Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Allegations of Foreign Election Tampering Have Always Rung Hollow

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

 

Blaming foreign influence on an election loss has become a habitual practice for unsuccessful presidential candidates, but such allegations have never rung true.

 

On her current book tour, Hillary Clinton is still blaming the Russians (among others) for her unexpected defeat in last year’s presidential election. She remains sold on a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump successfully colluded with Russian president Vladimir Putin to rig the election in Trump’s favor.

 

But allegations that a president won an election due to foreign collusion have been lodged by losers of elections throughout history. Some of the charges may have had a kernel of truth, but it has never been proven that foreign tampering changed the outcome of an election.

 

In 2012, then-president Barack Obama inadvertently left his mic on during a meeting with outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Obama seemed to be reassuring the Russians that if they would just behave (i.e., give Obama “space”) during his re-election campaign, Obama would have “more flexibility” on Russian demands for the U.S. to drop its plans for an Eastern European missile defense system.
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From an Angry Reader:

Dear VDH,

I faithfully read and enjoy your many commentaries on current events. But surely, as a historian, you should realize that Dred Scott was rightly decided, as I thought even in my youth. Even my reliably left-leaning constitutional-law professor colleague, who was shocked by my condemnation of Wickard v. Filburn, agrees with me on this.

Christopher Boorse

 

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Sort of Angry Reader Christopher Boorse,

Your “left-leaning constitutional-law professor colleague” I fear is sorely mistaken. If one accepts the narrow, amoral proposition that humans can be enslaved, and that chattel slaves are thus mere property of their masters to hunt down as they please, and as, American native-born, they still do not have rights and constitutional protections of citizenship, then I suppose Chief Roger B. Taney’s decision was consistently logical.

But I do not accept any of those legal or moral assumptions, and so cannot accept that slavery can be either legal or moral, or that humans can become the mere property of other humans, or that those born in the United States to others born in the United States are not citizens with legal protections.

The Dred Scott ruling represented the legal gymnastics of an ethically bankrupt mind—and was seen as such within a few years. Taney could easily have overturned Southern-state statutes, by ruling that slavery was an innate denial of the protections offered by the Bill of Rights for those born in the United States, or a violation of the spirit of the Declaration of Independence or that in legal proceedings and punishment slavery violated the cruel and unusual punishment prohibition clause. But he did not and so rightly suffered history’s condemnation.

Victor Hanson

What If South Korea Acted Like North Korea?

By Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

 

If it threatened to destroy its neighbor — China — the neighbor would act.

 

Think of the Korean Peninsula turned upside down.

 

Imagine if there were a South Korean dictatorship that had been in power, as a client of the United States since 1953.

 

Imagine also that contemporary South Korea was not the rich, democratic home of Kia and Samsung. Instead, envision it as an unfree, pre-industrialized and impoverished failed state, much like North Korea.

 

Further envision that the U.S. had delivered financial aid and military assistance to this outlaw regime, which led to Seoul’s possessing several nuclear weapons and a fleet of long-range missiles.

 

Next, picture this rogue South Korean dictatorship serially threatening to incinerate its neighbor, North Korea — and imagine that North Korea was ruled not by the Kim dynasty but by a benign government without nuclear weapons.

 

Also assume that the South Korean dictatorship would periodically promise to wipe out Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. The implicit message to the Chinese would be that the impoverished South Koreans were so crazy that they didn’t care whether they, too, went up in smoke — as long a dozen of their nuclear-tipped missiles could blow up Chinese cities and paralyze the second-largest economy in the world. Assume that these South Korean threats had been going on without consequences for over a decade. Read more →

Diversity Can Spell Trouble

Defining Ideas

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

America is experiencing a diversity and inclusion conundrum—which, in historical terms, has not necessarily been a good thing. Communities are tearing themselves apart over the statues of long-dead Confederate generals. Controversy rages over which slogan—“Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”—is truly racist. Antifa street thugs clash with white supremacists in a major American city. Americans argue over whether the USC equine mascot “Traveler” is racist, given the resemblance of the horse’s name to Robert E. Lee’s mount “Traveller.” Amid all this turmoil, we forget that diversity was always considered a liability in the history of nations—not an asset.

Ancient Greece’s numerous enemies eventually overran the 1,500 city-states because the Greeks were never able to sublimate their parochial, tribal, and ethnic differences to unify under a common Hellenism. The Balkans were always a lethal powder keg due to the region’s vastly different religions and ethnicities where East and West traditionally collided—from Roman and Byzantine times through the Ottoman imperial period to the bloody twentieth century. Such diversity often caused destructive conflicts of ethnic and religious hatred. Europe for centuries did not celebrate the religiously diverse mosaic of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, but instead tore itself apart in a half-millennium of killing and warring that continued into the late twentieth century in places like Northern Ireland. Read more →

Beware of Narratives and Misinformation

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

 

Narratives surrounding the DNC hack & Antifa reveal media bias and government bureaucracy at their worst.

 

U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia was responsible for hacking Democratic National Committee e-mail accounts, leading to the publication of about 20,000 stolen e-mails on WikiLeaks.

 

But that finding was reportedly based largely on the DNC’s strange outsourcing of the investigation to a private cybersecurity firm. Rarely does the victim of a crime first hire a private investigator whose findings later form the basis of government conclusions.

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is many things. But so far he has not been caught lying about the origin of the leaked documents that came into his hands. He has insisted for well over a year that the Russians did not provide him with the DNC e-mails.

 

When it was discovered that the e-mails had been compromised, then–DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz weirdly refused to allow forensic detectives from the FBI to examine the DNC server to probe the evidence of the theft. Why did the FBI accept that refusal? Read more →

A Little DACA Honesty

The Corner- The one and only.  // National Review

By Victor Davis Hanson

It is surreal to look at more than a dozen clips of Barack Obama in non-campaign mode prior to 2012 assuring the country (“I am not king”) that he simply could not usurp the power of the Congress and by fiat illegally issue blanket amnesties in precisely the fashion he would in 2012 — presumably on the assumption that new polls worded along the lines of “would you deport small children brought by their parents to the country as infants” showed a majority of Americans would not.

 

So, on the basis of both short-term gain in 2012 and long-term progressive interest in creating a new demographic reality in swing states in the southwest, Obama eagerly did exactly what he had said that he could not legally do — and not with reluctance, but with the self-righteous zeal of a convert, and in condemnation of anyone morally suspect enough to have agreed with his position prior to his reelection campaign. Such is identity politics. Read more →

09/15/2017

From An Angry Reader:

Angry Reader Sam Davidson

Victor,

I enjoy reading your articles in the National Review. I never understood why this country has statues that honor people that took up arms against the United States. I do not think there are any statues honoring Lord Cornwallis, General Santa Ana, Ludendorf, Tojo, or Hitler. The Confederates were lucky President Johnson was a Southerner and every officer over the rank of captain wasn’t shot. In my opinion this isn’t about slavery or state’s rights, it is about treason.

Best Wishes,

Sam Davidson

________________________

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Kinda Angry Reader Sam Davidson,

To answer you, question why are Confederate statues somewhat different from those of a few monsters you list? Read more →

09/14/2017

From An Angry Reader:

Angry Reader Wes Bridgeman

Dear Mr. Hanson,

My father, Lt. Col. William Bridgeman (Retired), sent me the attached links and quotes that I would like to bring to your attention. This features the words of the figures themselves (Forrest and Lincoln), and I will let them speak for themselves.

Please consider a correction to your recent statements regarding Forrest, whereas he is factually innocent of “founding the KKK.” Forrest was actually a leader in civil rights, despite current dogma.

Thank you in advance,

Wes Bridgeman

________________________

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Wes Bridgeman,

Forrest claimed that he had changed after the war (at a time when he was sick, bankrupt, and in need of commercial opportunities), but I address the issue at length in the chapter on Shiloh in Ripples of Battle; you might revisit that book and my section on Forrest and the Klan and I think you will find that he did in fact, at least stealthily, spearhead its origins.

Thank you,

Victor Hanson

Throwing Away the Russian Card

By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review

The love-hate relation with Putin, from the Obama-era red reset button to the current collusion hysteria, has been a disaster.

“They [the North Koreans] will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe.”— Vladimir Putin, Beijing, China, September 5, 2017

China has put the U.S. into an existential dilemma. Its surrogate North Korea — whose nuclear arsenal is certainly in large part a product of Chinese technology and commercial ties — by any standard of international standing is a failed, fourth-world state. North Korean population, industry, culture, and politics would otherwise warrant very little attention.

Read more →

09/13/17

From An Angry Reader:

Angry Reader Rich Laughlin

 

Mr. Hanson, please try using sentences with less words. Most recently, I read one of your articles that had a sentence with 44 words. Other sentences in the same article were almost as bad. Really.

You are loosing me with those lengthy paragraphs that contain so many examples of organizations, groups, etc., etc. One or two would, in most cases, satisfy the message. And, I find I have to keep a dictionary nearby while reading some of your articles.

Less is good!

 

Rich Laughlin

________________________

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Rich Laughlin,

 

Perhaps I should agree with your Callimachean advice: μέγα βιβλίον μέγα κακόν.

 

Sincerely,

Victor Hanson

(and I do not get paid by the word, so my verbiage would be unprofitable and unnecessary).

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