Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From A Not So Angry Reader:

Dr. Hanson:

I am a frequent listener to the Classicist. After listening to the episode “A Cold Civil War?” I had a few questions. I do not intend this to be inflammatory, I simply do not want to make assumptions about your beliefs. First, do you believe that approximately three million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election? Second, do you believe that President Obama was born an American citizen?

In the show, you mentioned the varicosity of much of the discourse present today.  I say this not in an attempt change your opinions but rather to provide perspective on the root cause. Much of this stems from different world views. Just as you would be outraged by the oppression an ethnic minority because of their ethnicity. Many people today do not see homosexuality as a choice and therefore see discrimination against them in the same vein as discrimination based on ethnicity. This lens feels applicable to many issues facing society today.

Thank you for your time.




Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Not So Angry Reader John Vincent

Thank you for your reasoned and subtle critique (and without capital letters, obscenity, exclamation points, dots, and ad hominem invective). I shall answer the questions in the order you asked them:

    1. I do not know how many illegal voters cast ballots in 2016, but I believe it may have been a considerable number. Neither Trump nor his critics have ever systematically investigated the controversy. The state of California issues over 800,000 driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, and claims that they are separated from citizen licenses that provide an automatic avenue to voting. I wonder. Nearly two million ballots were issues to deceased voters. The voting rolls are not systematically updated and audited. So yes, I believe improper voting occurs all the time; can you explain how in 2012, 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia recorded zero Romney votes. I find that statistically improbable.


  1. I believe that Obama was born a U.S. citizen. But I think rumors grew from the fact that he seems not to have objected later when his publisher issued a publicity booklet claiming that he was born in Kenya, an untruth which Obama might have not objected to given its multicultural resonance. As one who has provided publishers with book bios and audited the published version on over 24 different occasions, I find the excuse that the author was unaware of the publisher’s mistaken bio ludicrous.


  1. I believe in most cases homosexuality is an inherited trait and biologically determined, though culture and fashion can affect the identity of a small minority who may not feel either consistently female or male. In that sense, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation I think is abjectly wrong and illegal. But that said, I don’t think the current gay political movement is always fueled any longer by a desire to ensure civil rights to homosexuals (that goal has largely been achieved), but rather aims at punishing some, who in private and sometimes for religious reasons, do not feel homosexuality is an inherited trait, but rather a failure of ethics. All Americans are entitled to their private opinions and if they follow the law they should not be forced to conform to a particular world view. I would fight for the rights of a homosexual to be protected under the Constitution and likewise the rights of free expression of the critic of homosexuality who feels that it is a sin. I hope both those views are shared by both gays and non-gays.



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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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