Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Angry Reader 07-31-2020

Hello Professor Hanson,

First let me say, I am a regular reader and viewer of yours. I relish your take on the important issues.

This evening on Tucker Carlson Tonight with Brian Kilmeade 7/16/2020 you used some imprecise language that caused both me and my bride of many years great distress because she is currently teaching and I taught briefly a few years ago.

The subject was Teacher’s Unions demands for among other things defunding the police, Medicare for all, blah blah, and not working until their demands are met. What specifically offended us was the imprecise language you used in saying that it was the Teachers making these demands as opposed to the Teacher’s Unions.

Please differentiate between the Teachers and the Teachers Unions in the future because not all teachers agree with the liberal democrat party line toed by the unions. It sounded to my wife as if you were saying the Teachers were getting paid for not working and want to keep it that way. That is the furthest thing from her mind. She is called to teach and even at a point approaching retirement rather than phone it in, she expends a great deal of imagination and creativity to provide a challenging educational experience for her students daily.

Your attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully,

Joe Cox


Dear Not So Angry Reader Joe Cox,

I think it is permissible in a brief 3- minute interview to reference “teachers,” as a generic in the manner we do “steel workers”, “administrators”, the “military”, etc. without adding specifications—with the understanding that most realize that not everyone fits into that category. But they are useful generalities: most teachers are in liberal unions, at least until recent court cases, and most tend to be more liberal than conservative. Most professors are too. Most auto workers believe in strong union agendas. And most military, at least among the enlisted and mid-officer ranks, are more conservative.

I am a teacher; my son is a teacher; my son-in-law is a teacher; my father was a teacher. All of us at various times were / are represented by teacher or professor unions, and all probably were at odds with the official union messaging, and our views were probably in a minority among their union peers. When I say “academics”, and I do use that term, I assume most think that I am an academic who does not agree with the majority of the profession, and that there exist also voices out there who don’t either. Obviously, if most teachers felt like your spouse, then the unions would reflect that common-sense perspective; but they are overwhelmingly leftwing, either because teachers are too, or because too many teachers shrug and are not interested in showing up for union voting, or do not have time for the hassle of opposing such a monolithic and well-funded force.

Thank you for your well-written and professional note.

Respectfully,

Victor 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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