Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers


From An Angry Reader:

If you publish my letter on your website, it may best be placed in the “Angry Reader” category. I only agree with you 10 percent of the time, but I’m not angry. You are one of the two or three best conservative commentators, in my view.

Three questions and one observation:

1) Who is the currently serving U.S. Representative, Senator or Governor that you most admire?

2) Who is the left-wing writer or commentator that you most respect? (The lefty VDH, if you will.)

3) The most negative word I’ve seen you use to describe the current President is “uncouth”. So, what level of uncouthness would disqualify a man from this office? In other words, if his policies meet your approval, is it “anything goes” for you, in terms of a candidate or office-holder’s personal behavior?

Observation: I’ve noticed that when one of your readers criticizes DJT, you acknowledge the complaint, then quickly pivot to a “Dems/progs are worse” argument. Valid or not, this line of reasoning lends some of your writings a certain repetitive nature, verging on boring.

 Thanks from one who wishes to remain anonymous.


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Anonymous Angry Reader,

Ten percent agreement is better than none. Here are your answers:

1) I admire freshman Senator Tom Cotton and Rep. Devin Nunes.

2) Hmmm—left wing commentator? In terms of traditional Democrats, I think it would be Joel Kotkin and Walter Russell Mead.

3) What uncouth behavior would separate Trump’s message from Trump the messenger to such a degree that I would withdraw support? Perhaps if Trump 1) had sexual relations in the Oval Office bathroom with a young female intern assigned to him, and then lied about it and smeared her; or 2) I learned that Trump approved the sale of 20% of U.S. uranium holdings to Russian interests while in office, even as his wife got huge honoraria from the Russians and his foundation suddenly found itself showered with gifts. If he invites a rapper into the White House whose ankle bracelet goes off, I’ll give him a pass.

Citing an Obama parallel is not the logical fallacy known as “tu quoque” (you too) for two reasons: I do not rely on “Obama (etc.) did worse without media worry” alone, but only employ it to show the uneven current press coverage and the bias inherent in their reporting (80% negative according to the Shorenstein Center)—along with empirical arguments that have nothing to do with comparative culpability.

Well, I have been writing columns since 2001, often more than three a week. So the aggregate is now approaching some 2,500 or more, so some repetition is natural?


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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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