Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From an Angry Reader:

Dr. Hanson,

Years ago, especially right after 9 / 11, I enjoyed your essays on NRO. One piece I especially liked was your column, in late 2001, titled (if memory serves), “I’m Glad We’re Not Fighting Us.”

Pardon my brusqueness, but what the hell has happened to you?

You’ve turned into a babbling, incoherent “Trumpkin,” in my view.

Look…President Trump may well turn out to be the worst President in US history. The “word on the street” here in DC is that he might resign by the end of the year. Don’t believe me? Google “Sarah Palin 2009” or check out FiveThirtyEight’s recent article on Vice President Mike Pence.

C’mon, dude…get your intellectual “mojo” back and get off this bizarre Trump idolatry.

You’re way better than that.

Take care,

Daniel Weir

Washington, DC


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Daniel Weir,

Thank you for your angry reader post.

I do not think anything happened to me.

In summer 2016 we were confronted with two candidates. One was more conservative than the other and far more likely to make conservative executive branch and judicial appointments; the other was committed to a four-year extension of the eight years that had seen the debt double, GDP never rise to 3%, zero interest rates, a foreign policy in shambles (Iran deal, Libya bombing, failed reset with Putin, needless withdrawal of peacekeepers from Iraq, ISIS, Chinese aggressions, etc.), and identity politics and racial and ethnic tensions at an all-time high. The result was that the Democrats under Obama lost 1,100 elections, and now are a minority in the state legislatures and governorships, the House, the Senate, and hold neither the presidency nor the Supreme Court.

To quote yourself, “what the hell happened with you” not to see what Obama did to your party? Do you think Pajama Boys, Black Lives Matter, foul-mouthed politicians, a Tom Perez, Kathy Griffin, and Steven Colbert, Occupy Wall Street, and storming campuses are really going to convince those in Flint and Youngstown that Democrats are for the working classes? Those with nasal accents in Silicon Valley and Dupont Circle should not be running a national party, whatever their wealth and connections.

Hillary Clinton, running on her loathing of the “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” and facing a spate of scandals (email server, Clinton Foundation quid pro quos, sweet-heart speaking deals, etc.) assumed she could xerox Barack Obama’s identity politics blueprint; she could not and lost (in the logic of identity politics, she may have been a pandering progressive, but she was still a 69-year-old white woman).

What is hard to understand about that? And given FiveThirtyEight’s record in predicting a sure-thing Trump loss in 2016, why would I believe them or the majority of polls that assured us that Hillary’s “blue wall” was not in danger?

The chances of a Trump resignation are zero; the Republicans have won four straight House special elections. And the Trump agenda on energy production, conservative appointments, restoration of deterrence abroad, deregulation, and immigration reform move ahead. If he gets Obamacare and tax reform, he will be difficult to beat in 2020, should he run.

Again, “pardon my brusqueness [Daniel] but what the hell has happened to you”: after 9/11 you seemed to have been empirical; now you seem to be a captive of your emotions and groupthink.

You are better than that.

Take care,

Victor Hanson

Selma, CA


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About victorhanson

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. He recently published an historical novel The End of Sparta (2012), a realistic retelling of Epaminondas invasion and liberation of Spartan-control Messenia. In The Father of Us All (2011), he collected earlier essays on warfare ancient and modern. His upcoming history The Savior Generals(2013) analyzes how five generals in the history of the West changed the course of battles against all odds. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson, who was the fifth successive generation to live in the same house on his family’s farm, was a full-time orchard and vineyard grower from 1980-1984, before joining the nearby CSU Fresno campus in 1984 to initiate a classical languages program. In 1991, he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given yearly to the country’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin. Hanson has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992-93), a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991-92), a recipient of the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism (2002), an Alexander Onassis Fellow (2001), and was named alumnus of the year of the University of California, Santa Cruz (2002). He was also the visiting Shifrin Professor of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002-3). He received the Manhattan Institute’s Wriston Lectureship in 2004, and the 2006 Nimitz Lectureship in Military History at UC Berkeley in 2006. Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from ancient Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture. He has written or edited 17 books, including Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece (1983; paperback ed. University of California Press, 1998); The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf, 1989; 2d paperback ed. University of California Press, 2000); Hoplites: The Ancient Greek Battle Experience (Routledge, 1991; paperback., 1992); The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization(Free Press, 1995; 2nd paperback ed., University of California Press, 2000);Fields without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea (Free Press, 1996; paperback, Touchstone, 1997; The Bay Area Book reviewers Non-fiction winner for 1996); The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer (Free Press, 2000; a Los Angeles Times Notable book of the year); The Wars of the Ancient Greeks (Cassell, 1999; paperback, 2001); The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999, paperback, Anchor/Vintage, 2000); Carnage and Culture (Doubleday, 2001; Anchor/Vintage, 2002; a New York Times bestseller); An Autumn of War (Anchor/Vintage, 2002); Mexifornia: A State of Becoming (Encounter, 2003),Ripples of Battle (Doubleday, 2003), and Between War and Peace (Random House, 2004). A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, was published by Random House in October 2005. It was named one of the New York Times Notable 100 Books of 2006. Hanson coauthored, with John Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (Free Press, 1998; paperback, Encounter Press, 2000); with Bruce Thornton and John Heath, Bonfire of the Humanities (ISI Books, 2001); and with Heather MacDonald, and Steven Malanga, The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today’s (Ivan Dee 2007). He edited a collection of essays on ancient warfare, Makers of Ancient Strategy (Princeton University Press, 2010). Hanson has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Post, National Review, Washington Times, Commentary, The Washington Post, Claremont Review of Books, American Heritage, New Criterion, Policy Review, Wilson Quarterly, Weekly Standard, Daily Telegraph, and has been interviewed often on National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, Fox News, CNN, and C-Span’s Book TV and In-Depth. He serves on the editorial board of the Military History Quarterly, and City Journal. Since 2001, Hanson has written a weekly column for National Review Online, and in 2004, began his weekly syndicated column for Tribune Media Services. In 2006, he also began thrice-weekly blog for Pajamas Media, Works and Days. Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975, ‘highest honors’ Classics, ‘college honors’, Cowell College), the American School of Classical Studies, Athens (regular member, 1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He divides his time between his forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953, and the Stanford campus.

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