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Roger’s Rules

Mitch Daniels vs. Howard Zinn. Daniels Wins.

July 20th, 2013 - 3:47 am

Did former governor, now university president, Mitch Daniels seek to censor the late Howard Zinn, a Communist prof who wrote the anti-American bestseller A People’s History of the United States? No, but that’s what the  AP suggested. “Mitch Daniels looked to censor opponents,” ran the headline. “[E]mails obtained by The Associated Press show Daniels went out of his way during his second term as governor to destroy what he considered liberal breeding grounds at Indiana’s public universities.” The second bit appears to be true. And congratulations to Mitch Daniels for his efforts at swamp-clearing. Public universities should not be breeding grounds for any ideology, Left or Right.

The AP writer doesn’t get that, of course.  But it’s important that more dispassionate souls recognize that there is no connection between Mitch Daniels’s effort to depoliticize the university system in Indiana — a task that, given the ideological complexion of American higher education, meant showing leftists (the AP calls them “liberal,” but actually they are illiberal leftists) the door — there is no connection, I say, between that effort and the “censorship” he was alleged to have been engaged in.

The AP story is a sort of hit job, intended to discredit Daniels, who is coming up for his six-month review as head of Purdue University. Its actual effect, on me, anyway, was to increase my already high esteem for the man. Here is a chap that not only saved the state of Indiana from the fiscal nightmare that leftist-run states like Illinois and Michigan are suffering (remember Detroit?), but he is also someone who can spot a Communist fraud at 100 paces and isn’t afraid to say that left-wing propaganda is not the same as history and should not be purveyed as such on the taxpayer’s dime. Zinn’s book, wrote Daniels in one of those emails, “is a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page.” That’s exactly right.  Also right were Daniels’s efforts to remove it from the curriculum: “Can someone assure me,” he asked “that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?”

Turns out it was being taught at Indiana University, but that’s hardly a surprise. Zinn’s exercise in anti-American agit-prop — the historian Oscar Handlin called it a  “deranged fairy tale” — is far and away the bestselling book of American history in the country. It has sold more than 2 million copies and is used in high schools and colleges across the country. Again, Daniels’s response was spot on: “This crap should not be accepted for any credit by the state. No student will be better taught because someone sat through this session.” (Readers interested in a fuller version of my take on Zinn can find it in this piece for National Review.)

Note well, Daniels doesn’t say Zinn’s book oughtn’t to be allowed to be published. He doesn’t want to censor the book. He merely says it shouldn’t be taught as history.  He would, I’d wager, say the same thing about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  And he’d be right.

The Left is skirling that Mitch Daniels wants to deny academic freedom. No, he wants to support it. But he understands that academic freedom is not a license to engage in political propaganda. It is the freedom to pursue the truth. This is a point that Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, gets exactly right.  “Academic freedom,” Wood writes in a column on the controversy for The Chronicle of Higher Education,  ”is a principle that thrives only when it is sturdily woven together with academic responsibility. That’s what Daniels in his plain-speaking e-mails called for.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Capitalism is a pejorative Marxist term for something best known as the free market. It's not a theory at all. It's the way things work when government stays out of people's lives except to do the things that only goverment is capable of. The fact that you repeat such nonsense tells me that the influence of Zinn et al remains as pervasive and disruptive as ever. Did you read this article or do you just like to spout this nonsense regardless of the facts?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is merely the end game of cultural marxism's march through education. When there's nothing left but moral relativism, there's literally nothing left. The personal becomes political and vice versa,all view points are equally valid so end the end none are anything more than the individuals perception. Of course they never try it out with something like gravity, at least not successfully, but it allows "teaching" by anecdote as opposed to serious course work.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Objectivity is impossible, and it is also undesirable. That is, if it were possible it would be undesirable” (Howard Zinn).

"Postmodernism maintains only that there can be no independent standard for determining which of many rival interpretations of an event is the true one." (Stanley Fish; "Condemnation Without Absolutes" 10/15/01 NYT)

If true, then how does anyone know anything? How does one *know,* for instance, that academic freedom is here being impinged? How does anyone even know what the concept, 'censorship' means? Or even the concept 'knowledge'?

Indeed, the really fundamental question here is how did Zinn and how does Fish *know* that objectivity is impossible and that truth is subjective?

The answer is provided by Fish: "Instead, we can and should invoke the particular lived values that unite us and inform the institutions we cherish and wish to defend."

How do they *know* that?

For Kantian nihilist Zinn, truth is impossible; for Dewey pragmatist Fish, truth is impossible, but can be replaced--asserted, actualized, whatever--by consensus.

Now I wonder if what they're saying is, well, um, er, true.

PS. Truth is the correspondence between Identity (existence) and Identification (consciousness).
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
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my best friend's mother makes $69/hr on the laptop. She has been without a job for eight months but last month her payment was $16559 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this web site http://www.wep6.com
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The university as a haven of free speech, like the Internet, gives an equal voice, and an equal opportunity, for dunderheads and the aparatchiks of entitlement, communism, and all other happily offendeds.

Roger, you'll love this - http://www.fredoneverything.net/Reseg.shtml.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
In a world, the world of the Australian school child, where sexism is the issue in Shakespeare, global warming in geography, the stolen generation in history and recycling is science, is it any wonder that my daughter, my top of the class daughter, thought Poland was next to Thailand and has anyone heard of Beethoven? The side effect of this caring about injustices curriculum in Australia is knowing very little about history, geography, music and art. How to reverse it? If I say that screening Al Gore's movie at school and making the kids cry is wrong then I become the biased political one. I think the best start is to go for enforcing the showing of both points of view to the students. It's a start.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that Australia is not the only place to have hugely inadequate education. Theodore Dalrymple, a few of whose medically-oriented articles appear here at PJM, has been publishing scathing articles about the British educational system for years in books and other websites. He reported that he had given thousands of his patients simple tests while he was still practicing medicine and found almost none of these patients knew just when World War II was; guesses ranged anywhere from 1914 to 1960 for the start and end dates. He reported that British children knew of only two prime ministers: Margaret Thatcher andTony Blair but NOT Winston Churchill. He found that his patients couldn't do arithmetic either and only a half dozen out of many hundreds of patients could correct mutliply six times seven. I should note that Dalrymple only reported his results for patients that had been entirely educated in the UK; I expect that patients who were fully or partially educated outside the UK may have been even more poorly educated. Also, Dalrymple went through this father's school textbooks when his father died and was astonished at how difficult they were. He felt that none of today's students could have done this work and precious few of the teachers either!

Dalrymple's essays were written a few years ago and things may well be even worse now. I'm Canadian and I spoke to a young man the other day who was in his early 20s. He said that he had studied what an essay was and how it was supposed to be structured but he'd never written one in his entire school career. He also volunteered the information that his similarily-aged co-workers could not multiply by two.

America may well be in similarly desperate straits. I saw a game show a few years back where a contestant had to name any of the three ships that sailed with Columbus on his first voyage to the new world: her guess was the Titanic! Another contestant on the same show was asked to identify a popular singing group containing four men named John, Paul, George and Ringo; it was a multiple choice question and the correct answers, the Beatles, was given as one of the options but he chose The Village People.

You might be assuming that schools are just getting harder and harder since we attended but the opposite is true. Material that was once done in primary school is now done in high school or even university. My mother, who never went past the eighth grade, did problems like "A westbound train leaving Philadelphia at 3 PM encounters an eastbound train that left Chicago at 1 PM. At what time do they meet?" before she left school. I did that kind of problem around the middle of high school. I believe that these questions are now not considered until university.

As you say, assignments are all about demonstrating sensitivity and political correctness. Dalrymple reported assignments for students to write about the life of French farmer's wives in the 1500s but says that students were only told about the sexism built into the society at the time; they were not told anything about major events at the time, like who was the King, what wars France fought in those years, what technology existed, etc. etc.

I really can't dispute those who say schools aren't about education at all any more but are instead about political indoctrination.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, support from a fellow member of the Commonwealth, thanks. It's like some disease. My oldest did the industrial revolution and Watt and Brunel weren't mentioned. Instead it was how your great great grandmother would have felt. One more. A friend's son is in 4th year medicine and he says that it's around 30% sensitivity lessons and that the students are worried about their own competence. Medicine! I think the root of this pretty appalling educational problem and quite a few other problems too is the belief that caring and compassion trump action. That having self esteem will make them learn. No, the self esteem comes after the work. OK, I sound curmudgeon-like here but something's wrong, badly wrong.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see dry humor is not your forte. My position on animal rights is only Humans have rights, given by G-d, and maybe my dog (who is a lot smarter than many people I've met) and some of his species but not all. On the environment, we should use it for all its worth. As for chickens, we're stuck with factory farms to meet demand; Colonel Sanders wiped out free range chickens a long time ago, as George Carlin once noted.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Comment above was in reply to Oregonian1 re the Perdue joke ...
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Apparently free range chicken jokes are more prevalent that I thought ...
Enjoy this comedian http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npxNzgL3fSk
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very few people realize - even those who consider themselves educated - that there is a whole industry of falsified history. All due 'credit' should be given to leftist academia.

In fact, it has been duly reported on within various commentaries, and its formal term is 'historicism' - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/05/31/freedom-of-speech-its-evisceration-of-all-meaning-its-collision-course-with-moral-relativismhistoricism-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Its effects are vast, and its intent is to bludgeon all criticism of 'the other', and to bash achievements made by western civilization. Simply put, without this made up out of whole cloth 'history', the PC Omerta, from leftward radicals, would be dead to rights.

Zinn, may he spin in the hereafter, was its master manipulator!

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Turns out it was being taught at Indiana University, but that’s hardly a surprise." That's because IU (best known for Alfred Kinsey and Bobby Knight) is where the left-wingers go, and Purdue (most famous graduates are Neil Armstrong and John Wooden) is where the smart kids go.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is merely the end game of cultural marxism's march through education. When there's nothing left but moral relativism, there's literally nothing left. The personal becomes political and vice versa,all view points are equally valid so end the end none are anything more than the individuals perception. Of course they never try it out with something like gravity, at least not successfully, but it allows "teaching" by anecdote as opposed to serious course work.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Its even worse than that though, because to leftists only leftist viewpoints are valid, and if you dare to say something they don't agree with, you are guilty of hate speech, and get driven out of academia. They only use that "everything is valid, and you should not censor different opinions, and we need academic freedom" excuse if you challenge a leftie professor/book on specific facts, and they know you are right on the facts, and know that others might realize you are right on the facts.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zinn isn't just poisoning American minds with his nonsense. I'm Canadian and the last time I was in Chapters/Indigo, probably our biggest bookstore chain, I saw a couple of copies of "People's History". If I were a Leftist, I'd probably have set up a picket sign to protest over carrying this book.

I don't know if any of the schools here use this book as a text but it wouldn't particularly shock me. I was truly shocked and appalled when I heard that the most (or second-most) widely accessed writer in our public libraries was Noam Chomsky.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
You said "if [you] were a Leftist, [you'd] probably have set up a picket sign to protest over carrying this book [People's History]." Can you clarify what you mean by "leftist?" Normally, people of the left would support Zinn's book, not picket against it. The term "left-wing" originated during the French Revolution in reference to the Jacobins, and heck, Rousseau was even referred to as the Father of the Left, or at least the Father of the Modern Left.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, you raise a good point. I've conflated two things that don't properly go together.

I really just meant that I was appalled by seeing Zinn's book being sold as if it were an accurate history book. To me, that should merit protest signs, just as Leftists march and demand the arrest of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
AP always acts the same. It would be a huge surprise if they didn't defend a Communist.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm with the Intelligent Design folks here, teach the controversy! There are doubts about Capitalism, it is a "theory" (like evolution) and as such we should teach the controversy - Marxism, Socialism, Distributism (as a Catholic, my personal fave), Corporatism... make students aware of the shortcomings and allow them to make up their on minds. Daniels is a petty dictator, denying academic freedom. What's he afraid of?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Capitalism is a pejorative Marxist term for something best known as the free market. It's not a theory at all. It's the way things work when government stays out of people's lives except to do the things that only goverment is capable of. The fact that you repeat such nonsense tells me that the influence of Zinn et al remains as pervasive and disruptive as ever. Did you read this article or do you just like to spout this nonsense regardless of the facts?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
He is not afraid of anything. He KNOWS that in most universities there is the leftist mantras taught as absolute truth and anything conservative that is taught as nonsense or taught not at all.

Academic freedom today means that students parrot the teachers twisted views or gets a bad grade. Being taught how to think for one's self is contraindicated for the left.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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