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Author Archives: 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.

Biden as Paradox

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

It is now conventional punditry that should Joe Biden win in November, his vice president, in 1944-style, will sooner rather than later become president.

Biden, to reboot and secure the identity-politics base, thought he had to discriminate by sex and race in advance by selecting his vice president. But given recent poor performances, Biden’s promise to select a woman or minority or both on the ticket is a wink-and-nod admission that she or he will soon be the real president while on the ballot as vice president.

In 2019–20, Biden had moved hard left to get nominated and more or less renounced all his previous old-style liberal voting record, such as tough sentencing of drug dealers, opposition to court-mandated school busing, opposition to illegal immigration, and support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His contrition over his most recent offensive putdown (“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black”), alongside the nationwide protesting and rioting, will make it even more likely that Biden will select a progressive with the sort of agendas that went nowhere even in liberal Democrat primaries, and will stay nowhere after the rioting.

Yet Biden apparently believes that his dilemmas and personal foibles will soon be turned upside down, and that his weakness somehow will be seen as strength. A limp Biden in seclusion believes he is far more effective than fighting Joe Biden on the stump. And in a strange way, he could be sort of right.

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Victor Davis Hanson: The spreading debt virus — 5 potential cures for $30 trillion problem

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America.

The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a self-inflicted economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression.

Americans may soon have to service a staggering national debt of about $30 trillion — nearly $100,000 of debt for every American.

Democrats and Republicans can blame each other, either for spending too much or for too little taxation, or both. But both sides will agree that managing such an astronomical debt requires several frightening choices. 

One, Americans would be forced to live with permanent near-zero interest rates, or perhaps even negative interest rates.

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The Doctrine of Media Untruth

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

As a general rule, when the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN begin to parrot a narrative, the truth often is found in simply believing just the opposite.

Put another way, the media’s “truth” is a good guide to what is abjectly false. Perhaps we can call the lesson of this valuable service, the media’s inadvertent ability to convey truth by disguising it with transparent bias and falsehood, the “Doctrine of Media Untruth.”

Take the strange case of the respective records of liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Florida counterpart Ron DeSantis. Both states have roughly equal populations, with Florida slightly larger by about 2 million. Both have populations that travel daily back and forth between their respective major cities. Both are major international tourist and travel hubs. Both have widely diverse populations.

Both have large numbers of retirees and long-term-care homes. Yet, New York has suffered 14 times the number of coronavirus deaths as has Florida. Florida is now increasingly open, and on May 19 saw 54 deaths attributed to the virus. That same day, New York was completely locked down and yet saw nearly twice that number at 105 deaths.

One would never know from the media of the contrasting fates of the two states during the epidemic.DeSantis is often rendered little more than a reckless leader who exposed Floridians to needless danger. Cuomo, in contrast, increasingly is deified by the media as likely presidential timber who finesses press conferences in the lively fashion of his legendary beloved father, and iconic liberal, Mario Cuomo.

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The Remains of an Administration

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Each day that the Obama administration fades into the past, its wrongdoings manage to wander back into the present.

After years of suppression, all sorts of strange events keep popping up to remind us of what little is left of the Obama years — the Susan Rice memo, Christopher Steele deleting his computer records, FBI-doctored and lost 302s, text messages wiped clean, the bizarre Obama January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting, the ambush interview of Michael Flynn, the unmasking and leaking of redacted names swept up in reverse-targeting surveillance operations, the administration fraud perpetrated on the FISA courts. The list is so overwhelming and bizarre that it ensures that anything at any time can now appear. And the result keeps reminding Americans of how corrupt were the years between 2009 and 2017 and how untruthful was the coverage of such institutionalized wrongdoing.

Feet of Clay

Emeritus Barack Obama now and then ventures out to go through the motions of an enfeebled defense for what is becoming an increasingly discredited administration. But his heart is not in it. His mind is elsewhere. His cause is no longer social activism and community organizing, if it ever was, but lucre and the perceived well-earned good life. The arc of his moralizing universe is long, but for the anointed like him, it apparently bends toward the just deserts of riches and material bounty.

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Across the Wide, Growing American Divide

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Red- and blue-state America was already divided before the coronavirus epidemic hit. Globalization had enriched the East Coast and West Coast corridors but hollowed out much in between.

The traditional values of small towns and rural counties were increasingly at odds with postmodern lifestyles in the cities.

There were, of course, traditionalists in blue states. And lots of progressives live in red states. But people increasingly self-segregate to where they feel at home and where politics, jobs, and culture reflect their tastes.

The ensuing left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican divide not only intensified in the 21st century, it also took on a dangerous geographical separatism.

The coasts vs. the interior reflects two Americas — often in a manner similar to the old Mason–Dixon line that geographically split the U.S. for roughly a century.

Liberals scoff at the deplorables and irredeemables for embracing an ossified, unchanging 18th-century Constitution. The red-staters supposedly cling to their weird, dangerous habits such as owning guns and opposing abortion, while adhering to paleolithic ideas of small government, secure borders, and don’t-tread-on-me individualism.

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Victor Davis Hanson reacts to Susan Rice email raising new concerns in Flynn case

Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson joins ‘The Daily Briefing.’

Watch the video here

The Arts of Government Criminality

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In the entire 2016–19 efforts to derail the Trump campaign, transition, and presidency, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Steele, and the FBI, Department of Justice, CIA, and other government bureaus have consistently sought to distort reality. Some of our best and brightest have destroyed evidence, altered documents, lied, leaked, and pled amnesia when questioned about their reprehensible conduct. At each stage, they were aided and abetted by a compliant media.

The dissimulation over the past four years has fallen into four rough categories. Here are a few examples of each.

Deletion of Evidence

Christopher Steele, who bragged for years of his meticulous research and whose work has been quoted chapter and verse as proof of Trump wrongdoing, recently testified under oath to a British court that he now has no records of his supposed conversations with “sub source” Russian informants. His lawyers previously had insisted that his sources were “meticulously documented and recorded.” Now Steele sheepishly admits that such an assertion was a lie, given that he can produce no evidence at all for his meticulous allegations. He admits that his emails and documents were wiped clean from his devices by January 2017.

FBI operatives working with the Mueller investigation team admitted that thousands of undisclosed text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page simply disappeared. In addition, the phones of Strzok and Page apparently were wiped clean after Strzok was dismissed from the Mueller team. Most of these mysterious losses, according to the Mueller investigation, were supposedly a result of a software glitch or other computer malfunctions.

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The Left Is What It Once Loathed

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Compare the current progressive view about civil liberties against the old liberal positions of the past.

Surveillance and spying on U.S. citizens? Remember liberal Senator Frank Church of Idaho and his 1975 post-Watergate select Senate investigative committee? It found the CIA, FBI, and NSA improperly over three decades had tapped into the phones of Americans, opened their mail, and worked with telecommunications companies to monitor the data of supposedly suspect politicians, actors, celebrities, and political activists. “Collusion” with the communists and the Russians was often the pretense to surveil American citizens.

Consider Church either a bastion of civil liberties protection or a dangerous firebrand who weakened the CIA and FBI. But the point is that the Left’s position had once mostly been that the government’s unelected deep-state intelligence officers simply had too much power to trust. 

Indeed, the ACLU was outraged at what the committee revealed. Church was deified as a liberal hero uncovering government abuse. About the worst thing a government could do, liberals reminded us, was to spy on its own citizens. 

Then we were also warned that the scandal was the result of the government, for over 30 years, targeting mostly liberals on grounds of trumped-up suspicions that they were sympathetic to Communism in general and the Soviet Union in particular. Yet in addition, the Left argued that the state had no business spying on any American at all, unless it had a certified warrant and ample criminal cause—or we found ourselves in a war with enemies at home among us.

And now?  

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World Health Organization: It’s worse than we think

The following article is from my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill

Walter Duranty, the New York Times’s Moscow correspondent from 1922 to 1936, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his Russian reporting in the early 1930s. Stalin showered him with amenities — cars, luxury apartments, and mistresses — as well as access. In return, Duranty treated Stalin’s Russia with velvet gloves.

In the midst of the 1931-1932 famine that killed millions in Ukraine, one of Duranty’s dispatches declared that “Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.” And, he wrote further: “Weaklings and despondents at home may groan under the burden, but the youth and strength of the Russian people is essentially at one with the Kremlin’s program.”

(Decades later, in 1990, the New York Times acknowledged in a signed editorial that Duranty’s famine coverage was “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper.” The Pulitzer board declined to revoke the award, however.)

This year, an international delegation of the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) visited China from Feb. 16 to Feb. 24 to report on the coronavirus that, by that time, had spread beyond China. Only three weeks earlier, the WHO had finally conceded human-to-human transmission of the virus.

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Victor Davis Hanson: On Flynn Case, Coronavirus Economy, China’s Culpability & Trump 2020 Prospects

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