New Column for The Indianapolis Star: Defending Howard Zinn Against Attack and Censorship

Howard Zinn was an immeasurably important historian who, in his work, activism, and life, persevered with tireless devotion and tough tenacity to expose the crimes of American Empire, honor the victims, and celebrate the heroes – both sung and unsung – who fought for humanity, freedom, and justice against destruction, bigotry, and aggression in their own place and time.

Zinn’s work was profoundly influential on me, and I still consider the education he gave me – even if only through his powerful books – essential to my formation as a writer and thinker.

Howard_Zinn_A_Peoples_History_Of_The_United_States_smA recent controversy cast Howard Zinn’s legacy against Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue University. As Governor, Daniels not only attacked Zinn’s work as “anti-American” (the usual slander) and “crap”, but also worked to remove Zinn’s books from history classroom in state colleges.

I’ve praised Daniels for his intelligence and excellence as manager of Indiana’s economy as Governor, and his implementation of a tuition freeze as president of Purdue. I was disappointed that Daniels decided not to run for President, under the Republican primary, in 2012. His track record of success and achievement in Indiana, along with his moderate positions on social issues and his willingness to cooperate with state Democrats, would have made him a worthy contender for the office of Presidency.

I cannot and will not, however, defend his narrow minded and autocratic move for book banning.

In my new column for the Indianapolis Star“Mitch Daniels Should Have Been More Open about Howard Zinn’s Magnum Opus” – I explain the importance of Zinn’s work and I advocate that more Americans spend some time absorbing it.

Read the column for the rest of my take on Daniels, Zinn, education, and patriotism.

Additional Note: I’d like to thank Truthout for reprinting the article.

New Essay for The Indianapolis Star – The Reason Behind the Cost of Higher Education and The Fight Against It

The Indianapolis Star has run my new essay on the reasons behind the absurd and paralytic costs of higher education. In the op-ed piece, I indict and condemn the venal, corrupt, and cruel system of higher education in America, calling it a “lucrative playground for tenured faculty, many of whom make well over $100,000 per year for teaching two or three courses a semester, and administration, whose mysterious duties and invisible tasks earn some of them annual salaries over $200,000.”

As I explain in the article, multiple studies have connected “administrative bloat” with the exorbitant increases in college tuition. University employees are enriching themselves, while they scam students and their families, and pay adjunct instructors miserly wages for carrying the same work loads as their tenured peers. They pull off the heist all while congratulating themselves for advocating “social justice,” “diversity”, and “multiculturalism.”

The cost of higher education leaves countless young people paying off heavy debts for their entire lives. It has become one of the most important factors in the lives of millions of Americans, yet no major political figure or media commentator tackles the problem. Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue, has broken the trend of complacency, by announcing a tuition freeze and promising to cut the Purdue budget by $40 million. My article summarizes the situation and places the issue in its proper context. I call the Daniels story one of the most important in America.

bildeOn an interesting side note, I pitched the story to several other major publications – news and culture magazines, left wing websites, and right wing websites – but everyone passed. I’d like to thank The Star for its courage in spotlighting the story. It seems that issue of student debt is not yet on the nation’s radar. To put it simply, most people don’t care, but when the student loan bubble pops, everyone will be wondering what happened and why no one tried to stop it. The bleak outlook of the future is why Daniels’ new crusade is so important.