Category Archives: American Culture

Obama’s Hazy Sense of History

For the president, belief in historical predetermination substitutes for action.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Ferguson Postmortem

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

The backstory of Ferguson was that out of the millions of arrests each year only about 100 African-American suspects are shot fatally by white police. And yet we were falsely and ad nauseam told that Michael Brown was proof of an epidemic. There may well be an epidemic of blacks killing blacks, of African-Americans engaging in the knock-out game against non-blacks or flash-mobbing stores. But as far as rare interracial gun violence goes, in 2014 it is more commonly black on white. Ferguson is an anomaly that did not warrant hundreds of reporters who gladly skipped the real dramas of a world on the verge of blowing apart as it had in 1939.

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Fanning the Flames in Ferguson

Why do only handful of such tragedies trigger national outrage?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Living Out Critical Legal Theory

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO- The Corner

Revolutionary Justice

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO-The Corner

Photo via Huffington Post

Photo via Huffington Post

Certainly any time in America that an unarmed suspect is fatally shot by a policeman of the opposite race, there is a need for concern and a quick and full inquiry of the circumstances leading to such a deadly use of force. That said, there is something disturbing about the demagogic efforts to rush to judgment in Ferguson, Mo. While it is understandable to deplore the militarization of the police that might accentuate rising tensions on the street, and to note that a mostly white police force might be less sensitive to a majority African-American populace, there is as yet not much evidence that the antithesis — a more relaxed approach to crowd control under the direction of a sensitive African-American law-enforcement official — has so far resulted in an end of the street violence or of the looting of stores. Too little police deterrence can be just as dangerous as too much.

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Our ‘Face in the Crowd’

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Elia Kazan’s classic A Face in the Crowd [2] is a good primer on Barack Obama’s rise and fall. Lonesome Rhodes arises out of nowhere in the 1957 film, romancing the nation as a phony populist [3] who serially spins yarns in the most folksy ways — confident that he should never be held to account. Kazan’s point (in the film Rhodes is a patsy for conservative business interests) is that the “folks” are fickle and prefer to be charmed rather than informed and told the truth. Rhodes’s new first name, Lonesome, resonates in the film in a way that Barack does now [4]. Finally, an open mic captures Rhodes’s true disdain for the people he champions, and his career crashes.

So what is collapsing the presidency of the once mellifluous Obama? It is not the IRS, AP, VA, or NSA scandals. Nor did the nation especially fault him for Benghazi or the complete collapse of U.S. foreign policy, from failed reset to a Middle East afire. In each case, he either blamed Bush or denied there was a smidgeon of wrongdoing on his part.

Certainly, the stampede at the border, as disastrous as it was, did not ipso facto sink Obama’s ratings. Ditto the embarrassing Bergdahl deal, in which we traded a likely deserter for five Islamist kingpins. Was it the ISIS ascendance that is leading to genocide and a nascent caliphate? Not in and of itself.

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The Un-Midas Touch

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Everything that Barack Obama touches seems to turn to dross. Think of it for a minute. He inherited a quiet Iraq [1] (no American combat deaths at all in December 2009 [2]). Joe Biden bragged of the calm that it would be the administration’s“greatest achievement.” [3] But by pulling out all U.S. peacekeepers — mostly for a 2012 reelection talking point [4] — Obama ensured an ISIS wasteland [5]. He put his promised eye on Afghanistan at last, and we have lost more soldiers there than during the Bush administration and a Taliban victory seems likely after more than a decade of lost American blood and treasure. The message seems to be that it is better for Obama to have his eye off something than on it.

Remember those threats to Syria? After the U.S. threatened and backed off, the violence only escalated and spilled into Iraq.

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Sherman at 150

by Victor Davis Hanson // Ricochet

Gen. William T. Sherman, ca. 1864-65. Mathew Brady Collection. (Army)

Gen. William T. Sherman, ca. 1864-65. Mathew Brady Collection. (Army)

One hundred and fifty years ago this September 2, William Tecumseh Sherman took Atlanta after a brilliant campaign through the woods of northern Georgia. While Grant slogged it out against Lee in northern Virginia all through the late spring and summer of 1864—the names of those battles still send chills up our collective spine: Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor — Lincoln’s reelection chances were declared doomed.  All summer, General George McClellan reminded Americans that he had once gotten closer to Richmond than had Grant and at far less cost — and promised that, under his presidency, the war would end with either the South free to create its own nation or to rejoin the Union with slavery intact … but that in either case the terrible internecine bloodletting would end. Then Sherman suddenly took Atlanta (“Atlanta is ours and fairly won.”); McClellan was doomed and the shrinking Confederacy was bisected once again.

What was to be next?  Southerners grew confident that the besieger Sherman would become the besieged in Atlanta after the election, as his long supply lines back to Tennessee would be cut and a number of Confederate forces might converge to keep him locked up behind Confederate lines.

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Obama and the U.N.’s Alternate Universe

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Barack Obama has managed to push American foreign policy into an alternate universe in which everything the human race has learned over the past 2500 years about human nature, aggression, and its deterrence has been stood on its head. He is not solely to blame for this. For 150 years the West had indulged the illusion that human nature is progressing away from our violent past toward a world of reason in which conflict can be resolved and negotiated away without force or the credible threat of force. But Obama and his foreign policy team have completely detached this idea, serially mugged by the violent reality of the last century, from any recognition of morality or even fact. The result is the disastrous decline in American global authority and influence.

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From ‘My People’ to ‘Our People’ — What Next?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online – The Corner

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