What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Who do you endorse for President [in the 2008 US election]?

Howard Zinn: We have three candidates. We have a definite Republican candidate, [John] McCain. We have two Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

I certainly wouldn’t choose McCain, because McCain is a war hawk. This war in Iraq is one of the most disastrous things the United States has ever done for our people and certainly for the people of Iraq. McCain wanting to continue the war that [George W.] Bush started five years ago, McCain is absolutely repulsive to me.

Between Clinton and Obama, well both of them have promised to end the [Iraq] war, but I must say their proposals for bringing the troops out of Iraq are rather halfhearted and they talk about keeping troops there, or Barack Obama says, “Let’s take troops out of Iraq, send troops to Afghanistan.” Neither of them has shaken what Barack Obama rightly called the mindset that led to the Iraq war. The mindset is a mindset which sees war and military intervention as a solution. Neither of them has shaken that.

I’m not happy, as you can see, with any of the candidates. When I get to the voting booth, I will be forced against my will, because I want somebody else other than those three. I will be forced against my will to make a choice and I will probably choose Obama, because in many ways he represents something really different, a multi-racial person who is supported by a large number of young and enthusiastic people and who may, that is these young and enthusiastic people may, if he is elected, become a force that he has to reckon with and will push him in a better direction than he has shown so far.

Question: How can Americans live up to their potential?

Howard Zinn:  I think Americans need to recognize that they cannot depend on our political system to do the right thing.  Americans need to recognize that they have to create local institutions, organizations, town halls.  They have to create grassroots organizations which all over the country will speak to the national politicians in order to bring about change, both in foreign and domestic policy. 

In other words, I think Americans need to realize that they cannot limit their participation as citizens to go into the polls every several years to vote.  They must participate every day. 

Henry David Thoreau said, “We must vote with our arms, with our legs, with our feet, with our whole bodies.”  By that he meant people should be active and involved every day of the year if we are really going to have a democratic society.

 

Date Recorded: July 5, 2008

 

 

 

 

Howard Zinn on US President...

Newsletter: Share: