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In search of fixes for a fossilized economy

Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

The U.S. economy grew at an anemic rate of less than 1 percent in the last quarter of 2015.

While the unemployment rate has dipped below 5 percent, the all-important labor force participation rate is at a historic low of just 62.7 percent. More than 90 million able-bodied adults are either not currently in the labor force or have stopped looking for work altogether.

Average household incomes have been mostly stagnant in recent years relative to the rate of inflation. The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 2.2 percent in 2015 and has continued to plummet this year. Most people’s retirement portfolios have been losing money.

Such economic sluggishness, more than seven years after the 2008 financial crisis, was not supposed to happen, given all the traditional economic stimuli.
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America’s Balkan Values

White liberals and black careerists vigorously reject the MLK ideal of a color-blind society.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

The racial spoils industry survives on several requisites.

One, Americans must be readily identifiable as being non-white or white. Two, once non-white claimants pass the racial litmus test, they must think and speak in a particular progressive manner, in dutiful obeisance to those who set up and perpetuate the racial spoils system. And three, racialism must remain defined as a one-way bias.

The problem with the first criterion is multifold. America today truly is a multiracial, intermarried society in which the old rubric “white” no longer equates to “of European descent.” Obama’s racist former minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright appears whiter than many Americans of Mediterranean heritage. Read more →

Hillary and the Suspension of Disbelief

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJMedia

In a September 2007 congressional inquiry about the ongoing surge in Iraq, then Senator Hillary Clinton all but called Gen. David Petraeus a liar. After Petraeus gave a cautiously optimistic—and prescient—appraisal of the growing quiet in Iraq, Clinton curtly dismissed him with the literary term “suspension of disbelief,” which describes the creation of a fantasy world.

hillary_stunnedClinton sarcastically rebutted Petraeus’s quite accurate data with the curt dismissal, “I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.”

But Iraq was no make-believe place. Petraeus went on to quiet Iraq and it stayed that way until President Obama, with eyes on the 2012 election, yanked all peacekeepers out in December 2011—with the full support of Hillary Clinton.

In ironic fashion, Hillary’s own vocabulary best describes her conduct. A “willing suspension of disbelief” most aptly sums up Hillary Clinton’s disastrous 2016 primary campaign, which so far seems more disastrous than her 2008 disastrous campaign.
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The Regrettable Decline of Higher Learning

By Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

What do campus microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, speech codes and censorship have to do with higher learning?

American universities want it both ways. They expect unquestioned subsidized support from the public, but also to operate in a way impossible for anyone else.

Colleges still wear the ancient clothes of higher learning. Latin mottos, caps and gowns, ivy-covered spires and high talk of liberal education reflect a hallowed intellectual tradition.

In fact, today’s campuses mimic ideological boot camps. Tenured professors seek to indoctrinate young people in certain preconceived progressive political agendas. Environmental studies classes are not very open to debating the “settled science” of man-caused, carbon-induced global warming — or the need for immediate and massive government intervention to address it. Grade-conscious and indebted students make the necessary ideological adjustments.
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Lessons From California’s Drought

 By Victor Davis Hanson // Defining Ideas

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

By the end of 2015, it had begun raining and snowing throughout California after fifty months of drought.

Meteorologists had long forecasted that the cyclical return of the so-called El Niño Southern Oscillation—the episodic rise in temperature of a band of ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific—would end the drought.

The warmer Pacific alters winds, air temperature, and atmospheric pressures and thus tends to reroute northern storms to their proper course over the Western United States. If the current storm track persists through March, California’s drought may well come to an end.

Was California changed by the catastrophic drought—and did the country at large learn any lessons from it?
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California of the Dark Ages

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJ Media

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image by EdDriscoll.com

I recently took a few road trips longitudinally and latitudinally across California. The state bears little to no resemblance to what I was born into. In a word, it is now a medieval place of lords and peasants—and few in between. Or rather, as I gazed out on the California Aqueduct, the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Luis Reservoir, I realized we are like the hapless, squatter Greeks of the Dark Ages, who could not figure out who those mythical Mycenaean lords were that built huge projects still standing in their midst, long after Lord Ajax and King Odysseus disappeared into exaggeration and myth. Henry Huntington built the entire Big Creek Hydroelectric Project in the time it took our generation to go to three hearings on a proposed dam.

Forget Trump but Not the Trumpsters

Memo to RNC: Stop ridiculing Trump and look at what voters see in him.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

A disclaimer: Trump is not my preferred candidate. I hope he does not win the Republican nomination. But I understand why millions seem to be mesmerized by his rhetoric.

I certainly wish that Trump would not insult rivals and newspeople in callous and uncouth fashion. I would prefer that he come prepared to interviews, with detailed positions rather than his banal “Make America great again” refrain, so akin to the “Hope and Change” nothingness.

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Either Carry a Big Stick—Or Shut Up!

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJMedia

Photo via Flickr

Photo via Flickr

Western culture is deservedly exceptional. No other tradition has given the individual such security, freedom, and prosperity.

The Athens-Jerusalem mixture of Christian humility (and guilt) and the classical Socratic introspection combined in the West to make it a particularly self-reflective and self-critical society, in a way completely untrue of other traditions.

Unprecedented Western leisure and affluence also have given Europeans and Americans a margin of error, in the sense of the material ability to indulge in ethical critique of themselves without existential danger. Read more →

Obama Administration Needs to Abandon Its Petraeus Obsession

Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

rfrIn politically driven moods, the ancient Romans often wiped from history all mention of a prior hero or celebrity. They called such erasures damnatio memoriae.

The Soviet Union likewise airbrushed away, or “Trotskyized,” all the images of any past kingpin who became politically incorrect.

The Obama administration seems obsessed with doing the same to retired Gen. David Petraeus.

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The New Segregationism

The Oscar nominations have brought a corrosive racial politics to the fore.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
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