Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From an Angry Reader:

Hello Dr. Hanson,

While it’s hard to argue with “be happy day by day”, our current form of capitalism – which Hoover seems to endorse – makes that near impossible.

Over the last 30 years, Friedman’s nutty idea of maximizing shareholder value as the only responsibility a corporation has, followed by Jack Welch’s popularizing of that nutty idea (which he later regretted) killed the middle and working class.

And CEO’s are paid not Drucker’s 20x average wages but 335x. Hoover’s free market stance seems ok with all that.

We need a different form of capitalism for your column to make sense.


D Davidson

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader D Davidson,

Thank you for your note. As I look around the word at the plight of the poor—Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Russia—I do not see capitalism as the common denominator of poverty, but rather communism, socialism, statism, and crony capitalism of a sort. Globalization did untold damage to the red-state interior, in that it helped weaken the idea of a nation of common values and citizens and made the global market the final arbiter of social policy.

Are you a Trump voter, given that your letter seems to echo the concerns, for example, as voiced by Steven Bannon at the Vatican not long ago, who called for an enlightened form of capitalism and an end to transnational elite governance? I really do not care what CEOs or the rich make—most like the Google team, Facebook people, Warren Buffet, and Gates, Inc. are leftist billionaires—as long as the middle classes and poor have good jobs, fairly priced housing and the hope that life will be better for their children. That is no longer the case, largely because an elite has decided that overregulation, utopian environmentalism, and creeping statism is good for everyone else but themselves who have the means to navigate around the consequences of their own ideologies.

We need to promote cheap energy, manufacturing jobs, vocational education, and begin to honor professions like farming, mining, timber, and construction rather than relegate them to caricatures and ossified entertainment (e.g., Ax-men, ice truckers, tuna boaters, etc.) on cable reality TV.

I have found among the rich somewhat of a difference between those who ‘made it’ farming, ranching, building, manufacturing, etc. vs. those who made it even more so through speculation, banking and insurance. The former often seems more real in some sense. As you can see I have a prejudice against the metrosexual Pajama Boy elite who profess one way and live quite another, although I confess it is often stereotyped and unfair.


V Hanson

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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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