For non-conformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face. The bystanders look askance on him in the public street or in the friend's parlor. If this aversion had its origin in the contempt and resistance like his own he might well go home with a sad countenance; but the sour face of the multitude, like their sweet faces, have no deep cause disguise no god, but are put on and off as the wind blows and a newspaper directs. Yet is the discontent of the multitude more formidable than that of the senate and the college. It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to brook the rage of the cultivated classes. Their rage is decorous and prudent, for they are timid, as being very vulnerable themselves. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, when the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment.
Now it is an unquestionable fact that those who are equally acquainted with, and equally capable of appreciating and enjoying, both, do give a most marked preference to the manner of existence which employs their higher faculties. Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs. They would not resign what they possess more than he for the most complete satisfaction of all the desires which they have in common with him. If they ever fancy they would, it is only in cases of unhappiness so extreme, that to escape from it they would exchange their lot for almost any other, however undesirable in their own eyes. A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more points, than one of an inferior type; but in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence. We may give what explanation we please of this unwillingness; we may attribute it to pride, a name which is given indiscriminately to some of the most and to some of the least estimable feelings of which mankind are capable: we may refer it to the love of liberty and personal independence, an appeal to which was with the Stoics one of the most effective means for the inculcation of it; to the love of power, or to the love of excitement, both of which do really enter into and contribute to it: but its most appropriate appellation is a sense of dignity, which all human beings possess in one form or other, and in some, though by no means in exact, proportion to their higher faculties, and which is so essential a part of the happiness of those in whom it is strong, that nothing which conflicts with it could be, otherwise than momentarily, an object of desire to them.
Zinn and Israel
Just as Zinn held the United States in contempt, so did he despise America's closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. According to the professor, Israel’s creation in 1948 “meant the dispossession of the Arab majority that lived on that land,” and led not only to “the occupation and subjugation of several million Palestinians,” but also to “what we would today call ‘ethnic cleansing.’” Zinn once recounted that “after the Six-Day War of 1967 and Israel's occupation of territories seized in that war (the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the Sinai peninsula),” he personally “began to see Israel not simply as a beleaguered little nation surrounded by hostile Arab states, but as an expansionist power.”
With regard to the ongoing Mideast conflict, Zinn placed most of the blame for “the cycle of violence” on Israel's allegedly provocative use of disproportionate force—., “a rock-throwing [Palestinian] intifada met by [Israeli] over-reaction in the form of broken bones and destroyed homes, [Palestinian] suicide bombers killing innocent Jews followed by [Israeli] bombings which killed ten times as many innocent Arabs.”
Zinn lamented further that “in the occupied territories ... a million and more Palestinians live under a cruel military occupation, while our [.] government supplies Israel with high-tech weapons.” According to Zinn , Israeli society was replete with deep-seated “xenophobia, militarism, [and] expansionism.” Added the professor: