Howard Zinn may have passed away in 2010 at age 87, but his teaching continues on the campus of Purdue in 2013. We’re not talking about some ghost which haunts hallowed halls, but the spirit of Howard Zinn coming forth to debate Mitch Daniels through a student of his, a Purdue University-Calumet Philosophy Professor, Dr. David Detmer.
As most readers of Muncie Voice are aware, Tom Lobianco, an AP reporter, gained access to emails from Mitch Daniels when he was governor, and we shared them as well. The emails consisted of Mitch using his position as governor to censor Howard Zinn’s book, A Peoples History of the United States. It was clearly an infringement on academic freedom and scholarship, but both Daniels and the Purdue Board of Trustee’s dismissed the accusations. As usual, Governor Pence has done nothing.
However, in the process of shrugging off the claims, Mitch actually dug himself a little deeper in the hole. He quoted several other sources who had made negative comments about Zinn, but one of the sources Mitch used was deceased, but the others blasted Daniels for not only using their quotes, but for his censorship. Apparently, these scholars admired Zinn more than Mitch could have known, and like most Americans, have a real problem with government censorship.
The result of Mitch’s botched attempt to cover up his censorship actions, is it gave Professor Detmer an idea to hold a lecture titled, Mitch Daniels and Howard Zinn: Objectivity and the University. As he indicates in the video, “Purdue faculty wouldn’t allow a freshman student to get by with the weak arguments put forth by Daniels who was hired to lead the 2nd largest university in Indiana.”
After his lecture caught the attention of the local paper, the professor’s classroom was standing room only. Thankfully for us, he videotaped it so we could share it with you.
In Mitch’s emails, he demonstrated nothing but contempt for Howard Zinn, but as Detmer points out, Howard Zinn had a decorated past and we hope you explore more about Zinn’s books, articles, plays, web pages or even watch some of the videos dedicated to his life’s work. It’s quite possible that Mitch’s contempt was masking envy for Zinn’s keen perception and ability to slice through typical conservative rhetoric much like Detmer does to Mitch.
We suspect a free-thinker who opposes oppression would cause much aggravation for a personality type like Daniels.
Another aspect of the video worth noting is it brings to light how the ‘free and independent press’ no longer adheres to objective journalism. where truth is sought and findings shared; followed by discussions and debate.
In today’s corporate owned media outlets, we get opinions or ideological rhetoric void of facts. As Al Jazzera and the Guardian newspapers recently pointed out, the lack of journalistic integrity with US newspapers are not doing Americans any favors.
Muncie Voice illustrated some rather obvious problems and issues with Daniel’s emails and later attempts to justify his censorship, but Detmer uses a professors keen intellect to literally fillet Purdue’s president. The board of trustees awarded Daniels a $58 thousand bonus after six months for his quick acclimation from the governor’s mansion to his presidential suite, but as Detmer points out in the video, Daniels is guilty of the mindset for which he condemns from our government leaders. In fact, he is much worse since he’s unaware of its existence. Check out the quote from Professor Detmer, and the watch the video – it’s a great learning tool based on a real subject which should concern every Hoosier…all Americans should be concerned:
The views Mitch Daniels advocates in his book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans? There he decries the “steady decline in freedom” that he sees as resulting from the activities of government bureaucrats, who “try to regulate every aspect of our lives.” Daniels’s speaks disdainfully of the claim of superior expertise that he finds to be implicit in their actions. Indeed, he sarcastically calls such bureaucrats “our Benevolent Betters,” and argues that we would be much freer, and much better off, if we trusted Americans to go about their business without such meddling.
And as Professor Detmer so brilliantly pointed out, “Well then, why not leave history teachers alone and let them decide what to teach? Why should Daniels, by his own logic, not be condemned as a meddling, freedom-destroying “Benevolent Better”?”