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.

Where Did the New Mad Left Come From?

Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

Bouts of extreme leftism are frequent in history. Plato’s Apology, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Vladimir Lenin’s What Is to Be Done? — all offer us insight into the mind and methods of the hard Left.

America has experienced surges of mainstream anarchism, socialism, and communism, most profoundly during the late 19th century, amid the Great Depression, during the Soviet-American alliance of World War II and afterward, and in the 1960s. But rarely have these radical movements openly and without apologies made such inroads into and inside government and the establishment as during the past decade.

We had earlier seen massive rioting, looting, and iconoclasm, similar to the chaos of summer 2020. But seldom did they continue with the de facto approval of mayors who restrained the police and turned their downtowns over to virtual occupiers setting up “autonomous” zones. Nor had we see seen city councils defund police operations. New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan were not so much hard-Left Democrats or socialists as they were anarchists who ceded control of parts of American cities to other anarchists.

We cannot recall any district attorney in memory who simply declared that an entire array of crimes no longer existed, and that those convicted of them would be let loose on the public. Yet Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón recently announced that his office will not be charging anyone arrested for making criminal threats, possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia possession, being publicly intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, loitering to commit prostitution, resisting arrest, or a host of other crimes.

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Strategika #69: China and the Pandemic

Remedies For China’s Role In The Pandemic

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

The more we learn about the origins of the coronavirus, the more the case against China grows. Chinese doctors and scientists encountered COVID-19 patients as early as November 2019, but Beijing suppressed their efforts to research the virus and warn the world. While the emergence of vaccines holds hope for an end to the pandemic, the campaign to hold China to account, however, is only beginning.

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China Deliberately Spread The Coronavirus: What Are The Strategic Consequences?

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Gordon G. Chang in Strategika.

“It comes from the lab, the lab in Wuhan, and the lab is controlled by the China government,” claimed Dr. Li-Meng Yan, the virologist who fled Hong Kong, in a “Loose Women” interview in September. “This virus is not from nature.”

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Will The Covid-19 Pandemic Confound Or Enable China’s Strategic Ambitions?

Please read a new essay by my colleagues, Robert G. Kaufman in Strategika.

Will China’s negligence unleashing the coronavirus and mendacity exploiting it catalyze a reckoning with the PRC, comparable in significance to the Czech Coup of 1948? And will it crystallize long-term American determination to contest China’s scheme to supplant the United States as the world’s preeminent power?

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Our Brave New Biden World

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

America traditionally has not reinvented reality after an election, although prior presidential winners have often tried, as in the fashion of our politics. But the new powers of social media, Silicon Valley, and a woke media have made reality-changing now a reality.

Suddenly Antifa and BLM have all but disappeared from their heroic barricades. Where and why did they go? Did they ever really exist?

Mysteriously, a week or two before the election, the flood of violence in our major cities began downsizing to a tiny trickle. How strange that former angry throngs are now in nearly suspended animation. Are all those black kneepads, helmets, and umbrellas now in closets? Are all those whiny Pajama Boys on the barricades back teaching in their Zoom classrooms, or taking their college Zoom classes in their parents’ basements?

What changed? What in the world convinced committed revolutionaries to cease their long march to revolutionary justice?

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The Scars of 2020

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Amid plague, national lockdown, riot and arson, iconoclasm, recession, and the most contested voting in history, the country leaves 2020 with some scars that won’t heal.

Mail-in Voting: Election Day as we once knew it no longer really exists. It has been warped, trimmed, and made nearly irrelevant in the panic of the times. The prior, but now accelerating, changes and the “never let a good crisis go to waste” efforts during the COVID-19 lockdown rammed through vast changes in previous voting norms. If the Democrats win the two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, new federal voting mandates designed to supersede state laws will institutionalize the chaos.

During the slow-motion November election “process,” the last presidential debate that Donald Trump won mattered little. Some 50 million people had already voted—and 100 million would before Election Day. The Hunter Biden scandal? Even had the media covered it, the result of such new laws would have made it a late October sparkler rather than a fiery bombshell. 

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Is America to Be First, Second — or What?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

During this strange “transition,” it has been common now to assert that “multilateralism” is back — and with a vengeance. Joe Biden’s envisioned team allegedly will jettison the unilateralist idea of “America alone” and supposed soft neo-isolationism.

Instead, the U.S. will resume its historic but neglected role as the leader of the enlightened world. It will supposedly recultivate allies estranged by Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo. It will now fix broken international organizations. It will eagerly reassume burdens that were neglected or repudiated during the Neanderthal Trump administration.

The result, supposedly, will be a safer, more secure world. The administration will be staffed again by returning international experts from the Obama years. Their excellence is vouched for by their past government, corporate, military, and academic service and their branded education.

I think all that is a fair summation of the lengthy published critiques, the preliminary giddy statements from designated Biden-administration officials, and the foreign-policy daily op-ed commentariat.

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Denigrating Hoover

Victor Davis Hanson // The Stanford Daily

Matt Larson (“Hoover has gone too far,” Nov. 19, 2020) cited me among others in his Stanford Daily angry attack on Hoover Institution scholars. He alleges that we at Hoover are purportedly “more interested in making money and promoting right-wing politics than in doing actual academic research.” Larson also charges that “Hoover fellows constitute a veritable wall of shame. They have been involved in just about every type of skeezy behavior imaginable.” These are serious writs against our institution and yet mostly leveled without substantiation.

My colleagues can address these particular loaded charges of “every type of skeezy behavior imaginable” in their own fashion. But to the degree that these unfounded stereotypes pertain to me, and for the record, I have never received any compensation for media appearances. I am not “making money” on corporate boards. Nor have I ever worked in “right wing politics” — or on any campaign of either party. I am a registered independent voter without party affiliation, and the author of over 20 scholarly books on classical, agrarian and military history and culture. Scholarship, and its dissemination among the broader public, are the major criteria by which all Hoover senior fellows are annually reviewed.

Writing additional political, cultural and social commentary, or appearing on air to discuss written work, is not spreading “disinformation.” That is a false charge that Larson also lodged by focusing solely on one particular television interview I did on Fox News — in part, ironically critical of election coverage on Fox News. But even within such a narrow focus, Larson’s allegations are an unfortunate conglomeration of falsehoods, misrepresentations and half-truths. 

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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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