Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From An Angry Reader:

Dear Mr. Hanson,

I just finished your article about Trump’s tweets and it has moved me to ask a question. I was wondering if quite possibly, you’ve lost your mind? You write as if his tweets are harmless and of no consequence when they have caused the North Korean situation to become even more alarming. Furthermore, he insults people left and right for nothing more than disagreeing with him. His actions have not only caused hatred and division in the country but have fractured the Republican party.

 Then there is the tax plan. In the past when corporations have benefited it has rarely been passed down to the working people and the division between the top earners and the average person has gotten wider over the years. Also, as a center-right, I’ve always believed that you need regulations, but the minimum necessary to do the job, not get rid of them completely. So, congratulations, you and the people that feel as you do have convinced me to do what George Will did and declare myself an independent.

 Good work,

Benjamin Hudgins

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Dear Angry Reader Benjamin Hudgins,

What column are your reading?

I think being an Independent is wise. Congratulations!

The whole point of the essay was to point out that tweeting is a powerful tool, often in Trump’s hands effective, but also volatile and now often counter-productive. Do you really believe that in 2017 knowing that the North Koreans for some time have had thermonuclear weapons and the ability to send them into the U.S., and taking all sorts of efforts to stop them, is more dangerous than from 2009-16 simply ignoring what they were doing, or, in the words of former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, believing we could live with North Korean nuclear missiles pointed at us—the official position apparently of the Obama administration? I will prefer loud deterrence any day to judicious appeasement.

Trump certainly is a divider, but he is also a follower—in this case an adherent to “get in their faces,” “punish our enemies,” and “take a gun to a knife fight” us/them rhetoric of Barack “you didn’t earn that!” Obama, whose executive orders became a model for Trump as well as his commentaries on ongoing court cases.

Don’t become a captive of groupthink news: The top professional earners are the most likely to pay more taxes under the new plan. Almost half the country now pays no income tax at all; and the middling brackets who do will pay less. Trump is undoing for the most part the vast regulatory additions of Obama; he could cut thousands of needless regulations and yet the administrative deep state of today would still be vastly bigger than of just 20 years ago. Trump is mostly slowing down the growth of government, not dismantling it, however shrill his opposition.

Consider the role of irony and paradox in affairs and relax: Trump’s agenda is far more conservative than those “conservatives” who despise him; and while we deplore his often ad hominem attacks, he has shown an empathy for the working classes not displayed by more sober and judicious Republican candidates of the past.

Watch out for mellifluous inanity: Obama seemed a president out of central casting—but one who crudely brought a rapper to the White House whose latest cover celebrated rappers toasting a dead judge’s corpse (with eyes x-ed out) pictured on the White House lawn, and whose lyrics celebrated violence against the police. Did you object to that crudity or do you find tweets more jarring?

Or did you object that Obama stealthily exempted the terrorists of Hezbollah from sanctions to push through the Iran Deal, whose side agreements are only now coming to light? If you are worried about presidential excesses, recall the Obama administration’s surveilling of U.S. citizens on the likely basis of the fraudulent Steele dossier or the AP reporters or Fox’s James Rosen, or jailing a minor video maker to serve as a scapegoat for the Benghazi tragedy.

Do not confuse images with reality and consensus with truth.

Good work,

Victor Hanson

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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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