Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From An Angry Reader:

I have heard your act numerous times, mostly on the John Bachelor show, and I find it tiresome.

 

You really need to spend more time on your “idyllic” farm and not venture out into reality.

 

Times change, places change, and people change, but you will not change or cause change.

 

I am a California native, born in San Francisco and raised in Los Altos, so I have seen, firsthand,

 

the decline in California and especially the Bay Area during my 66 years.

 

I cannot argue with many of your observations, but much of what you say is not unique to

 

California.

 

The opioid crisis is but a symptom of a much larger national problem.

 

That problem being that many capable, working age persons have given up on working and are

 

merely leading lives of ignorant dissipation at increasing rates.

 

They have fundamentally given up on life and are just marking time until their sad lives end.

 

The worst part of this death spiral is that there is no end or improvement in sight.

 

No government leaders can come up with a solution to this problem.

 

The U.S. is headed down the road to second class status in the World and there appears no

 

solution or national will to reverse things.

 

Nothing said by you and your ilk will change this. The toothpaste has simply left the tube.

 

Maybe you would do better to adopt my philosophy.

 

That is that I grew up during a golden time in both California and the Bay Area and that no one can

 

take my fond memories away from me.

 

Let the newcomers squabble over the crumbs while I am looking beyond California and what it has become.

 

They will never know what you and I know having grown up in one of the best areas on Earth.

 

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

 

Dear Angry Reader Kevin Curtin,

 

You need to define what you mean by “you and your ilk.” And if you find “it tiresome,” there is no penalty in turning the channel. Otherwise, I find your angry reader note not so angry, but somewhat incoherent. Is your criticism that I fault present leadership, suggest changes, and lament the trajectory of California downward—when I should just accept it and lament the consequences?

 

In a nutshell, massive amounts of unprecedented wealth in a few coastal enclaves—the result of globalization and high-tech Silicon Valley—and epidemic interior poverty (the result of massive illegal immigration and flight of the middle classes out of state) have created two states that are ungovernable as one.

 

Otherwise, I agree we can retreat to the monastery of the mind to remember a lost California that once worked.

 

Victor Davis 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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