.”The following transcript has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.