Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From An Angry Reader:

You either drank the cool aid or got a handsome check in the mail. Nonetheless, your argument doesn’t hold water. Not when I talk to people in southwest Virginia whose wells were contaminated by fracking. And throw in the illegal discharge of the brine water back into local streams. A resident showed me the pipe he says the company (look it up) uses in the wee hours of the morning.

The push back to the eventual end to fossil fuels is to be expected, but the end will come. That is something to bank on.

Mike Harton
Midlothian, VA

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Mike Harton,

It is never wise to begin a refutation with an ad hominem attack, a de facto admission of a weak argument.

Fracking is not a zero sum game of evil versus good, as I wrote.

You simply do not appreciate the role of cheaply produced U.S. energy in relation to geostrategic, military, and economic challenges, as natural gas and affordable petroleum can bridge the fossil fuels gap until competitive so-called “green” energy is available.

For each of your anecdotes, I could add and trump you one: the Mexican-American poor in my environs who cannot afford $4 a gallon gas to get 40 miles to work, but now save $1,000 a year due to crashing gas prices, or the enlisted military who feel relieved that the Middle East  and its assorted quagmires are not vital any longer for U.S. energy needs, or the business people who believe cheaper natural-gas generated electricity will lure back high-paying jobs from Asia and Europe in  energy-intensive industries.

We live in a tragic world of 51% advantage always being preferable to 49%. Only the adolescent mind argues that a choice must be perfect to be good. The alternatives to fossil fuel production for now are more Solyndra-like subsidized boondoggles, or the green mandates that spike kilowatt rates and force California’s Central Valley poor to sit in Target and Wal-Mart to cool off, given their inability to afford to run air conditioners in 110 degree heat.

Fossil fuels may well disappear in a few decades; in the meantime, if we can produce our own fuel it will immeasurably aid our middle and poor classes, while giving us latitudes in foreign policy not seen since the 1940s.

By the way, I have never  taken payment from anyone to massage a particular point of view nor have used mind-altering drugs. To suggest those who disagree with you do that is what the psycho-babble industry calls ‘projection’.

Finally, as I write, some members of Congress are investigating various green anti-fracking groups for allegedly receiving “a handsome check” from Putin’s oil interests (that have been nearly wrecked by US frackers) to stop fracking and thereby restore billions of lost foreign exchange to the now anemic Russian economy. Should I accuse you—without evidence—of predicating your anti-fracking stance on Russian money? To do so would be as absurd as what you suggest.

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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