Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers


From An Angry Reader:

Angry Reader Bob McCarthy

For one who loves to cast aspersions on political incorrectness in the use of words, maybe you should ‘splain to your readers your use of the term “Mexifornia” in decrying the Mexican “takeover” of California, as racist a piece as I’ve ever read. I find it shameful that The Bee chooses to run your right-wing screeds every Sunday. Jim Boren once defended you to me for being “local” as in Selma, as if that gives you special cred. It certainly doesn’t.


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Quite Angry Reader Bob McCarthy,

Why the unhinged anger?

I do not have to “splain” anything to you, given that you clearly have never read the book Mexifornia. It was a call for legal, measured, and diverse immigration, a return to the melting pot of integration, assimilation, and intermarriage, and an immigration solution that would allow those who broke the law but who are employed, have not committed a crime, and have lengthy U.S. residence to apply for a green card and legal residence in exchange for a national policy of enforcing existing immigration law—in other words, the policies embraced by Bill and Hillary Clinton in the 1990s. It championed a unifying multiracialism rather than a separatist multiculturalism. You have no idea of the origins of the word Mexifornia, which is not my own, but one borrowed from a preexisting and common Latino gang reference that was apparently meant to highlight ethnic tribalism.

If you find it “shameful” to read a screed, then simply do not. And I take it that your efforts to contact the editor of the Fresno Bee, who appreciates diverse views, are evidence that you seek to silence a dissenting voice that you find irritating or perhaps even hard to refute.

I do not seek “cred” as you allege by living in Selma, but rather simply stayed in the community in which I was raised. Yet I find it ironic that, both in my immediate family and in the town I live, I am likely to live a much more integrated and multiethnic existence than you do, who are so eager to call others “racist”—a cry-wolf word that has now lost much of its resonance, precisely because of the demagogic usage such as yours.

Again, calm down. I do not know the source of your quite unsteady bitterness and spite but I suggest you a get a grip on yourself to avoid writing any more embarrassing “screeds” like this one. Otherwise you will continue to sound like one of the proverbial retired territorial grouches who from his porch screams incoherence at young strollers who, he alleges, get too close to his manicured turf.


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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