Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Angry Reader 04-02-2019

From An Angry Reader:

Dear Mr. Hanson, though your academic accreditations appear substantial, your view of history seems almost deliberately moronic.

I generally don’t like to wade into a debate with an ad hominem; but defending George Bush and his disastrous military policies??

The only rational explanations are intentional distortion or willful ignorance… Sadly, neither liar or moron are nouns that can be softened with a smile. It might explain the odd empathy you have for the narcissist orangutan who currently occupies the oval office.

Allow me to go out on a limb here to suggest that your personal record of military service doesn’t exceed Dubya’s, defending the skies of Texas against the threat of Oklahoma; and was more akin with a pussy grabbing coward who shall remain unnamed.

If you care to give your blustering opinions of military history some authentic depth; you might direct your attention to the works of Major Danny Sjursen.

Unlike the current nattering neocon nabobs, that would have left Agnew hugging a toilet bowl; Sjuren actually risked his life serving his country’s misguided agendas.

I’m not asking you to put yourself in harms way the way Dan did; after all, that’s the job of the “warrior class” that you spineless neocons created.

Instead, run one of his thoughtful narratives alongside one of the steaming turds that you consider edifying prose, to illustrate the stark contrast.

Oh… and feel free to include this in your “angry letters” section; though in truth, I feel less anger for you than stunned embarrassment.

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Angry Reader M. Deuel,

You certainly do your best to score well on the Angry Reader scale.

One trademark of these furious letters has been the resort to the ancient tropes of praeteritio and apophasis, in which the angry reader declares, “I don’t like to…” but then does mostly what he just warned against, as if it is thereby excused. You sadly win still more angry reader points by the stereotypical coarse vocabulary, the usual ad hominem smears, the lack of any solid evidence to support your contentions, the incoherent grammar and syntax, the three-dot pauses, and all those quirks now so familiar to readers of the Angry Reader columns.

I don’t think that readers would mind criticisms and objections, if one just listed them rationally, offered some evidence, and avoided attacking the messenger in lieu of an inability to critique the message.

Unfortunately, a stereotyped characteristic of the angry reader is that the greater the inability to refute an idea dispassionately, the greater the tendency to stoop to the sort of childish invective and schoolyard dirty talk that you display. In 40 years, I have never written a single letter, column, or essay with any of the unfortunate vocabulary or the complete lack of substance that you display here.

Do you really believe that after eschewing the arts of ad hominem invective, you excuse debasing yourself by labeling me a “moron” and “liar,” while critiquing the president as a “narcissistic orangutan”—in lieu of making an argument that his economic record, judicial appointments, energy expansion, foreign policy or efforts to bring the Bill of Rights back to campus are somehow flawed. You might have made a legitimate argument that the staggering deficits cannot go on, or that there is no strategic resolution in Afghanistan or that Trump’s tweets can become “unpresidential.” Instead you wrote the above and thus to no point at all.

Victor Davis 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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