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.

Cheers,

Warner

 

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.

Cheers,

Victor

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About Victor Davis Hanson

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.

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