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Angry Reader

From an Angry Reader:

I love the Angry Reader section of your website, particularly your responses. I want to be an Angry Reader and see what you have to say about my valid, thoughtful points so here goes.

How can anyone support Donald Trump (I call him DT because he gives me the dt’s, heh, heh)???

He’s a racist. Look at his cabinet appointments. All white people except token minority Cho and she’s not even Black, Hispanic or Muslim. Carson doesn’t count because he’s an UNCLE TOM.

He’s a masoginist (or whatever it is) because he hates women. Look at his cabinet appointments. All men except token woman Cho. She’s a professional token having been one in a previous REPUBLICIAN ADMINISTRATION a few years ago.

He disrespects the Main Stream Media by using his tweets to go around them and get directly to the PEOPLE. This must be a violation of the 1st Amendment, at a minimum it’s certainly in POOR TASTE!!!

He’s not fit to be President because Obama and Clinton both said so. The New York Times too, I think.

Finally, f{^>\**¥+€ you and the horse you ride on and all other Castro lovers too!!!

I rest my case and await your smarty pants response.

Anonymous

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Really Angry Anonymous Reader,

I think your letter is satire and not serious. But in fairness I’ll answer nonetheless. Even satire has to have some originality; your “DT”/“racist” tropes are not even remotely funny. The shouting capital letters resemble most of the style of our angry readers, so you are either likewise deluded or a bad satirist.

What does “count” mean? Does one count as a minority if he fits some liberal ideology, usually established by an elite whose life does not even remotely match his rhetoric? I was trying to figure out the etymology of your neologism masoginist, but I plead I cannot think up any remote roots other than Greek mastos (breast) or Latin massa (lump) that would give me a clue. Sorry on that.

What is a Republician? Analogous to a conservative physician?

So you are a Trump supporter after all in your (poor) satire about tweeting and the 1st Amendment? Is that confirmed with your digs at Obama and Clinton and The New York Times? And maybe even further confirmed with the obscenity and “Castro lovers”?

I don’t offer “smarty pants” responses to angry readers, but try to take them seriously, more seriously I think than they deserve.

Bottom line: if you are serious, the angry reader letter rates a D-. If you are a Trump supporter, the satire earns a C-. If you are disturbed, then I forgive and pray for your recovery.

Sincerely, VDH


From an Angry Reader:

Clinton lost because of Republican voter suppression, Comey and Russian hacking. Trump is the establishment. He Pence and his appointments will cripple America for years. You should remove your head from Trumps ass. People like you are the problem.

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Repeat Angry Reader Raye Harper,

You cite 3 reasons for Hillary’s electoral loss: 1) yet there is no evidence of voter suppression. The Pew Foundation in 2012 suggested that voter registration is unsupervised and leads to voter fraud. Their drift was probably not focused on golf course-Republicans. The President assured Latinos that there would be no scrutiny of immigration status connected with voting; again, his subtle subtext was not election reassurance to the VFW or NRA to not worry about coming out in force at the polls.

2) Comey was a neutron bomb who radiated everyone: most dramatically acting improperly as a federal attorney in stating Hillary should not be prosecuted, then again improperly that she might be, then again improperly that she wouldn’t be—all predicated on his perceptions of his own political viability and keeping his job amid rising anger in his ranks. Two of the three times, he gave her a favorable nod—but never should have given a single press conference in the first place. AG Loretta Lynch prejudiced her position by meeting stealthily with Bill Clinton, and in response she outsourced Hillary’s case improperly to Comey, who was an investigator, not a prosecutor who weighs investigatory evidence. He should be fired for malpractice.

3) As far as Russian hacking: we have as yet no proof who hacked what. But so far no one has questioned the authenticity of the hacked materials. If Clinton, Inc. had not engaged in surreal machinations like attempts to leverage Haitian relief, or ridiculed Latinos, Catholics, or blacks, or outlined to donors pay for play rules, or not had a stable of fake journalists who weighed in with everything from leaking debate questions to requests for free anti-Trump research, the leaks would have been irrelevant, or merely embarrassing like Colin Powell’s emails, but not incriminating.

Of course, Trump is part of the establishment. That is a banal statement. The mystery is how he appealed to those who are not the establishment that he was their anti-establishment paladin. No candidate in American history has won the presidency without prior political or military experience. He destroyed 16 fine primary candidates, the Bush, Clinton, and Obama dynasties, and brought with him a Republican tsunami—all without much spending, ground game, ads, or political help from the establishment. You need to study how that happened rather than bark at the moon that it did.

We have no exact idea about what the Trump appointments will do; I doubt a Jim Mattis at Defense will cripple anyone other than our enemies. I hope you were as worried about the actual circumstances of so many of Mr. Obama’s departing (and mostly discredited and shamed) appointees at the VA, HHS, NSA, IRS, FBI, EPA, CIA, Labor, Justice, etc. as you are about hypotheticals. Using fake email names at the EPA, screwing up the ACA website and delivery, leaving veterans without adequate care, using tax returns as political leverage or allowing the Secret Service to become Keystone Cops are not small things.

Why the vulgarity? I’m not the problem. If I were, my absence would remedy the problem. Unfortunately America’s dilemma is far more fundamental, in part reflected by a certain sort of zealot, who in rage writes profanity to strangers, rants banalities, and apparently believes that his vulgarity can substitute for an idea. Sadly, it just cannot.

Sincerely, VDH


From an Angry Reader:

Hello Mr Hanson. I read your articles on Townhall.com and have a question on something you wrote in Enemies Of Language. In your article you refer to Nazi Germany as having been “right wing.” This is a question that I have been wanting to pose so many times when reading articles or viewing documentaries on TV. What was it about Nazi government policies in Germany that made it “right wing” rather than left? It seems to me that Nazism was a politically left ideology due to big government control of everything such as industry, one party rule, censorship, anti religion, etc. What are the things you believe made it right wing?

 Rick Bush

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Not So Angry Reader Rick Bush,

Thank you for your reasoned inquiry. I addressed some of this in a prior response to a genuinely angry reader.

National Socialism was an odd hybrid, reflecting both the adjective National and the noun Socialism. In Hitler’s view, socialism in the German context meant more or less what it implied: anti-capitalist screeds, lots of entitlements and government services, infrastructure building, deals for like-sounding corrupt cronies, and government supervised education, recreation, environmentalism, and employment.

But Nazi economics were not so all-inclusive socialist as communism, given that crony capitalists were given concessions to profit and promises from Hitler et al. that they would be free of union strikes and popular pushback. Average Germans for the large part kept their property. There were no confiscations of private wealth on a mass scale other than the nightmarish hounding of Jews and political opponents—unlike the Soviet Union that collectivized almost everything (of course with exceptions for a privileged elite).

But the key was again “National.” Unlike communism and prior universal socialism, Nazism had no claim on universalism: it never sought to unite the workers of the world or to create a socialist global utopia.

Rather, it unapologetically believed that Germans, as Aryans, were a superior race. Like the nationalist and socialist ancient Spartans, there would be mandated privileged equality among most Germans, but based on cruel exploitation of a vast cast of inferiors below.

If socialism is a crackpot dream that the workers of the world will unite across race and geography against universal capitalist exploiters, unhinged National Socialism meant that pure Germans would advance a Third Reich, promoting arms, patriotism, bizarre mythologies about a past supposedly untainted from the very beginning by decadent Romanism, puffed-up fantastical Nordic religion, and a national creed of patriotic, well-armed, and mostly superior people who would naturally excel over lesser others if united by an anti-democratic single tyrant.

In short, I think Hitler and his predecessors were somewhat accurate in calling this hybrid movement of socialism at home and nationalism abroad Nationalsozialismus, and so we are mostly right in calling Nazism, as outsiders in World War II, who had to deal with its foreign policy, as “right-wing,” at least in comparison to Stalin’s left-wing version of mass extermination.

To be pedantic I might have instead better have referred to right-left wing Nazi Germany and a left-right wing Soviet Union, given that the latter was likewise unfree, highly patriotic, militaristic, and followed the cult of a caudillo—along with being a share-the-poverty and hating capitalism dictatorship. Stalin once admired Hitler and vice versa; they saw each other as somewhat similar, especially their shared barbaric means to an end. The difference perhaps ultimately was one of relative degree: Hitler to his enemies was more right-wing, dictatorial and militaristic than socialist, and Stalin was more ruthlessly communist than other right-wing autocrats.

—Victor Davis Hanson


From an Angry Reader:

The new kind of Republican party is part 1930’s Nazi and 1950’s Dixiecrat.

Raye Harper

——————————

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Raye Harper,

Since you assert rather than argue or explain, it is hard to fathom what you are getting at. But in the spirit of the Angry Reader, I’ll give it a shot.

There is a reason why etymology is a valuable pursuit. Seek the root meaning of words and thereby learn. Our English word Nazism derives as an English transliterated abbreviation for the German Nationalsozialismus (“National Socialism”)—Hitler’s effort to combine fanatical nationalism with socialist and anti-capitalist principles.

Take also your “Dixiecrat” (which incidentally was a one-time phenomenon of the election of 1948, and did not reappear as you suggest in the “1950s.”) Note the suffix “-crat” (Greek, kratos, “power/rule”). It was so named in 1948 because it was a derivative of the Democratic Party. It was not called the Dixiepublicans because it had no similarities to the Republican Party.

Ironically, Dixiecrats’ official name (“The States’ Rights Democratic Party”) reflected and championed the idea of federal nullification (in this case school integration), which had been the source of the 1828 (in this case tariffs) and 1860 (in this case slavery) secessionist fervors. How odd, then, that 300 liberal jurisdictions currently are now “Sanctuary Cities” (perhaps better described as “Nullification Cities”) that defy federal immigration in the neo-Confederate spirit. Ask yourself which party, in the spirit of the Dixiecrats, is more likely to excuse race-base segregation, where on-campus “theme houses” or “safe spaces” with impunity discriminate on the basis of superficial appearance. Who is more tolerant of the idea of La Raza (“the Race”), a noun whose pedigree is found in Franco’s fascist Spain and Mussolini’s (as Razza) fascist Italy—Democrats or Republicans?

Is there any need to ask further where the impetus of contemporary anti-Semitism originates? Just walk on any contemporary campus, and visit the free-speech area. Being Jewish and pro-Israel is far more likely to incur left-wing anti-Semites than old-fashioned right-wing ones.

In sum, I don’t see how the present pro-capitalist, pro-federalist, pro-Israel Republican Party can derive from either a foreign imported socialism or an indigenous states’ rights Democratic Party.

Finally, most readers are aware of your insidious liberal trope. In 1980 Reagan was called a Nazi. When he left office, newly-elected George H.W. Bush was the next extremist and suddenly the Left nostalgically called Reagan moderate, given that he was out of power. In 2000 George W. Bush was the new Nazi, and his father reinvented as a moderate in comparison. By 2016 a “new” Republican Party under Trump is now supposedly Nazi-like and W. is now seen as sober and judicious. So the playbook is transparent: assassinate the character of your present adversary by claiming he is an extremist by the standard of his predecessors, whom you of course smeared when they were in power as well.

Bottom line: a lot of incoherence in your short sentence.

Sincerely,

VDH


From an Angry Reader:

She WON the popular vote!!!!!

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Suzanne Williams,

I got your point without the capital letters and the five exclamation marks.

As a general rule the resort to exclamation is a reflection of an absence of argument. Let words speak for themselves—and in your case fail on their own merits.

The Founders created an Electoral College for a reason: to avoid the sort of fickle demagoguery that characterized ancient Athenian democracy and that turns up in chilling scenes in Thucydides and Xenophon, and was thus in depth critiqued by Aristotle and Plato. We follow more instead Roman Republicanism that sought to provide reflection to the pulses of the people before they translated into instant political change. A few additional points:

1) Would you have written this sentence had the opposite occurred: that is, suggesting that Hillary was somehow an illegitimate president because Trump won the popular vote?

2) Do you think that candidates would campaign quite differently had the rules been different? Do you not think that both candidates otherwise might have skipped more sparsely populated swing states to focus on population density? Who knows that outcome?

3) You seem somewhat in a state of denial. The Trump victory was remarkable in ways well beyond his substantial victory in the Electoral College:

 

  1. a) I cannot remember a candidate in modern memory who was bitterly opposed by those in his own party. Trump won despite a dearth of party endorsements, with the hostility of conservative media (Weekly Standard, National Review, many at The Wall Street Journal). The #NeverTrump people shook the Republican Party in a way Bernie Sanders did not the Democratic Party.

 

  1. b) Trump was outspent at somewhere between 3-1 to 2-1 by Hillary: he had few bundlers; his campaign team was much less experienced; he had no ground game in traditional terms; far fewer ads; no real celebrity rallies; etc. Yet he blew up the “blue wall.” Why was that?

 

  1. c) The media hated Trump in a way the Left have never quite matched before. Read WikiLeaks and you can see that both reporters and opinion writers were checking in first with Podesta, Inc. The entire media was corrupt and sought to shape the election by collusion with Hillary and yet all for naught? Why?

4) Unfortunately, Trump was not a fluke: A 2016 red/blue county by county map of the U.S. shows a geographical sea of red (85% of the territory of the U.S.) In sum, Barack Obama destroyed the Democratic Party in just 8 years: Senate lost; House lost; state legislatures and governorships lost (just 6 states have combined Democratic legislatures and governors); 1,000 elected Democrats have lost their offices since Obama took power; the Supreme Court will be conservative at a likely 6-3 or even 7-2 margin for a generation.

It would be wiser to look forward and be introspective: what are liberals doing that is destroying the Democratic Party at state and federal levels? The answers will be more helpful to you rather than suggesting that the U.S. Constitution is at fault.

Sincerely,

VDH


From an Angry Reader:

To Victor Hanson:

f**k all y’all motherf**king f**kers unlubed with a f**king broom handle, you elitist motherf**king uniparty pieces of sh*t.

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Anonymous Foul Reader who mailed from 4m6sm1+2ewjjnl72o2x0@guerrillamail.com,

Even though in cowardly fashion you did not print your name, you did offer a more unique form of profanity than I received from most of your persuasion this election.

No matter, here are five stylistic suggestions, since your letter is otherwise unanswerable.

1) Variatio: the Romans were right that variety in word selection avoids monotony. Your repetition of the f-word does not achieve emphasis, despite your efforts to use the verb, adjective, and noun forms. Ten minutes with Quintilian or Cicero’s rhetoric works would do wonders for your style (easily found in translation on Amazon).

2) Why does the Left so often mix sexual profanity and violence? Your vocabulary is a window into a dark soul. I suggest it is a bad mixture, so pick either sexual violence or profanity, but not both. To suggest is to create, to be ornate is to destroy.

3) What exactly is a “uniparty”? Who belongs to “one-party?” Strive for clarity of thought.

4) What exactly is “elitist?” I thought the charge against Trump supporters was that they were yahoos, not elitists; Red-state Americans voted against elitism. Again, seek some sort of consistency in your ideology; otherwise it is mere street thug vocabulary and adolescent swearing.

5) I’m 63 and have never written a single anonymous letter in my life or used a pseudonym—and have never suffered for it. Try signing your angry letters. At least that way you own your crudity.

Sincerely,

VDH


Comment from an Angry Reader:

I’m sure it was fun exercising your giant brain, but my surprise and I imagine most “liberals” was that enough Americans were willing to vote for what appears to be a sociopath.

 He disqualified himself for me when he openly espoused physical violence against those who disagree with you. Basically the root principle justifying fascism—when the entity being disagreed with is the state.

 No matter what the real Trump turns out to be—even the greatest president that ever was—anyone who voted for him is no better than a Nazi.

 Don’t bother to answer, I don’t give a shit what your rationalization is, or indeed the rationalization of anyone who equates Clinton and Trump as two equally bad choices.

 Richard Waddle

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Richard Waddle,

Are you referring to Trump’s intemperate remarks to protestors disrupting his rallies? I thought that unwise, but we learn post facto that such use of disruption was paid for by operatives in pay of the Democratic National Committee, and the architect of the project was a frequent visitor to the Obama White House. Did that fact, given it was actual, not verbal, disqualify Clinton from being the President, not to mention the current president of the United States?

I would like to have replied to your charge of “fascism,” but you realize that your formulation here is utterly incoherent. What exactly does your half-thought mean: “Basically the root principle justifying fascism—when the entity being disagreed with is the state.” Hieroglyphics or English?

I was wondering when the Nazi charge would come, and was surprised that you held off until half your rant was finished. How exactly is voting for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton—roughly half the country did the same—synonymous with starting World War II and exterminating 6 million in death camps?

And again, you are seriously confused: the statement “No matter what the real Trump turns out to be—even the greatest president that ever was—anyone who voted for him is no better than a Nazi” is internally inconsistent. A president greater than Washington, Lincoln, or Roosevelt obviously is antithetical to Nazism. For example, do you mean to imply that a president who might be greater than the man who warred against and defeated Nazism is a Nazi?

And why so emotional?

Passion without self-control only leaves you confused and adolescent-like. Take you exclamation, “Don’t bother to answer, I don’t give a shit what your rationalization is, or indeed the rationalization of anyone who equates Clinton and Trump as two equally bad choices.”

So you took the trouble to write, but do not wish an answer?

Was the point of this incoherence just to rant rather than to take anti-anxiety medications or to visit a campus safe space lamentation center to pet puppies and play with toys? Note that I never “rationalized” my vote as something equating Clinton and Trump as “two equally bad choices.” They are not. Clinton was worse. Her crimes occurred as a public servant, undermining the idea of equality under the law. Tragically, the Clinton Foundation was run as a veritable crime syndicate that used the cloak of charity to enrich the Clinton family. In contrast, Trump’s excesses were as a private citizen and more rhetorical than factual: what Clinton did is a matter of record; what Trump might do is a matter of conjecture.

After the Nazi smear, I was waiting for the other requisite leftwing trope of obscenity, but again was surprised “sh*t” came so late in your diatribe.

You confirm the old adage the Left loves humanity in the abstract, but does not like people in concrete; in your case, that works out in decrying supposed violence in theory, but in the fact of your writing revealing yourself to be both crude and violent minded to the degree you were occasionally coherent. Quite sad, but also disturbing.

Sincerely, VDH

 


The Angry Phone-caller

“Are you Mr. Hanson? F**k you! F**k Trump!”

Dear (anonymous) Angry Phone-caller,

I did not get a chance to say a word in answer to either your question or exclamations.

But I’m always amazed about the ingenuity of people who can find one’s cell phone number—from retailers to ad men to lost souls like yourself. But seriously, what is it about Donald Trump that drove you to such obscenity—and to such cowardice, since under the guise of a phone call, you waited until I answered, only to shout obscenities and hang up?

Really, I would have taken a minute or two to discuss your “issues”—a venom that we see is acting out in riots and demonstrations (and in blue cities of blue states of all places, rather than out at Ground Zero of Trumpland on the Interstates of Appalachia or southern Ohio), and, more passively, on campuses like my own at Stanford, where adults are reduced to teary infants in need of grief counseling (did such a thing happen in 2008 or 2012 for traumatized conservatives in need of psychological mentoring to assuage their trauma?). Is passive-aggressive cowardice integral to anti-Trump outbursts—ambush obscenity, breaking windows in Liberal Land but not Bismarck or Boise, pouting rather than proud defiance?

In my defense, I don’t think I have ever in some 63 years shouted (even anonymously and by distant phone) “F**k you” to someone, unless when provoked I was prepared to fight. In the Central Valley such epithets are synonymous with fisticuffs and so I never employed them unless I was ready for blows or worse. But how strange the Left is today: it habitually uses the F-word, but also in cowardly fashion seeks shelter in psycho-dramatic counseling. What is the message of the F-word, Jacksonian anger or a weepy retreat to the fetal position, a roaring lion or a teary mouse?

As far as “F**k Trump,” I could only ascertain your gender by your voice (male), not your class, status, ethnicities, race, or religion, so I am not sure in our nation of victims what exactly Trump has done to you or your tribe.

So far he has not said anything like “typical white person,” or told his rallies “to get in their faces” or “to bring a gun to a knife fight.” Did he rouse his supporters against you, on orders “to punish our enemies”? Did he call Latinos “needy” or make fun of the first names of African-Americans or relegate Catholics to little more than medieval nuts?

Did he stereotype blacks as clean or normal speaking as a Joe Biden or Harry Reid? Did he refer to “white Americans” as did Hillary in 2008? Or perhaps you are furious because you think he likes Justice Ginsburg, who quipped once that the right of abortion was at least leading to the aborting of the right sort of babies (e.g., poor and inner city denizens).

Trump has not talked of “them Jews” in the manner of Obama’s spiritual advisor Rev. Wright, or Hillary’s often close political ally Al Sharpton who ranted once about “homos.”

So what is your beef—his economic plan will turn a prosperous Democratic managed inner city into a right-wing moonscape of joblessness? His health care plan will have such high deductibles, premiums, and copays that it will be virtual insurance that never much can be used? That fracking and horizontal drilling will drive gas prices too low? That “the wall” will force lawbreakers here illegally back to their countries of origins without the perpetual right to continue hit and run driving?

Such mystery when a caller shouts eight words only to hang up.

Sincerely,

VDH


Comment from an Angry Reader:

COULD THESE REALLY BE YOUR WORDS?

 “When Trump shoots off his blunderbuss, is it always proof of laziness and ignorance, or is it sometimes generally aimed in the right direction to prompt anxiety and eventual necessary reconsideration?”

 ITS IGNORANCE AND YOU KNOW IT. HAS HE ONCE DESCRIBED DETAILS OF HOW IS GOING TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING CONSERVATIVE??

 “The Clinton Foundation is like no other president-sponsored nonprofit enterprise in recent memory.”

 AT LEAST THE MONEY GOES TO CHARITY

 YOUR MAN TRUMP SPENDS IT ON HIS PORTRAIT

  Larry A. Feig, Ph.D.

Professor

Department of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology

Department of Neuroscience

Tufts University School of Medicine

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Larry Feig,

Beware of using all capital letters; usually they seek to create emphases otherwise lacking in an argument. I read both Clinton’s and Trump’s agendas posted on their websites. Progressives should vote for Clinton, conservatives Trump. On the major issues—debt, taxes, regulation, health care, national security, abortion, climate change, fossil fuels, illegal immigration, etc.—their respective positions are entirely antithetical. One can argue their respective characters do not warrant support, or their flip-flops make both insincere. Perhaps. But their official positions as we head toward Election Day are clear and clearly at odds.

VDH

 


Comment from an Angry Reader:

You’re a civil guy, and it is appreciated. It would be a waste of time, however, for us to engage in colloquy. I can only hope that you are not spared the results of your short-sightedness, and cheerleading for Donald Trump—the word is apt, despite your ‘preference’ in the primaries—that perhaps someone you love takes a bullet along with the countless Mexicans and Muslims who will suffer at his hands along with many of the rest of us. Then, you may be able to feel something like Kipling felt when his own son died in wartime.

 —Kurt Lipschutz

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Kurt Lipschutz,

I have answered your earlier angry letter, but confess that you are not a civil person. As I wrote, I am not a cheerleader for Donald Trump, but concluded that in a world of bad and worse choices Trump is less toxic than is Clinton and the assorted Clinton scandals that come with her. Enforcing border security and ensuring immigration is legal, diverse, and meritocratic is reasonable—despite your macabre suggestions.

You know nothing about the circumstances of Kipling’s remorse over the death of his son in WWI, which is likely because either he had helped his son’s own efforts to lift a medical deferment to serve, or he was angry that the British Army had had plenty of warning of the need to prepare for a looming war with Germany and did not field or lead a suitable army worthy of its soldiers’ sacrifices. And you reach a real low when you suggest that someone close to me should die to convince me to agree with your own particular political positions. Anyone who has a lost a child would find your ill wishes for the murder of one of my loved ones pathological and beneath contempt.

VDH


Comment from a Reader:

Dear Sir,

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

 Sincerely,

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


Comment from a 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.

Sincerely,

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.

 —VDH

 


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”

TRUMP DID NOT TALK CRUDELY ABOUT WOMEN ON THIS TAPE- HE TALKED ABOUT HIS RIGHT AS A CELEBRITY TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT WOMEN!!!

YOUR CONFLATING THE TWO IS UNBELIEVABLE.   IF YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER ASK HER IF SHE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE.

IN DOING SO YOU ENABLE MEN OUT THERE TO DO WHAT HE BRAGS ABOUT. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS?

OH YEH, BEING A REPUBLICAN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ENCOURAGING MEN TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT WOMEN.  SEE HOW YOU FEEL IF YOU, YOUR DAUGHTER OR SISTER IS GRABBED BY THE GENITALIA  AND SOMEONE SAYS WELL TRUMP SAYS ITS OK.

Victor Davis 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.

I 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.

VDH

Selma resident

 


Comment from a Reader:

Maybe you can become his campaign manager now.  That is, if you can get him to sit still long enough for you to explain to him who Bull Halsey is.

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
Your cynicism is noted. But,as you know, Trump refers to Gens. MacArthur and George S. Patton with frequency if not monotony. So your point is that Trump’s knowledge of World War II’s top commanders is incomplete in that he shorts admirals in his similes and allusions?

 


Comment from a Reader:

Dear Mr. Hanson;

I left the Republican Party soon after watching eight years of ineffective “leadership” by Mitch McConnell, John Bohner, and now Paul Ryan. But the tipping point came when Trump was nominated for president. I cannot belong to a political party that would nominate an ignoramus and blowhard who has no interest in America other than how it can enrich him.

Trump has the mentality of a not-very-bright 8 year old. I am sad to witness people like Dennis Prager, Bill Bennett, Ann Coulter, you, and many others I formerly respected who are now in thrall to the unsophisticated and ignorant Trump.

The GOP is finished. Conservatives and those who love and respect our Constitution must form a new organization to push back against institutional Leftism. Trump is the last person we need to lead that movement.

John Nernoff

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

The use of the adjectival phrase “in thrall” has no support in anything I wrote about Trump, my least favorite of the 16 primary alternatives, and reflects poorly on both the reasoning and character of the Angry Reader.  Unfortunately, I live in the real world of 51/49% in which there are usually bad and worse choices. In that context, the specter of a 8-year Clinton continuum to Obama’s two terms is truly frightening. I suggest Mr. Nernoff review the latest Wikileaks trove and then collate it with prior hacked Clinton emails and Foundation business. “Unsophisticated and Ignorant” Hillary certainly is not. But I might prefer in our Manichean world of 2016 unsophistication to unconstitutional criminality and inveterate lying. If you seek monuments to why Hillary should not reach the White House, simply look around you from the carcass of the Middle East to a soon to be nuclear Iran to war drums from North Korea to Moscow—all a topping to a wrecked health care system, $11 trillion in new debt, and the corruption of once hallowed institutions from the IRS to the FBI. There is a 51% great likelihood that a president Trump would bring in far more conservatives than would Hillary Clinton; sometimes that is all we get.

 


Comment on: Is Trump Admiral Bull Halsey of Captain Queeg?

October 4, 2016

So—you tuned in hoping to see “Bull” Halsey? I suppose that was a reasonable expectation if the following propositions were true:

       1. “Bull” Halsey was a draft dodger.

      2. “Bull” Halsey was a cheat.

  1. “Bull” Halsey was a four-flusher.
  1. “Bull” Halsey was an ignoramus.
  1. “Bull” Halsey got his information from “the shows.”

 I could go on—in fact, I could go on and on and on—but I hope you get the point. It’s that I’ve never seen this amount of self-delusion in one place at one time before. The mere act of instituting that comparison means your judgment ranks at zero, now and forever.

 Adios—

 Bob Acker

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Mr. Acker,

I wrote in the column that conservatives—not myself as you write—probably tuned into to see Trump as a Bull Halsey-like character, not as Captain Queeg of The Caine Mutiny. You do not understand the craft of allusion, metaphor, or simile. I suggested that Trump supporters probably thought he would come out in the first debate in speech and candor as aggressive and tough, in the manner that Admiral William “Bull” Halsey often employed tough rhetoric in World War II. Instead, I suggested that Trump’s confused debate performance reminded one of the neurotic fictional character Captain Queeg of the classic movie The Caine Mutiny, who melted down in courtroom rants about the trivial.

You strangely object to that narrow comparison because you seem to think that the life Trump has lived does not match the heroism of Halsey. True, but my limited comparison was to the impulsive Halsey’s combative language, not inclusive relative morality. According to your simplistic logic, Trump commensurately also could not be compared to the neurotic Queeg because Queeg never existed—he was first a fictional and later a cinematic character. So I am also not allowed to note the comparison between Trump and Queeg because it would be unfair to the non-person Queeg: the phantom of literature and film whose made-up life might not have been akin to Trump, the “four-flusher”?

The arrogance and puerility of your angry letter (“It’s that I’ve never seen this amount of self-delusion in one place at one time before. The mere act of instituting that comparison means your judgment ranks at zero, now and forever.”) only add to your utter confusion about comparisons to limited rhetorical characteristics of real and fictional characters.

Finally, if I were to say on occasion that Mitt Romney was Kennedyesque, in some of his better rhetorical moments, would the blinkered Acker then object that the comparison between the morally upright Romney and the dissolute and often abhorrent sexual practices of John F. Kennedy made the narrow rhetorical allusion unfair to Romney?

In sum, the angry letter is utterly incoherent, reminding us that ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination.

VDH


 

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