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The regrettable decline of higher learning

By Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

What do campus microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, speech codes and censorship have to do with higher learning?

American universities want it both ways. They expect unquestioned subsidized support from the public, but also to operate in a way impossible for anyone else.

Colleges still wear the ancient clothes of higher learning. Latin mottos, caps and gowns, ivy-covered spires and high talk of liberal education reflect a hallowed intellectual tradition.

In fact, today’s campuses mimic ideological boot camps. Tenured professors seek to indoctrinate young people in certain preconceived progressive political agendas. Environmental studies classes are not very open to debating the “settled science” of man-caused, carbon-induced global warming — or the need for immediate and massive government intervention to address it. Grade-conscious and indebted students make the necessary ideological adjustments.
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Lessons From California’s Drought

 By Victor Davis Hanson // Defining Ideas

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

By the end of 2015, it had begun raining and snowing throughout California after fifty months of drought.

Meteorologists had long forecasted that the cyclical return of the so-called El Niño Southern Oscillation—the episodic rise in temperature of a band of ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific—would end the drought.

The warmer Pacific alters winds, air temperature, and atmospheric pressures and thus tends to reroute northern storms to their proper course over the Western United States. If the current storm track persists through March, California’s drought may well come to an end.

Was California changed by the catastrophic drought—and did the country at large learn any lessons from it?
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California of the Dark Ages

January 31, 2016

I recently took a few road trips longitudinally and latitudinally across California. The state bears little to no resemblance to what I was born into. In a word, it is now a medieval place of lords and peasants—and few in between. Or rather, as I gazed out on the California Aqueduct, the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Luis Reservoir, I realized we are like the hapless, squatter Greeks of the Dark Ages, who could not figure out who those mythical Mycenaean lords were that built huge projects still standing in their midst, long after Lord Ajax and King Odysseus disappeared into exaggeration and myth. Henry Huntington built the entire Big Creek Hydroelectric Project in the time it took our generation to go to three hearings on a proposed dam.

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Forget Trump but Not the Trumpsters

Memo to RNC: Stop ridiculing Trump and look at what voters see in him.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Either Carry a Big Stick—Or Shut Up!

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJMedia

Photo via Flickr

Photo via Flickr

Western culture is deservedly exceptional. No other tradition has given the individual such security, freedom, and prosperity.

The Athens-Jerusalem mixture of Christian humility (and guilt) and the classical Socratic introspection combined in the West to make it a particularly self-reflective and self-critical society, in a way completely untrue of other traditions.

Unprecedented Western leisure and affluence also have given Europeans and Americans a margin of error, in the sense of the material ability to indulge in ethical critique of themselves without existential danger. Read more →

Obama Administration Needs to Abandon Its Petraeus Obsession

Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

rfrIn politically driven moods, the ancient Romans often wiped from history all mention of a prior hero or celebrity. They called such erasures damnatio memoriae.

The Soviet Union likewise airbrushed away, or “Trotskyized,” all the images of any past kingpin who became politically incorrect.

The Obama administration seems obsessed with doing the same to retired Gen. David Petraeus.

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The New Segregationism

The Oscar nominations have brought a corrosive racial politics to the fore.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Still Polarizing after All These Years

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days hosted by PJMedia

Polls confirm that Obama is the most polarizing president in recent memory. There is little middle ground: supporters worship him; detractors in greater number seem to vehemently dislike him. Why then does the president, desperate for some sort of legacy, continue to embrace polarization?

A few hours before delivering that State of the Union, President Obama met with rapper Kendrick Lamar. Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. The song comes from the album To Pimp a Butterfly; the album cover shows a crowd of young African-American men massed in front of the White House. Read more →

The Many Contradictions of Hillary

By Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

admin-ajax2Hillary Clinton recently said she would go after offshore tax “schemes” in the Caribbean. That is a worthy endeavor, given the loss of billions of dollars in U.S. tax revenue.

Yet her husband, Bill Clinton, reportedly made $10 million as an advisor and an occasional partner in the Yucaipa Global Partnership, a fund registered in the Cayman Islands.

Is Ms. Clinton’s implicit argument that she knows offshore tax dodging is unethical because her family has benefitted from it? Does she plan to return millions of dollars of her family’s offshore-generated income? Read more →

The Enigma of Germany

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
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