Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From An Angry Reader:

Dear Mr. Hanson,

I’m a black Ivy-League educated liberal raised in NC and something in me snapped last week.

Have no fear, I’m still in the liberal camp, but it perturbs me greatly to see all the hoopla over Confederate memorials.

This is so not important on the list of what my community needs or wants. I dare say that this is not even the focus of the blacks of Black Lives Matter. It’s more white liberals looking for a convenient way to make them not racist. How dare they! Charleston was different. THAT CITY was looking to heal after a horrific event and the removal of statues there seemed justified. But let’s face it, a white liberal hates nothing more than to be called racist and after Trump’s crazy remarks last week, they were looking for an easy scapegoat.

I’m a progressive and want better education and health care for all, state-sponsored.

My cheeky idea of dangerous white nationalism is the playground of the PUBLiC school on Greenwich Avenue in NYC, where only white kids play at lunchtime. Imagine, in the most liberal of liberal cities, an all white elementary school.




Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Not Really Angry Reader Warner,

You do not sound like a “black” liberal, but a thoughtful empiricist person for whom race is a second or tertiary consideration. Be careful, once the liberal facade cracks, like Humpty Dumpty it cannot be put back together again. You are on your way to the Enlightenment of judging the world in the manner you see and hear it.

I take it you object to liberal virtue signaling and prefer to judge actions, not rhetoric.

If so, I sympathize with you, because the liberal elite mindset is about symbolic, not real action. It is easy to decapitate statues, not so easy to be a DC grandee politician or reporter and put your children in the public schools rather than in private and often mostly exclusive academies, easy to be Mark Zuckerberg demagoguing a border fence, not so easy to leave his estates unwalled; easy to “celebrate diversity,” but apparently not so easy to prefer living with the “other” of less economic means. So yes, I get your point that kindred liberals are hypocritical.

But erasing the past was not the fault just of “white liberals.” Black liberals were at the forefront too; those calling for the poor USC mascot to be renamed were mostly African-American students. Perhaps the general explanation is that white privileged liberals, whose lives are mostly apartheid in nature, feel guilty, but not so guilty to live the lives they advocate for others. So to assuage guilt and to justify their continued privilege they blame distant, poorer whites for “white privilege” as if minorities at their workplace or at the university will deem them “correct whites” and leave them alone or even praise them.

In general, class is a far better bellwether in 2017. Privilege is predicated on opportunity: a black Ivy League professional has far more opportunities than does a white working-class tire changer in southern Ohio; just as an inner-city African-American lacks the chances of a white or Asian Google techie.

It is past time to forget statue smashing and race mongering and get back to judging people on the basis of character content.



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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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