Sherman in Gaza

His march through Georgia has been gravely misunderstood ― as has Israel’s strategy in Gaza.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

All Fall Down

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO-The Corner

Page by Antonio Branco - Obama Constitutional Crisis

Page by Antonio Branco – Obama Constitutional Crisis

Consider our dog days of August: An American journalist savagely beheaded on tape, with more promised to come. The Islamic State rampage. The Gaza war and Hamas’s serial truce violations — and the new neutral U.S. stance with implied disruptions in military support for Israel. The implosion of Iraq, the bloodletting in Syria. Iran full speed ahead on enrichment as the world’s attention turns elsewhere. Putin and Ukraine on the edge of war. Libya bombed again. Egypt in turmoil. Christians being wiped away in the Middle East. Ebola spreading in Africa. China squaring off with Japan. Germany angry at being tapped while tapping others. What exactly happened to Private Bergdahl or the five terrorists who were freed for his freedom?

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Fanning the Flames in Ferguson

Why do only handful of such tragedies trigger national outrage?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Nothing to Do With Islam

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

The war against jihadism has been chronically misunderstood because of our failure to acknowledge the religious motives of Muslim jihadists. This failure began in 1979 with the Iranian revolution. Trapped in our Western secularist paradigms, we interpreted the uprising against the Shah as an anti-colonial revolt against a “brutal” autocrat propped up by the West for its own exploitative economic and geostrategic purposes. The aim of the revolution, the argument went, was to create a government more sympathetic to national sovereignty and Western pluralistic government. However, it soon became clear with the political triumph of the Ayatollah Khomeini that the revolution was in the main a religious one, inspired in part by anger at the Shah’s secularization, modernization, and liberalization policies. As Khomeini said in 1962, the Shah’s regime was “fundamentally opposed to Islam itself and the existence of a religious class.”

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Living Out Critical Legal Theory

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO- The Corner

Revolutionary Justice

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO-The Corner

Photo via Huffington Post

Photo via Huffington Post

Certainly any time in America that an unarmed suspect is fatally shot by a policeman of the opposite race, there is a need for concern and a quick and full inquiry of the circumstances leading to such a deadly use of force. That said, there is something disturbing about the demagogic efforts to rush to judgment in Ferguson, Mo. While it is understandable to deplore the militarization of the police that might accentuate rising tensions on the street, and to note that a mostly white police force might be less sensitive to a majority African-American populace, there is as yet not much evidence that the antithesis — a more relaxed approach to crowd control under the direction of a sensitive African-American law-enforcement official — has so far resulted in an end of the street violence or of the looting of stores. Too little police deterrence can be just as dangerous as too much.

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Our ‘Face in the Crowd’

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Elia Kazan’s classic A Face in the Crowd [2] is a good primer on Barack Obama’s rise and fall. Lonesome Rhodes arises out of nowhere in the 1957 film, romancing the nation as a phony populist [3] who serially spins yarns in the most folksy ways — confident that he should never be held to account. Kazan’s point (in the film Rhodes is a patsy for conservative business interests) is that the “folks” are fickle and prefer to be charmed rather than informed and told the truth. Rhodes’s new first name, Lonesome, resonates in the film in a way that Barack does now [4]. Finally, an open mic captures Rhodes’s true disdain for the people he champions, and his career crashes.

So what is collapsing the presidency of the once mellifluous Obama? It is not the IRS, AP, VA, or NSA scandals. Nor did the nation especially fault him for Benghazi or the complete collapse of U.S. foreign policy, from failed reset to a Middle East afire. In each case, he either blamed Bush or denied there was a smidgeon of wrongdoing on his part.

Certainly, the stampede at the border, as disastrous as it was, did not ipso facto sink Obama’s ratings. Ditto the embarrassing Bergdahl deal, in which we traded a likely deserter for five Islamist kingpins. Was it the ISIS ascendance that is leading to genocide and a nascent caliphate? Not in and of itself.

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SMALL LATIN, AND LESS GREEK

Thornton reviews the book Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations, by Mary Beard. New York: Liverwright, 2013, 320 pp., $28.95 hardbound. 

by Bruce S. Thornton // NAS 

This piece originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Academic Questions (Volume 27, Number 3).

Photo via wikicommons

Photo via wikicommons

Once the heart of liberal education, the study of Greek and Latin languages and literatures has unfortunately been reduced to a prestige discipline found mainly in elite universities rich enough to afford the luxury of a classics program. The once universal high school experience of memorizing Latin declensions and reading some Caesar is nearly extinct compared to sixty years ago. These days most people get their knowledge of antiquity from lurid cable television series like Spartacus, or historically dubious movies like Gladiator and the more recent Pompeii. The foundational ideas, ideals, literature, art, and philosophy of the West are increasingly becoming historical curiosities that like Egyptian mummies or Viking long ships are artifacts, detached from the society and the minds of citizens who continue to live off a cultural capital the nature and origins of which they know nothing.

Those expecting an argument in favor of reviving the study of the classics from Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations, Mary Beard’s new collection of book reviews, will find misleading the dust jacket claim that the book shows why the classical tradition “still matters.” In this collection, Beard, a professor of classics at Cambridge University and a regular on British television, is more concerned with the intramural professional disagreements and conflicting interpretations of ancient literature and culture unlikely to be of interest to a larger audience. Very few, if any, of these essays cover the ancient “monuments of unageing intellect,” or the classical “things of beauty” that have delighted and instructed the West for 2700 years. Thus these reviews will “matter” mostly to the few hundred thousand academics and other cultural elites who subscribe to the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement—the publications in which these reviews first appeared, and which have little influence on those outside the parochial Lilliputs of academe.

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On Cyprus, the World Is Silent

Because Turkey is not Israel.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

A Quiet Mediterranean?

An unusual calm for history’s constant cauldron.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

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