The Magazine

Radical Revision

Reclaiming the history of the left from leftist historians.

May 12, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 33 • By RONALD RADOSH
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Dreams die hard, and the imperfections of our American Republic will always produce reformers and radicals, some of whom will make contributions to a better society while others will follow their predecessors in trying to bring it down. The radical can never be satisfied, Flynn argues, and will continually seek to build an unattainable paradise on earth. They are, Flynn concludes, would-be "perfectors of society" who make "an imperfect society even less perfect." The left, never learning from its own history, continually "condemns itself to replicating its mistakes, its tragedies, its failures." Or as Carl Oglesby, SDS president, tells Flynn: "Nobody learns anything from anybody."

Ronald Radosh, adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, is the author of Commies:
A Journey Through the Old Left,
the New Left, and the Leftover Left.