Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

03/28/2018 Angry Reader

From An Angry Reader:

Mr. Hanson,

About 15 or 20 years ago, I used to read your articles voraciously. I sent them to fellow graduate students—nearly all of whom were overwhelmingly liberal—in order to give them a jolting shot of truth.

That was then, this is now.

I recently took a peek at some of your recent writing. Oh, how different it is!

I expected a man of your background and intellect to be a fierce critic of the current President of the United States. Ancient history is chock full of bombastic demagogues. You know them well. The lessons of history are ripe for the plucking.

However, I have looked over your recent words with profound sadness. I am reminded of the sci-fi thriller, “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It is as if your essence has been sucked into a pod and replaced by an alien being hell-bent on the destruction of our country and our world.

Sincerely,

Jeffery Sult

_______________________________________________

Dear Angry Reader Jeffery Sult,

I have used the body snatcher image as well in the past for both Trump supporters and his critics, so, as you know, the metaphor works both ways: previously normal sober and judicious minds have become unhinged at the very thought of Donald Trump as president. As a result, they have become obsessive and nearly renounced all their prior positions as if contaminated by Trump’s fingerprints upon them: their minds snatched mysteriously as it were by some mysterious alien force.

You mysteriously write, “Perhaps one day you will return to the side of freedom, democracy, and traditional Western values”—a charge which is mystifying. Where have you been the last eight years? Freedom? Obama rejected democratic Israel and reached out to undemocratic Cuba, Nicaragua, and Iran? Do you have any concept of what the IRS, FBI, NSA, FISA courts, and DOJ have been doing? Democracy? Hillary Clinton rigged the DNC nominating process, and perhaps as well the primary debates, and hired a hit dossier with unverified Russian sources, which, with the help of the FBI, DOJ, and FISA courts, was leaked before the election. Western values? Have you read the transcript of Obama’s Cairo speech? Do you know the anti-Westernism of the university campus which unfortunately has become the mother’s milk of the progressive movement? Are you “shocked” as it were in Casablanca style that a smiling Obama photo turns up with the racist, anti-Semitic and very un-Western Louis Farrakhan, a cosponsor of rallies with today’s progressive luminaries?

We do not live in a Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm world, but rather on Election Day a Manichean one of sometimes bad and worse choices. I voted for the alternative to the Clinton syndicate and deep state, and on the side of the deplorables, irredeemables, and the out of work forgotten people in hopes of low unemployment, robust GDP, secure borders, deterrent foreign policy, a strong market, fair trade, and accountability for roguish globalized companies such as those in Silicon Valley that make the 19th-century trusts look tame in comparison. Despite Trump’s melodramas, there has been progress on most of those issues. A Sophoclean Ajax, LeMay, or John Ford’s Ethan Edwards were not necessarily nice people, but then again what they were up against was not nice either, and they were able to address crises that the other more “moral” and “ethnical” retreated from. Life is tragedy, not melodrama. As a professor you should appreciate that. Reread Paradise Lost or the classic Achilles scenes in the Iliad or War As I Knew It to note ambiguity that is central to human nature.

I have written of Trump’s chemotherapeutic nature as well as the cancer it was designed to combat, and the side effects of the therapy upon the public. Try to avoid snap judgements in which someone who agrees with you is saintly and then satanic when they do not.

I too am profoundly sad about your change of heart, but hope that you return to disinterested and empirical thinking because history is full of surprises, in which supposedly tainted messengers have needed messages, and flawed tragic heroes accomplish things that the Achaean hierarchy, the Western town council, or the Joint Chiefs cannot—and often at great cost to themselves.

Sincerely,

Victor Hanson

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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