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.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Increasingly volatile voters

Victor Davis Hanson // Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Joe Biden and his handlers know that he should be out and about, weighing in daily on the issues of the campaign.

In impromptu interviews, Biden should be offering alternative plans for dealing with the virus, the lockdown, the economic recovery, the violence and the looting, and racial tensions.

Yet Biden’s handlers seem to assume that if he were to leave his basement and fully enter the fray, he could be capable of losing the election in moments of gaffes, lapses or prolonged silences.

So wisely, Team Biden relied on the fact that the commander-in-chief is always blamed for bad news–and there has been plenty of bad news worldwide this year.

That reality was reflected in the spring and early summer polls that showed growing discontent with the incumbent Trump, as if he were solely responsible for one of the most depressing years in U.S. history.

Read the full article here

Silence About the Violence

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

It is not just conservatives at the recent Republican National Convention who wonder why the Democratic Party and its media appendages have not without qualification decried the looting, arson, violence, and occasional killing that have swept the nation’s cities.

Recently even left-wing CNN’s incendiary Don Lemon wondered out loud why Joe Biden and the Democratic powers have not at least tried to square the circle of deploring police overreach while at the same time going through the motions of condemning the utter lawlessness that often breaks out at dusk in Chicago, Portland, and Seattle, and now in smaller cities such as Kenosha, Wis. What Lemon praised in June, he now seems terrified about in August. But for that matter, most retired generals and media anchors who assured us in June that there were only a “small” number of violent protesters have long grown silent after the occupation of Seattle and the Alamo siege of the police precinct in Portland.

This fight of voter backlash about crime has infected the entire Democratic elite — glued to volatile internal polls that do not lie — whether it is Nancy Pelosi’s demanding no debates, Michelle Obama’s obsessing with “Vote! Vote! And Vote!” or Hillary Clinton’s urging Biden to never “under any circumstances” concede the election that apparently she now believes he could well lose.

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Cultural Suicide Is Painless

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In February, New York was the world’s most dynamic metropolis. By August, the city was more like the ruins of Ephesus. It is not all that hard to blow up a culture. You can do it in a summer if you haven’t much worry about others.

When you loot and burn a Target in an hour, it takes months to realize there are no more neighborhood Target-stocked groceries, toilet paper, and Advil to buy this winter.

You can in a night assault the police, spit at them, hope to infect them with the coronavirus, and even burn them alive. But when you call 911 in a few weeks after your car is vandalized, your wallet is stolen, and your spouse is violent, and no one comes, only then do you sense that you earlier were voting for a pre-civilized wilderness.

You can burn down a Burger King in half an hour. But it will take years to find anyone at Burger King, Inc., who would ever be dumb enough to rebuild atop the charred ruins—to prepare for the next round of arson in 2021 or 2023.

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Victor Davis Hanson: The cowards of ‘cancel culture’

Victor Davis Hanson // The Hill

Each generation deals with its own manifestations of age-old mob frenzies, bullying and public shaming. Salem, Mass., had its witch trials in the 1690s. The 1950s endured its McCarthyism. And we now are enduring our “cancel culture.” 

But 21st-century public shaming reaches not thousands but tens of millions. And it does so instantaneously on the internet and on social media — too often, all under the cloak of masked Twitter handles.

Our generation’s bane is a many-headed hydra of doxing, revenge porn and canceling out the careers of public figures. Smears are predicated on the assumption that those targeted will panic; they will apologize and seek penance, reducing themselves to timid careerists and fawning toadies. The aim is electronic Trotskyization — making one disappear from computer screens as if they had never existed.

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson is now the mob’s latest target. 

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Angry Reader 08-30-2020

From An Angry Reader:

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

Angry Reader 08-29-2020

From An Angry Reader:

dang dude you’re racist

Jacob Kovacs-Goodman

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Dear Angry Something or Other Jacob Kovacs-Goodman,

It is not wise to level an ad hominem charge of racism against someone without producing any evidence whatsoever to support your smear. Somehow your slang “dang dude” rings falsely, more likely the affectation or constructed slang of an otherwise neurotic and conflicted elite, than the real anger of someone of the working class.

Victor Davis Hanson

Angry Reader 08-28-2020

From An Angry Reader:

Victor,

So what are you and your powerless conservative “thought leader” ilk going to do about our Revolution?

Keep writing your pathetic articles stating the obvious, keep bloviating on your self satisfied talk shows, keep preaching to your social distanced conservative choir as they sing themselves to sleep.

I hope you feel comfortable in your safe space describing the shock and awe as your country slowly melts away. 

That is why our Revolution will win: we are organized, we are advancing, we are fighting for what we know is our truth, while all you obsolete right wing relics just sit there alone pontificating with your myths.

-Chad

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Dear Angry Reader Chad Abel,

I admire your candor in confessing you at least believe you are a serious revolutionary, whatever that means today in our leisured and affluent society. Your revolutionary comrades have strange tastes, though—storming the Million Dollar Mile in Chicago to grab Gucci trinkets, trying to roast alive working-class police barricaded in a precinct under siege in Portland, toppling or defacing statues of Ulysses S. Grant and Frederick Douglas, or injuring 700 police.

We agree you are “organized,” perhaps “advancing,” and certainly “fighting” against the usually unarmed and vulnerable. But there is nothing “true” about any of you. Your forte is for the mob to kick and injure the elderly, the scared, and the defenseless already on the ground, not to storm into the working-class suburbs or the rural towns of Utah or Texas to take on your apparent natural enemies. You talk glibly, but your revolutionaries are so poorly educated that they deface the World War II monument and the Lincoln Memorial—was your message that Nazism and Japanese fascism or Confederate slave-owning were all preferable to the icons you defaced?

Oddly, you seem to know a great deal about what I write and watch where I appear; but if they provide you such anger to produce a puerile rant like this, then why become so fixated and obsessed? Why not instead write for your followers and go to CNN or MSNBC to share your zeal?

The country is challenged but it is not “melting” away—yet. And you should hope it does not when you are in extremis. Everything you hate is what you depend on: when you need surgery, or antibiotics, or to drive a car, or to use a computer, or to enter a building, or to board a plane, you are ignorantly drawing on the dividends of a sophisticated society that you neither understand nor contribute to, but always come home to when in need.

The “Revolution” is parasitical, from its narcissistic, self-obsessed selfies, to its ridiculous Antifa-chic black garb and fashionable riot gear, to the whiny nasal screams of your comrades when you occasionally spit too much and swear too often in the face of a policeman who decides to push back—sending your comrades into fetal positions screaming about the unfairness of it all.

No, yours is not a revolution, but the bored angst of a pampered class, bored from being locked up in quarantine and in hock for thousands of dollars in student loans for educations that were empty, and angry more at yourselves than your often incoherently targeted enemies.

If you were born a bit earlier, you would be swallowing goldfish, cramming into a telephone booth, or in the mud at Woodstock, because you are bored pranksters and pampered parasites, not revolutionaries.

-Victor

California Apocalypto

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

So we can expect the following from our postmodern state government. There are the now-normal raging wildfires in the coastal and Sierra foothills. And they will be greeted as if they are not characteristic threats of 500 years of settled history, but leveraged as proof of global warming as well as the state’s abject inability to put them out.

When the inept state can’t extinguish them as it has in the past, it suggests that it’s more “natural” to let them burn. Jerry Brown’s team told us that the drought’s toll — millions of dead trees and tens of millions of acres of parched grass and calcified shrubs on hillsides — provided a natural source of food and shelter for bugs and birds and thus need not be grazed or thinned or harvested. And so the wages of drought could be in a sense good for an “ecosystem” that otherwise proved to be green napalm for the people of foothill communities.

We can expect power outages, because we don’t believe in releasing clean heat to make energy. Note that we do not mind people heating up in their 108-degree apartments without power. The planet is always more important than the non-privileged people who inhabit it.

Read the full article here

From DNC Irony to Parody

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

If nothing else, the architects of the 2020 Democratic Convention appeared to be ignorant of irony. Either that, or they know irony so well and cared so little that they wished to ram it down the throats of the few who watched the nightly taped speeches—as if to say, “We’re hypocrites and proud of it—and what are you going to do about it?”

It all reminded me of China’s now-defiant implicit response to its Wuhan lab virus, “Yeah it started here. And yeah we spread it. And yeah, we—the world’s premier racists and xenophobes—called you racists and xenophobes. And yeah, we let the coronavirus get loose, and blamed you for inventing it. So exactly what are you going to do about it?”

There is one rule that should guide all of Bill Clinton’s post-presidential speeches. He must never use the word “Oval Office” in reference to its ethical or professional requirements during his own tenure. The second he does, the natural response is to equate that hallowed location with the scene of his tawdry sexual escapades with a young intern—what the Left under other circumstances would call, at best, a “power imbalance” or “a hostile workplace climate,” and at worst sexual assault, full stop.

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Is Putin getting away with poisoning another political opponent?

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

Aleksei Navalny, the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation headquartered in Moscow, is one of the last-standing political opponents of Vladimir Putin. His tightly researched, well-documented reports on the corruption of high-level Kremlin officials have been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side. Not only that, but Navalny has engaged in regional and local politics in a manner that could diminish Putin’s control over the vast Russian Federation.

The morning of Aug. 20, Navalny was on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow when he began to experience extreme pain and disorientation. The flight was diverted to Omsk, where he was transferred to the local hospital in a coma. Omsk doctors hooked him up to a ventilator and listed his condition as comatose, critical but stable.

According to Navalny’s travel companions, he did not eat prior to the flight but, in the airport, drank hot tea. (Navalny drinking tea in the airport and later screaming on the plane are both documented on film.)

Various reports from the hospital maintained that Omsk doctors were not allowing Navalny’s wife and his personal doctor to see the patient, despite Russian laws that guarantee such rights. For days, hospital officials refused to discharge Navalny for an air transfer arranged by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for treatment in Europe.

Read the full article here

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