Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

An Epidemic of Erasures, Redactions, Omissions, and Perjuries

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Imagine the following: The IRS sends you, John Q. Citizen, a letter alleging you have not complied with U.S. tax law. In the next paragraph, the tax agency then informs you that it needs a series of personal and business documents. Indeed, it will be sending agents out to discuss your dilemma and collect the necessary records.

But when the IRS agents arrive, you explain to them that you cannot find about 50 percent of the documents requested, and have no idea whether they even exist. You sigh that both hard copies of pertinent information have unfortunately disappeared and hard drives were mysteriously lost.

You nonchalantly add that you smashed your phone, tablet, and computer with a hammer. You volunteer that, of those documents you do have, you had to cut out, blacken or render unreadable about 30 percent of the contents. After all, you have judged that the redacted material either pertains to superfluous and personal matters such as weddings and yoga, or is of such a sensitive nature that its release would endanger your company or business or perhaps even the country at large.

You also keep silent that you have a number of pertinent documents locked up in a safe hidden in your attic unknown to the IRS. Let them find it, you muse. And when the agents question your unilateral decisions over hours of interrogatories, you remark to them on 245 occasions that you have no memory of your acts—or you simply do not have an answer for them.

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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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