Two seemingly unrelated stories this week came together in my mind:
What do those headlines mean? Well, Howard Zinn was the mendacious professor whose Marxist People's History of the United States is now a principal indoctrination tool of the college Left -- our "progressives" -- in order to turn out the likes of Barack Hussein Obama and other people who think the United States is a malign force that should go around apologizing for itself.
Howard Zinn, who just gave up the ghost, was the Barack Hussein Obama of American historians, at least in the Audacity of his Mendacity. His book has been assigned to tens of millions of students, making him a wealthy man.
Once upon a time, historians used to try to tell the truth. Professor Zinn was more the medieval kind of moral fabulist, whose self-appointed role it was to collect the mortal sins of the people -- or at least the American people -- and turn the entire history of America into one long catechism of grievances. Oh, well...whatever floats your boat.
The trouble is not so much the existence of obsessive grievance-mongers like Howard Zinn as it is his enormous popularity among the towering intellects of the Left and the enthusiastic adoption of him by thousands of mind-molding pseudo-historians on the campuses of America in order to crank out even more thousands of P.C.-washed young minds ready to be guilt-tripped by the national Organs of Propaganda for the rest of their lives. The Democrats then give more money to the campus indoctrination machine so that even more tenured professors can cut and paste more prefab Lefty fantasies onto the brains of their helpless subjects. It's a sort of perpetual motion scheme, except that nothing productive comes out. Howard Zinn industrialized the anti-American propaganda machine, like some colony of national brain parasites living off its host.
The result is visible on all our campuses, where free speech has now gone up in smoke. If you are caught saying a politically incorrect thought out loud, you may find yourself witch-hunted and fired -- just as Larry Summers was driven out of his job by the harridans of Harvard University before Obama picked him up. If they can destroy the president of Harvard for saying an Evil Thought out loud, they can get anybody. That's why they did it -- to scare all the other Incorrect Thinkers at Harvard.
I sometimes talk with friends who teach in such places, and rumor has it that the well-oiled P.C. apparatus is bigger today than ever. Every once in a while, there is another public witch-hunt; the evil non-P.C. meanies are punished or humiliated, or they just leave. Everybody is now thoroughly guilt-tripped, far more than any old-fashioned Catholic peasant going to weekly confession with the parish priest. At least Catholics would receive absolution for their sins. There is no absolution for the sins of whiteness, or maleness, or heterosexuality -- just a lifetime of taxes and mental drudgery.
The Indoctrination Campus is a reactionary and regressive institution, something the Saudi King would love. That is why Islamism is making such strides on the P.C. Campus -- it has exactly the same sort of dogmatic medieval outlook, it's just as historically ignorant, it's just as self-indulgent, and above all, it blames the same "enemy" -- America and the West, which are directly responsible for the prosperity and well-being of their reactionary parasites.
Indoctrination should have no role on a university campus. But the last jihadi suicide bomber to nearly make it to Paradise flying over Detroit was a big man on campus at University College, London, where he headed the Muslim Student Association. Panty-Bomber was a pure product of the modern university, with a little AQ thrown in. He could learn all his basic ideas just by listening to the BBC, and now even bin Laden is blaming the West for...global warming. At his college campus, the Christmas Day bomber certainly learned nothing positive about Western civilization -- such as the idea that we don't wantonly kill innocent men, women, and children for the greater glory of Allah. Somehow he never got that basic point in his expensive education.
We can see from twenty years of global warming fraud in our "educated media" how the most basic principles of science and scholarship have suffered on campus. No one is more ignorant and mentally fixated than the old media gatekeepers. No one has less basic education in science, the humanities, mathematics, or real history. No one is less capable of elementary reasoning. Our media peasants are just as mind-numbed as their millions of placid victims.
Some time ago, David Brooks, the rumored conservative at the New York Times, said that "the educated class" is at odds with the regular folks of the United States -- the vulgar mob, in other words. But Brooks has it exactly backwards, as you might expect from someone who has to spend his waking hours in durance vile on 42nd Street. The "educated class" is just the indoctrinated class today -- the mass of P.C.-whipped, totally predictable minds. If you want to see individualism -- if you want to see courage, creativity, and original thought -- don't look at the college-educated class. They all march in mental lockstep, even as the WaPo marches to the drum and fife corps of those brainiacs at the NYT.
On the P.C. campus, science and scholarship have withered right along with education. I've spent decades trying to teach college students, and I think I can say after all these years that I've never succeeded in educating anyone. Not even one. Occasionally education has been seen to happen in my classes, or at least I would like to believe so. But education always comes from within. Students bring their eagerness to learn with them; you can't make them educated any more than a parent can "grow" a child. People aren't carrots. You can't "grow" them. They either grow due to some fortunate concatenation of circumstances, or they don't. Education happens sometimes, and you can stand by and cheer when you see it, but you can't take the credit. That's why our colleges don't turn out people who are better-educated than their parents who never went to college. The dreary procession of years sitting in a schoolroom does not an education make. College-trained Americans are so easily suckered that most of them voted for the last Democratic candidate for president. Can you believe that? I still can't. The election of 2008 proves the utter failure of our "education" system.
A politically correct campus is incapable of educating students because it suffocates free thought. The kids know that. They get their real education elsewhere, or they just allow themselves to be brain-stomped. Indoctrination is not education. The only kids to be really educated on the P.C. campus are the young conservatives, because all that brainwashing forces them to think for themselves. The others just end up reciting the catechism.
A college student I know boasted that he voted for Obama "because Hillary was just too white." Years of "education" have taught him to be a racist, if even only a reverse racist. For that we have to thank the Howard Zinns of this world. Thank you, Howie, and don't let the door slam on your way out. You left the United States worse than you found it.
If Howard Zinn is reason to despair, horizontal fracking is a reason for hope. H.F. is a wonderful new technology, a genuine step forward in recovering natural gas bubbles embedded in hydrocarbon-bearing shale. It's a way of drilling horizontally into carbon-rich rock and using high-pressure water to dissolve the rock so the natural gas can be collected in trillions of cubic feet.
H.F. is going to save our cookies, even with all the mendacious eco-madness we see from the politically correct meatheads of our media. Natural gas is the cleanest hydrocarbon fuel. It can be utilized for all the same purposes as oil, and it is many times more efficient than the scientifically wacky "green energy" schemes that Barack Obama seems to love. That means that we can manufacture aspirin tablets from it as well as fuel to keep the world alive. And because vast reserves of clean natural gas are available in Canada and the United States, we stand a chance of surviving the mad oil monopoly of the Saudis and the Twelver Suicide Cult in Tehran.
That is honest progress. The Left will never, ever discover anything as wonderful as horizontal fracking. They can't. They are too reactionary, too stuck in the past with old Karl Marx.
All the preening "progressives" are Zinnian reactionaries, and all the engineers, chemists, and honest scientists -- there still are a few left -- are just keeping the world moving toward a happier and healthier future. If only there were some way to drill into the layer of left-wing intellectuals spread over higher education and frack it to release the academic gas trapped therein.