I added some bolding to the interesting parts. Enjoy.
Propaganda in the classroom
By RICH LOWRY
Last Updated: 11:46 PM, July 29, 2013
Posted: 11:06 PM, July 29, 2013
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now the president of Purdue University, has impeccable taste in historians.
Upon the death of Howard Zinn in 2010, he wrote an e-mail to his advisers about Zinn’s most famous work, “A People’s History of the United States.” “It is a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page,” he said. “Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before any more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?”
He was appalled to find out that Indiana University used the tome in a course training the state’s teachers, and wanted his education adviser to look into such courses and impose some standards. “Disqualify the propaganda,” he urged, “and highlight (if there is any) the more useful offerings.”
Just revealed, the e-mails have occasioned much heavy breathing among the sorts of people for whom lacking perspective is a professional obligation. For them, Daniels might as well be a book-burning fireman out of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”
Ninety-two Purdue professors signed a letter warning that “the very viability of academic inquiry and the university’s mission is at stake.” The American Historical Association said it “deplores the spirit and intent” of the e-mails, and considers “any governor’s action that interfered with an individual teacher’s reading assignments to be inappropriate and a violation of academic freedom.”
You’d never guess from the hysterics that the low estimation that Daniels has for Zinn’s work is shared by a swath of distinguished historians. It’s not that they disagree with Zinn or believe he’s too controversial. They think his work is, to borrow the word Daniels used in another email, “crap.”
As Michael Moynihan pointed out in Reason magazine, much of the incoming fire comes from Zinn’s more intellectually credible comrades on the left. Sean Wilentz describes Zinn’s work as “balefully influential.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called him “a polemicist, not a historian.” The New Republic recently ran a review of a biography of Zinn under the headline “Agit-Prof.”
“A People’s History” is a book for high-school students not yet through their Holden Caulfield phase, for professors eager to subject their students to their own ideological enthusiasms, and for celebrities like Matt Damon, who has done so much to publicize it. If it is a revelation to you that we treated Native Americans poorly, and if you believe the Founding Fathers were a bunch of phonies, Zinn’s volume will strike you with the power of a thunderclap. And one day, maybe, you will grow up.
The caterwauling in this controversy about the importance of academic inquiry is particularly rich, given that Zinn didn’t believe in it. He had no use for objectivity and made history a venture in rummaging through the historical record to find whatever was most politically useful, without caring much about strict factual accuracy.
“Knowing history is less about understanding the past than changing the future,” he said. He joined his propagandistic purpose to a moral obtuseness that refused to distinguish between the United States and its enemies, including Nazi Germany.
Daniels was right not to want Indiana school kids to be subjected to Zinn in the classroom (what they choose to read on their own time is another matter), and right to worry that “A People’s History” was part of teacher training. The former governor’s critics are willing to look the other way at Zinn’s transgressions against his own academic discipline; for them, defending a fellow man of the left and shouting “censorship” are more important and congenial pursuits than maintaining standards.
The sin of Mitch Daniels, it turns out, is to take history more seriously than they do.
The problem is that many Americans who did not attend college actually do not know a lot about the genocide committed against the Native Americans. They do think that Christopher Columbus was a hero and "discovered" America. There have been many studies done over the years that prove this. The reason is simple; the standard textbooks from the previous generations omitted certain portions of our history-the parts that are most disturbing. By the way, Google percentage of Americans who believe that man and dinosaurs were around at the same time.
As for Mitch Daniels he is wrong but he is smart enough to know this already. He is doing what he does best; shilling for his superiors as they look to rewrite history (FDR overrated, Herbert Hoover misunderstood, all progressive figures are evil, Reagan was a saint etc etc). Remember when the conservatives were wishing for him to run in the previous election (Charles Krauthammer almost proposed to him on air)? They touted his impressive credentials as the director of management and budget for.......wait for it.....George W. Bush. Its easy to understand why;
In January 2001, Daniels accepted President George W. Bush's invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He served as Director from January 2001 through June 2003. In this role he was also a member of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
During his time as the director of the OMB, Bush referred to him as "the Blade," for his noted acumen at budget cutting. The $2.13 trillion budget Daniels submitted to Congress in 2001 would have made deep cuts in many agencies to accommodate the tax cuts being made, but few of the spending cuts were actually approved by Congress. During Daniels' 29-month tenure in the position, the projected federal budget surplus of $236 billion declined to a $400 billion deficit.
Conservative columnist Ross Douthat stated in a column about Daniels time at OMB that Daniels "carried water, as director of the Office of Management and Budget, for some of the Bush administration’s more egregious budgets." But Douthat, while calling Daniels “America’s Best Governor,” defended Daniels against accusations that Daniels inaccurately assessed the costs of the Iraq war.
In the final days of 2002, when an invasion of Iraq was still a hypothetical question, Daniels told the New York Times that the cost of war with Iraq “could be” in the range of $50 to $60 billion. It was not clear whether Daniels was referring to the cost of a short invasion or a longer war, but he did indicate the administration was budgeting for both. He also described the “back-of-the-envelope” estimate by Bush Economic Advisor Lawrence B. Lindsey that it would cost $100 to $200 billion as much too high. Two days later, after the New Years Holiday, an OMB spokesperson clarified Daniels’ remarks, adding that the $50 to $60 billion figure was not a hard White House estimate and “it is impossible to know what any military campaign would ultimately cost. The only cost estimate we know of in this arena is the Persian Gulf War and that was a $60 billion event".
Three months later, on March 25, 2003, five days after the start of the invasion, President Bush requested $53 billion through an emergency supplemental appropriation to cover operational expenses in Iraq until September 30 of that year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Military operations in Iraq for 2003 cost $46 Billion, less than the amount projected by Daniels and OMB. Douthat and other Daniel’s defenders accuse Daniels' critics of mischaracterizing the six-month supplemental appropriation as a request to fund the entire war.
Between September 2001 and October 2012, lawmakers appropriated about $1.4 trillion for operations in both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan