Victor Davis Hanson

Lessons From the Highway of Death

Lessons From the Highway of Death

California State Route 99 is the north-south highway that cuts through the great Central Valley. And it has changed little since the mid-1960s.

A half-century ago, when the state population was about 18 million — not nearly 40 million as it is today — the 99 used to be a high-speed, four-lane marvel. It was a crown jewel in California’s cutting-edge freeway system.

Not now.

The 99 was recently ranked by ValuePenguin (a private consumer research organization) as the deadliest major highway in the nation. Locals who live along its 400-plus miles often go to bed after seeing lurid TV news reports of nocturnal multi-car accidents. Then they wake up to Central Valley radio accounts of morning carnage on the 99.

The 99 is undergoing a $1 billion, multi-decade upgrade to increase its four lanes to six. Promises have been made to build off- and on-ramps in place of haphazard exits and entries from the old days of cross traffic.

In many of the most dangerous southern portions of the 99, huge semi trucks hog two lanes. Speeders weave in and out of traffic. They still try to drive 70 mph in the manner you could 50 years ago when traffic was less clogged. Text-messaging drivers are now even more dangerous than the intoxicated.

The 99 is emblematic of a state in psychological and material decline.
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Comment from an Angry Reader:

Dear Sir,

 Maybe if Trump wins, you can be one of his pet intellectuals, whom he will despise and humiliate.


Kurt Lipschutz


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Lipschutz,

I voted against Trump in the primaries and am on record that he was not among the 5-10 candidates I would have preferred instead in the primaries. As a conservative, I believe his agenda is far preferable to Hillary’s progressivism, and so prefer him over yet another 4 years of uninterrupted Obamism.

I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, and am happy to commute to work at the Hoover Institution 3,000 miles away from Washington. I have never worked in politics and avoid Washington and New York as much as possible. I do not consult with campaigns, do not donate to candidates, do not sign presidential campaign endorsement petitions, am not married to a politico, and have no relatives involved in politics. My only official federal service was in 2007-8 to serve as a board member of the American Battlefield Monuments Commission (the position is unpaid) that oversees the management of cemeteries of our war dead overseas. In all cases, I visited military cemeteries abroad at my own expense.

To follow your curiosity, I suggest instead that you ask other people in the field of opinion journalism whether the same is true. Or inquire of those in opinion journalism who are Hillary supporters and NeverTrumpers specifically whether they are White House visitors, donate to campaigns, off the record consult with candidates, or are related to or married to campaign operatives, media networkers, or politicians. If you need further direction, consult the Podesta trove to calibrate the level of obsequiousness from Washington and New York journalists and editorialists, who either are self-described “hacks” or vowed to run their work past Clinton auditors before publication.

I don’t know whether Trump despises those who fawn over him; but again, I suggest you turn your attention to fact rather than speculation, specifically to intellectuals and journalists who worship Obama, from the Nobel Laureate judges who gave him an unearned award to the Washington toady press corps whom he humiliates daily. Out of politeness I won’t mention all the intellectual grandees who claimed Obama was a “god,” said his pressed pants presaged his greatness, felt tingles in their legs when he spoke, and swore that he was the smartest man to ever enter the presidency—and ask them whether they would say such embarrassing things again.

Sincerely, Victor Davis Hanson

Sanctimony, Inc.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
Time was, leftists complained of rigged elections, the media paid attention to dirty tricks, and conservatives cared more about results than rhetoric.
Donald Trump, in characteristically muddled and haphazard fashion, said he thought the election might end up “rigged” (if he lost). Therefore, he would not endorse the November 8 result if he found that fear confirmed — unless, of course, in Jacksonian fashion, he managed to win.
All hell broke loose, from both the Left and principled conservatives, that Trump’s allegations had somehow undermined the American electoral process itself.
Not likely.

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Comment from an Angry Reader:

Donald Trump’s campaign statements have consisted of proposals including, but not limited to:

 Violation of the NATO treaty by threatening to withhold assistance from allies based on alleged financial discrepancies;

 Ordering the US Military to commit first-degree murder of non-combatant civilians (“take out the families” of suspected terrorists) — a war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions;

 Commandeering private and public property in Iraq; specifically, the seizure of their oil fields, pumping equipment, and crude oil — in other words, “pillaging” of conquered territory, which is another war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions;

 Violation of Amendment One of the Constitution (freedom of the press) – specifically, threatening prosecution against journalists who publish information with which he disagrees;

 Violation of Amendment One (freedom of religion) – specifically, requiring Muslim-Americans to carry identification cards listing their religion;

 Violation of Amendments Five and Six – specifically, trying American Citizens via Military Commissions at Guantanamo, Cuba detention facility;

 Utilizing the Justice Department as a tool of personal vengeance, including the unprecedented and reprehensible threat to jail his opponent if he should be elected.

The above conduct, were Trump to be elected and follow through on these proposals, would comprise a minimum of seven separate, actionable offenses, including Violation of International Law; Breach of Ratified Treaty; Defying the US Constitution; and Abuse of Presidential Power.

This list does not even touch on his not-illegal but nonetheless shocking displays of racism; his slightly oblique (but certainly successful) exhortations to violence at several of his campaign rallies; and his boasting of, and history of, sexual predation upon women.

 A person who votes for a candidate whose campaign rhetoric indicates willingness, even eagerness, to break the law is either insane, hopelessly uneducated, or willingly complicit in the crimes. I’d say that multiple-choice array gives a pretty good clue as to where you stand.

I have long restrained myself from using the “F” word when it comes to a number of the farther-right politicians and commentators in this country, figuring that reasonable minds can disagree.

No more.  Not this time. Not with this candidate, and not when you write something like this:

“… if he were to win, he might usher in the most conservative Congress, presidency, and Supreme Court in nearly a century.”

Knock off the feeble attempts at subterfuge. You don’t mean “conservative,” and we both know it.

You are a fascist. And drowning people in would-be-Buckley word avalanches of self-justification, and hiding behind a variety of fake palliatives like economic arguments does not hide that.

You have no scruples whatsoever to back such a man.

I suggest you consider writing your future columns under the pen name of Philippe Pétain.


Tom Edwards

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Tom Edwards:

 It is always enjoyable to read an unprincipled and emotional leftist rant that suggests the moral high ground as the requisite excuse for descending into the swamp of calling someone a fascist.

 I have many disagreements with both Hillary supporters and NeverTrump Republicans—and Trump himself, but I don’t question their motives: if you prefer a liberal agenda, then by all means vote for Hillary and swallow her criminality; if you find Trump too vulgar and inexperienced, then simply do not vote for him. Neither is a fascist position. Nor is voting for him the lesser of two evils.

 The adolescent angry reader is incapable of such disinterested views.

 He also engages in projection (in the order he presented his “charges”):

Freedom of religion: Trump was quite wrong in his initial statement to ban entry from the war-torn Middle East on the basis of religion (although Christian Middle Easterners are less likely to be ISIS operatives); he was certainly correct, however, to use locale as a criterion (curtail all immigration for everyone from Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc. until we can properly vet applicants). On the topic of religious liberty, remember how the Obama administration sought to force the Catholic “Little Sisters of the Poor” to include a contraceptive clause in their health care plans contrary to their religious beliefs? The Podesta trove, likewise, reminds us how the Left sought to undermine the Catholic Church which it wrote off as medieval. Trump has not predicated relief for the dying (re: Haiti) on a contractor’s past contributions to the Clinton Foundation. He has not horse-traded with the FBI, hoping to have documents reclassified in exchange for space at US embassies abroad.

 On murder: Hillary Clinton (“I don’t recall…”) as Secretary of State according to more than one witness pondered the possibility of droning ( = assassinating) Julian Assange—but only when his Wikileaks project was damaging her own campaign. Barack Obama, remember, joked about droning possible suitors of his daughter. Funny stuff, blowing up someone from above?

On the 1st Amendment: a video maker was jailed by the Obama administration on the trumped up charge of inciting a riot abroad (proven false); AP reporters had their communications tapped by Eric Holder’s Justice Department. It is now apparently banal (Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u”) for journalists to send their stories first to the Clinton campaign to have them approved or for an operative to leak debate questions to the preferred candidate. “Equal Protection Under the Law” has become satire when one compares the criminal prosecutions of high-ranking military officers for leaking sensitive documents, after the Hillary immunity for doing far more damage.

Violation of American citizens’ rights: I think droning an American citizen is a bit harsher than interrogating one at Guantanamo. As far as citizens’ rights, the abuse under Lois Lerner at the IRS was aimed at denying US citizens’ their free speech rights.

Personal vengeance? Does the author remember the bullying tactics of press coordination with the White House of JournoList? The jailing of Dinesh D’Souza? Nakoula Basselely Nakoula?

 The author is incapable of comparing the agendas of the candidates and making comparisons (in this particular election) between their positions on the issues; instead we resort to the subjunctive mood to worry what Trump might do when we know what Clinton has done.

 As far as the other boilerplate: Trump campaign rallies? Maybe I missed the story of the resignation of Trump goons (frequent White House visitors?) who confessed to trying to stage riot and violence at Clinton rallies? I deplore racist language, but remember unfortunately the president’s “typical white person,” and Hillary’s 2008 appeal to “white Americans,” and the Harry Reid/Joe Biden discourse about “clean” blacks without “negro” accents.

 The law? This administration had broken the law with executive orders nullifying current immigration statutes, by allowing 300 entities to declare themselves “sanctuaries” immune from ICE jurisdiction, or to reorder creditors in bankruptcy laws; but that is minor in comparison to subverting the government email system, ranking times for personal appointments by payoffs, or divvying up federal contracts on the basis of donations.

 In sum, the author believes like Hillary Clinton that half of those with whom he disagrees are “deplorables,” and it is just such sanctimoniousness that leads to the sort of constitutional abuse witnessed during the last 8 years and throughout the Wikileaks trove. “Knock off the subterfuge:” you are not liberal-minded, merely confused, sadly uniformed—and strangely quite emotional as well.

 I feel quite sorry for you. I mean that sincerely as well.


Uncommon Knowledge

On Grand Strategy, Immigration, And The 2016 Presidential Election

via Uncommon Knowledge
 Recorded on September 22, 2016

Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson discusses Russia, China, and the danger of American withdrawal from the world stage. In addition, Hanson talks about immigration and assimilation in the United States throughout time. Hanson notes that, when immigrants assimilate and embrace the United States, then immigration works and strengthens us, but that when immigrants seek to separate themselves and reject US values and culture, then immigration becomes detrimental. Hanson ends the interview talking about the 2016 presidential candidates and election.

Link to the video on Hoover:

This Election Year Features More Than One Presidential Race

By Victor Davis Hanson // Town Hall

A presidential campaign is figuratively called a “race.” Two runners sprint toward the Election Day finish line for the prize of the presidency.

But the 2016 presidential campaign has spawned lots of weird races.

The first sprint is one between embarrassments and scandals.

Will another WikiLeaks disclosure confirm that Hillary Clinton is a dishonest and conniving hypocrite? Or will yet another open-mic tape, disgruntled beauty queen or old Howard Stern interview remind us that Donald Trump’s private life was — and perhaps still is — uncouth?

The winner will be the candidate leaked about the least by Election Day.
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Our Neutron Bomb Election

 by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The shells of our institutions maybe survive the 2016 campaign, but they will be mere husks.

The infamous neutron bomb was designed to melt human flesh without damaging infrastructure.

Something like it has blown up lots of people in the 2016 election and left behind empty institutions.

After the current campaign — the maverick Trump candidacy, the Access Hollywood Trump tape, the FBI scandal, the Freedom of Information Act revelations, the WikiLeaks insider scoops on the Clinton campaign, the hacked e-mails, the fraudulent pay-for-play culture of the Clinton Foundation — the nuked political infrastructure may look the same. But almost everyone involved in the election has been neutroned. Read more →

The Case for Trump

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
Conservatives should vote for the Republican nominee. Donald Trump needs a unified Republican party in the homestretch if he is to have any chance left of catching Hillary Clinton — along with winning higher percentages of the college-educated and women than currently support him. But even before the latest revelations from an eleven-year-old Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump crudely talked about women, he had long ago in the primaries gratuitously insulted his more moderate rivals and their supporters. He bragged about his lone-wolf candidacy and claimed that his polls were — and would be — always tremendous — contrary to his present deprecation of them. Is it all that surprising that some in his party and some independents, who felt offended, swear that they will not stoop to vote for him when in extremis he now needs them? Or that party stalwarts protest that they no longer wish to be associated with a malodorous albatross hung around their neck?

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A Postmodern NFL

 by Victor Davis Hanson // The Corner: The one and only.  
In an essay that could come right out of 1984, Washington Post Ministry of Truth writers Drew Harwell and Rick Maese struggle to explain the abrupt erosion of the NFL’s televised audiences. They manage to cite every conceivable longer-term trend, such as saturation of the market, competition from other entertainment, the 2016 political race, and the decline in television viewing in general.
Yet these factors for the most part are familiar, insidious conditions that alone cannot explain this year’s historic and abrupt 15 percent drop in fall ratings.
The unmentioned San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick can.
His fad of ritually trashing the United States has now saturated millions of living rooms. His anti-American tirades and adolescent stage act enraged viewers, even after the refusal to stand for the anthem spread throughout the league without criticism from the NFL hierarchy — odd, given the now fossilized red/white/blue star-studded NFL logo.
What enraged viewers (I, too, turned off football) was mostly the multifaceted hypocrisy of both Kaepernick and the NFL:
a) A multiracial Kaepernick was raised by white suburban parents and is a $20 million–a–year pampered athlete, whose only prior racial editorialization earned him an NFL fine for using the N-word slur (Cura te ipsum), and who had little prior record of philanthropy to the African-American community.

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Angry Reader

Comment from a Reader:

But even before the latest revelations from an eleven-year-old Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump crudely talked about women”





Victor David Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Feig,

Spare me the bottled, adolescent capital-letter piety. The choice for now is between a repulsive-speaking Trump, the blowhard, and Clinton, who, to keep on your topic of sexual assault, chortled over her ability to get a child rapist off with a light sentence (a real, not a rhetorical victim), and who habitually denigrated women who were sexually assaulted by her husband, and whose campaign is being aided on stump by both Al Gore (the “crazed sex poodle” accused of sexual assault in a motel room) and her husband, who was disbarred due to lying about just one of his serial sexual assaults.

Both are flawed candidates, but the election hinges on which of their respective agendas are more likely to lead to greater security, legality and prosperity for most Americans. In that 51/49% world, Trump’s hypothetical agenda is preferable to Clinton’s actual.

Given your sanctimonious sermonizing, ‘how can you not see this’? Hillary Clinton reportedly dreamed of “droning” Julian Assange. In other words, the Secretary of States envisioned assassinating a figure she found dangerous to her campaign. If that is not morally repugnant enough for you, how dare you vote for someone who felt adjudicating contracts for Haitian relief depended on cash contributions (trafficking in lives for money)? I could go on, but you get the contrast from the hypothetical reprehensible in the subjunctive versus the actual past reprehensible in the indicative.

In find your moral blinkers “unbelievable”.

I do not habitually, as your wont, impugn the motives of those like you who will vote for a serial liar, extortionist, criminal, and hypocrite, given I assume that they feel her flaws do not detract enough from her progressive agenda which they favor; so, given the wart on your nose, do not slight the pimple on someone else’s cheek. Finally, what makes you think I am a registered Republican?

I would indeed warn my daughter about a probable sexual grabber like Donald Trump—but especially a sexual assaulter like Al Gore, and a rapist like Bill Clinton—and in particular a legal and emotional enabler of rape like Hillary Clinton.


Selma resident

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