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.

‘Medicare for All’ is as scary as it gets

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill

There is no mystery as to what House Democrats want to do with American medical care. Their intentions are clearly spelled out in House Resolution 676, also known as the “Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act.”

Its sponsors promise to provide “comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents, improved health care delivery, and for other purposes.”

These assurances, as sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and his Democrat colleagues, carry as much weight as President Obama’s promise that you can keep your medical insurance and your doctor under Obama Care.

Only HR676 is much worse: You lose your primary health insurance, you cannot buy supplemental insurance (such as Medicare Advantage), and your medical care provider must be either public or non-profit, operating under the strictures of Washington bureaucrats.

Read the full article here.

Midterm Optics Are Bad for Progressives

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

For progressives, the looming midterm elections apparently should not hinge on a booming economy, a near-record-low unemployment rate, a strong stock market, and unprecedented energy production. Instead, progressives hope that race and gender questions overshadow pocketbook issues.

The media are fixated on another caravan of foreign nationals flowing toward the United States from Central America. More than 5,000 mostly Honduran migrants say they will cross through Mexico. Then they plan to crash the American border, enter the U.S. illegally, claim refugee status, and demand asylum. Once inside the United States, the newcomers will count on a variety of ways to avoid deportation.

This gambit appears mysteriously timed to arrive right before the U.S. midterms — apparently to create empathy and sway voters toward progressive candidates supporting a more relaxed immigration policy.

Open-borders advocates and progressives assume that if border-security officials are forced to detain the intruders and separate parents who broke the law from their children, it will make President Trump and Republican candidates appear cold-hearted and callous.

Read the full article here.

The White-Privilege Tedium

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Why are current monotonous slogans like “white privilege” and “old white men” finally losing their currency?

Who exactly is “white” in a multiracial, intermarried, and integrated society? How do we determine who is a purported victim of racial bias — relative degrees of nonwhite skin color, DNA badges, an ethnicized last name, or nomenclature with two or three accent marks?

The reason that Arab-, Greek-, or Italian-Americans are more likely to be branded or to self-identify as “white” than Brazilian-, Argentinian, Spanish-, or Mexican-Americans doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with appearance or their DNA or their ancestors’ or their own historical experience in America. It has everything to do with the perversities of the devolving diversity industry in which claims to victimization bring greater careerist advantage or at least psychological satisfaction.

The recent farce involving Elizabeth Warren’s “ancestry” has not only probably aborted her presidential aspirations, but — along with the Asian-American lawsuit against Harvard’s admission practices — also reminded us of the growing corruption of race-based set-asides. Warren’s desperate gambit was simply a response to the new reality that minority status often has little relation with appearance. (Many Latinos — a term never adequately defined — look “whiter” than Italian Americans or Greek Americans who have been absorbed as “white” long ago.)

Read the full article here.

Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

If the New Democratic Party was smart, it would do what the old Democratic Party did long ago: always sound centrist if not conservative in the last weeks of a campaign, get elected, then revert to form and pursue a left-wing agenda for a year or two—and then repeat the chameleon cycle every two to four years.

But although many Democrats in Trump states still dance the old bipartisan two-step, lots of blinkered progressive wolves don’t even bother to put on the sheep’s clothing.

Evidently, the new progressive and radical Democratic Party is far more honest—or perhaps far more hubristic—than in the past. So what now looks and sounds like a wolf is a wolf. Democrats have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from 2016. Or rather, they still believe it is 2008 all over again, with a host of wannabe Obamas on the 2020 horizon, all appealing to identity politics, Maenad feminism, and neo-socialism. The hipster theory is that 30 percent of the present electorate will always vote en masse for unapologetic progressives, and that bloc number, due to changing demography and persuasive street theatrics, soon will grow to 50 percent of all voters.

More to the point, the strategy of hating Trump 24/7 and fueling the 90 percent negative media coverage of the president had seemed to be a winning hand—given that Trump has usually below 45 percent approval in most polls, and pundits promised a huge blue wave neutering what certainly would be Trump’s last two years in the White House.

Read the full article here.

Yes, Be Very Worried Over Growing Polarization

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

My Hoover Institution colleague Morris Fiorina has recently written that I am unduly pessimistic in my appraisals of a currently divided America. He cited two essays I wrote, one a Tribune Media Services syndicated column, the other a National Reviewonline essay. Both were published before the recent national hysteria over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

In those essays, I had indicated that the polarization within the United States is growing ominous. Given relatively new force-multipliers—such as the asymmetrical consequences of globalization, the rise of social media and instant global communications, red-blue-state geographical self-selection, the Obama and Trump presidencies, and massive illegal immigration—I suggested that we may be on a dangerous trajectory. In my view, the resulting escalation could exceed the factional differences that were ultimately resolved peacefully in the 1930s and 1960s, and instead might approach those of 1860–61.

Before answering Fiorina’s counter-arguments that I am too gloomy, I first would like to address, sine ira et studio, a few of his initial assumptions. First, he locates our disagreement in my own supposed role as an “active combatant in today’s political wars.” And thus, apparently, my “impressions” should be placed in just that partisan and politicized context. In contrast, Fiorina is self-described as a “data guy” and a “noncombatant.” I take that to mean that the disinterested social scientist Fiorina can better assure us of “grounds for feeling much more sanguine about the state of our country.”

Read the full article here.

US Strategy On China, Great Powers

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

The United States should use a strategy of power, alliances, and triangulation to best navigate the emerging world of “great power” rivalries, Hoover scholar Victor Davis Hanson says.

The post-Cold War global order is in flux with the ascendency of an economically-driven China and its foreign policy of global hegemony, said Hanson in an interview.

Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, studies and writes about the classics and military history. He is the chair of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, which met in early October to discuss whether the United States is entering a new great power landscape. A great power is a sovereign state that exerts influence on a global scale, whether through military, economic, diplomatic or so-called “soft” power methods.

“Calibrated and Planned”

Hanson describes China’s rise as “calibrated and planned” in the areas of economics and national security. As such, this puts the United States and the international system it led after World War II in the crosshairs of an increasingly assertive China, which now has the world’s second largest economy.

Read the full article here.

A Reminder of What Binds Us

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In these divisive times, one constant for all Americans has been the hallowed work of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the small and sometimes unheralded federal agency created in 1923 to establish, operate, and oversee foreign cemeteries of American war dead, largely from the First and Second World Wars, as well as a number of commemorative sites.

I was a board member of the commission in 2008 and learned of its remarkable history and the American icons (John J. Pershing, George C. Marshall, Jacob Devers, Mark Clark, etc.) who have directed the commission. Now, Thomas Conner, the well-known military historian at Hillsdale College, has written the first history and comprehensive account of the commission — War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission — how it originated, grew, and now cares for the graves of American war dead abroad. The result is a superb scholarly account that is riveting and again reminds us how much we owe to past generations, who envisioned and developed the unique commission, and who left to us, the current generation, to continue their sacred work.

Could Trump Win 20 Percent of the African-American Vote in 2020?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The provocative Donald Trump certainly seems to be disliked by a majority of African-American professional athletes, cable-news hosts, academics, and the Congressional Black Caucus. Yet there are subtle but increasing indications that his approval among other African Americans may be reaching historic highs for a modern Republican president.

Some polls have indicated that Trump’s approval rating among black voters is close to 20 percent. That is far higher than the 8 percent of the African-American vote that Trump received on Election Day 2016.

Even 20 percent African-American support for Trump would all but dismantle Democratic-party presidential hopes for 2020. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election with 88 percent of the black vote. That was about a six-point falloff from Barack Obama’s share of the black vote in 2012.

Read the full article here.

World Economic Forum confirms the US is great again under Trump

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2018 World Competitiveness Report ranks the United States No. 1 in global competitiveness, up from No. 3 in the past few years and its first top ranking in a decade. A high ranking matters.

As the WEF reports: “Global competitiveness is determined by the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country … And productivity leads to growth … and improved well-being.” The U.S.’s top ranking therefore suggests a lot of growth and prosperity to come.

According to the Davos elite (who are no fans of Donald Trump), the U.S. is indeed “great again,” to borrow a Trumpian slogan. It is the country, according to the WEF, that should best prosper in Davos’ “fourth industrial revolution.”

As the world’s most innovative economy, America is well positioned to take advantage of the new competitive environment. This should be welcome news for the Trump administration and a Republican Party fighting to retain control of Congress.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 54: Space Force and Warfare in Space

Winning the Space Race

Please read a new essay by my colleague, John Yoo in Strategika.

President Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy set a new course by focusing on rebuilding the domestic economy as central to national security and aiming at “rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth.” Critics observed that the White House seemed to reverse past presidents’ emphasis on advancing democracy and liberal values and elevating American sovereignty over international cooperation.

Read the full article here.


The Space Force’s Value

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Angelo M. Codevilla in Strategika.

Imagine what power would accrue to the nation were its military—on the ground, at sea, and in the air—to be backed by a force able to decide whether or how any other country might benefit from objects in orbital space; if that nation were to control access to orbit, securing such objects and benefits for itself. Today, who can do what to whom in or by using orbital space makes a big difference. The world’s significant militaries live by information from and communications through objects in orbital space. Inevitably, sooner or later, one will bid for the comprehensive capacity to control that space. Better that America be first. Establishing the U.S. Space Force will endow people with the mission—the goal, the will, and the interest—to make U.S. control of space happen.

Read the full article here.


A New Space Service! Hurrah!!

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Williamson Murray in Strategika.

The talk among some commentators on America’s defense, furthered by the comments of the president of the United States, is that America needs a new military service, entirely devoted to wartime and peaceful operations in space. It is a brilliant idea which possesses all sorts of possibilities. What a wonderful opportunity this would present in a time in which entitlements are increasingly siphoning funds away from other federal expenditures. A whole new service, my goodness, the opportunities seem extraordinary!

Read the full article here.

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