Anyone who remembers his American history courses in grade and high school – when American history was still being taught, because very little of it is today – will also remember all the glowing, adulatory accounts in standard textbooks of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. One encountered nary a disparaging word about them. They “saved the world,” were “forward looking,” or “ahead of their time,” and “served selflessly” the cause of “democracy” and “social justice.” These particular presidents appeared in those textbooks as squeaky clean, literal saints, and were held up as models of political and national leadership.
They could do no wrong, and if these real-life Dudley Do-Rights failed in their missions to reorient the electorate to be more easily led to moral adventures, the New Frontier, and Great Societies, it was all the fault of greedy obstructionists and other Snidely Whiplash villains in Congress or the Supreme Court.
Hobsbawm preferred one style of totalitarian architecture; Howard Zinn another.