Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

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.

Why Our Universities Have Failed

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Where did Antifa youth rioting in the streets receive their intellectual and ethical bearings? Why are the First and Second Amendments no longer fully operative? How did the general population become nearly ignorant of their Constitution, history, and the hallmarks of their culture? Why do employers no longer equate a bachelor’s degree with competency in oral and written communications, basic computation, and reasoning? How in the 21st century did race and ethnicity come to define who we are rather than become incidental to our individual personas? In answering all these questions, we always seem to return to higher education—the font of much of our contemporary malaise.

The Perfect Storm

A perfect storm of events—many of them reforms with unintended consequences—have conspired to end disinterested education as we once knew it.

The passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971, lowering the voting age to 18—in response to widespread resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War—turned rhetorical campus activism into real progressive block voting. The campuses were no longer just free-speech zones, but woke reservoirs of millions of young voters, a new political and mostly subsidized constituency with clout, to which universities catered.

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Young Leaders Circle With Victor Davis Hanson

Trump Faces a Critical Choice About His Political Future

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Donald Trump is nearing a crossroads.

Those who allege that he has endangered the tradition of smooth presidential transitions by not conceding immediately after the media declared him the loser suffer amnesia.

When Trump was elected in 2016, the Washington establishment lost its collective mind. The top echelon of the FBI and CIA were still spreading a fraudulent Christopher Steele dossier paid for by the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee.

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, President Barack Obama called Vice President Joe Biden, National-Security Adviser Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and FBI director James Comey into the Oval Office. The purpose of the meeting was reportedly to collate progress reports about how best to continue government surveillance of Trump’s designated national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, and thereby disrupt the transition.

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The Rural Way

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls.

Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, expanding to smother half the country — a graphical metaphor for the dominant cultural influence of city over country.

Ideological differences are now being recalibrated as rural-urban on issues from guns and abortion to taxes and foreign policy. Red/conservative is often synonymous with small-town and rural. Blue/progressive is equivalent to urban/suburban.

Gone are the old New Deal Democratic coalitions of New England and the South, or the 19th- and mid-20th-century Republican alliances between the farm belt and the mid-Atlantic states.

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A Time of Chaos Upon Chaos Atop Chaos

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

America will weather its current hysterias. 

But the tensions and furor are reminiscent of the last generations of the Roman Republic. In its last century, Romans began to adjudicate politics by obsequious partisan town criers (their version of our media), mass demonstrations, and freelance street gangs. Looters, arsonists, and demonstrators did pretty much as they pleased in the streets of Rome without fear of legal consequences.

In our time, the media has now vanished—kaput, no more, ended. 

Within a few hours, it goes from a Ministry-of-Truth love session with Joe Biden to a steaming verbal assault on the president’s press secretary—without a shred of awareness how ridiculous they appear in their passive-aggressive schizophrenia. The only constant is that reporters unapologetically seem to jettison their principles and professionalism to calibrate what they say and do by whose politics they support. They would prefer to be entirely discredited under a Biden presidency than be real journalists during a Trump Administration.

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Marching into Georgia, with the Senate in Sight

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The distortions in the campaign and voting that we saw on November 3 will likely be child’s play compared with what will march through Georgia next January.

If recounts don’t change the November 3, 2020, result, the January 5, 2021, Georgia senatorial election becomes a black-swan event like none other in our age.

Incumbent senators rarely have runoff elections. Even if they do, states almost never have two senators up for reelection at once — and never both in runoffs. While control of the Senate has sometimes hinged on the outcome of one senatorial race, rarely has the fate of the nation hinged on two — from the same state.

In January, we will discover whether the Republicans hold the Senate, or whether Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris announce that it is past time to junk many of the very rules by which America makes its rules.

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The Left Politicizes COVID: Irony Abounds

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Where has the coronavirus gone?

Nowhere. The pandemic has gained a second wind, even as it is mysteriously scarcer in post-election headlines. If anything, COVID-19 seems more contagious as cold temperatures arrive, people stay in indoors, and perhaps their vitamin D levels taper off.

Whatever one’s views on the virus — whether it remains an existential threat or, contrarily, prompts overreactive lockdowns that are more harmful and maybe even deadlier than the virus itself — nothing much has changed since Election Day.

Or did viral perceptions suddenly change? The pandemic certainly no longer serves as an election lever to demagogue President Trump as a veritable killer.

States such as California are under a nearly complete lockdown. Draconian measures will abbreviate Thanksgiving gatherings in a way unprecedented in U.S. history. Yet elites such as California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) have violated the quarantines they themselves have endorsed.

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Victor Davis Hanson on the US Election 2020 & Trump’s Prospects | American Thought Leaders

Will Trump Ride Off Into the Sunset?

Victor Davis Hanson // The Patriot Post

I once wrote that whenever Donald Trump exits office, he will likely leave as a “tragic hero.” Over two millennia ago, the Athenian tragedian Sophocles first described the archetype in his portraits of an angry and old but still fearsome Ajax, and heroic but stubborn and self-fixated Antigone.

In the iconic John Ford Western “The Searchers” and in a host of other films from “Shane” to “High Noon,” we have seen stories of these sorts.

The legalistic but impotent town council, the idealistic but outgunned sodbusters or the incompetent posse in desperation turns to unconventional deliverance. They suddenly need a John Wayne as a scary Ethan Edwards, or a mysterious gunslinger like Shane.

But to call in such Manichean outsiders is to admit that the status quo of a sober establishment has failed.

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A new Putin worse than the old Putin?

An article by my Hoover colleague Dr. Paul Gregory in The Hill

Vladimir Putin is mortal. Russia, sooner or later, will have to navigate the transition from his 20-plus years of rule to someone else. It now appears that “sometime” could come as early as January 2021, if ill-health rumors denied by the Kremlin should prove to be true.

But do not be hopeful for a democratic Russia, whenever it happens. Putin’s inner circle would preserve the Putin system even without Putin; Russian voters would have little or no voice in the matter. It would be a process closely “managed” by a coterie of Kremlin insiders. They will not (and cannot) allow a democratic Russia that offers a variety of candidates with different electoral platforms.

The Kremlin has a historical precedent for managed transition — namely, the 1999-2000 transition from President Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin. A key building block of the Yeltsin transition was the grant of immunity from eventual prosecution for the outgoing president and for his family. A second key ingredient was enforcement of the agreement by a credible guarantor. That guarantor happened to be the security services, headed at the time by one Vladimir Putin.

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