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.

Comey Continues to Display His Lack of Credibility

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Fired former FBI director James Comey is at it again.

Last week, Comey testified before members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In a single appearance, Comey, on 245 separate occasions, while under oath, stonewalled questions with “I don’t know,” “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall,” according to a congressional interrogator, Rep. Jim Jordan. (R-Ohio).

If any private citizen tried Comey’s gambit with federal IRS auditors or FBI investigators, he would likely be indicted for perjury or obstruction.

Why did Comey, the nation’s former top-ranking federal investigator, avoid telling “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” while under oath?

The answer is, unfortunately, obvious. Comey has been called to testify before members of Congress on numerous occasions. He has written a long book and gone on an extensive book tour, and his paper trail is long.

Read the full article here.


The Dangers of Asymmetry

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

It is strange how suddenly a skeptical Wall Street, CEOs, and even university and think-tank policy analysts are now jumping on the once-taboo Trump bandwagon on China: that if something is not done to stop China’s planned trajectory to global hegemony, based on its repudiation of the entire post-war trade and commercial order, then it will soon be too late. In a wider sense, at some point on a variety of fronts, Americans got fed up with perceived lopsidedness, and their ensuing exasperation started to change status-quo thinking and policy — whether China’s flagrant cheating, the recent illustration, via the “caravan,” of rampant hypocrisies about illegal immigration, or weariness with the asymmetries with the Islamic world.


China in its planned trajectory to world global supremacy makes two assumptions about the United States:

  • that China can weld government-run market capitalism to autocratic government to improve on supposedly chaotic Western democratic and republican government and indulgent human rights;
  • that the Western world will continue to excuse Chinese violations of global commercial and trade norms, on their misplaced theories either that the more successful the Chinese become, the more they will evolve to a democratic and transparent society and join the Western liberal community and follow its post-war international norms, or that there is nothing the West can do about a fated Chinese supremacy.

Read the full article here.

Defeat and the Dossier Explain Everything

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Donald Trump’s former consiglieri Michael Cohen, along with being charged with tax avoidance and improper business deals, allegedly is guilty also of trying to leverage money and attention by exaggerating his influence with candidate and later President Trump.

In other words, Cohen to spec followed the standard creepy daily fare for Washington and New York wannabe fixers. But did we need Robert Mueller’s 18 months and $40 million to uncover and redirect to federal attorneys what was largely self-evident? Could not the U.S. government long ago, without the prompt of a special counsel, have uncovered that Michael Cohen did not fully pay his taxes—in the manner of an Al SharptonTimothy Geithner, and Tom Daschle?

The diabolical Cohen also tried to enforce, extend, or create non-disclosure agreements (Swampese for hush money) with two women from Trump’s past. The two reappeared out of nowhere in 2016, apparently to translate their alleged Trump hookups of a few hours in years past to notoriety and additional profit in the new age of “President Trump.”

Read the full article here.

Putin’s latest Ukraine stunt may blow up in his face

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

Germany postures itself as the conscience of Europe. It takes in floods of refugees and scolds those who do not. It claims to guard European unity against the nation-state and ridicules the United States for electing a real estate developer as president.

But Germany, the self-declared paragon of European values, is also Germany Inc., the land of the “Putin Versteher” (Understander). Germany Inc. is poised to give the Kremlin its greatest “pipeline politics” victory.

The $10 billion Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline has the necessary German approvals. Once in operation, NS2 will make Germany Europe’s hub of cheap Russian gas.

Germany’s Putin Versteher echoed Putin’s claim that NS2 is “undoubtedly absolutely free from politics … a purely commercial project.” This claim is not true. NS2 is designed to split Europe in two, while imposing considerable economic losses on Ukraine, whose failure is a top Putin priority.

Read the full article here.

The Rise Of The New Old Left

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

In the 1960s, campus radicals were branded the New Left. The media saw the mélange of radicals like Bill Ayers, David Delinger, Jane Fonda, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Herbert Marcuse, Jerry Rubin—as well as hippies, the Black Panthers, the gay liberation movement, La Raza, women’s liberation, draft resistance, and the anti-Vietnam War and new ecology movements—as a new counter-culture, quite different from the narrower “Old” unionists, Trotskyites, Comintern orthodox communists, and Stalinists of the 1930s-1950s.

Sixties radicals claimed their enemies were not just the old corporate bosses and greedy bankers, but rather the entire “Establishment”. The new targeted status quo was supposedly a racist, sexist, homophobic, nativist, and white cohort. By 1968, the “Man” was ritually accused of war-mongering, polluting, and exploiting—as well as just being “repressed”, “irrelevant”, “boring”, “square”, “uptight”, and “out-of-it”.

Sixties radicals saw even the Old Left, with its folk-song protest music, loyalty to Moscow, support for world communist revolutions, and never-ending labor strikes, hopelessly puritanical and dreary. For their part, these old, class-struggle Leftists, who came of age in tougher times, were not so interested in New Left trademark agendas and indulgences of a pampered boomer generation like abortion, LSD and marijuana, sustainable living, identity politics, rock music, free speech, and back to nature living.

Read the full article here.

Nothing Exempt: 102. Dr Victor Davis Hanson

Listen in on my most recent interview with Nothing Exempt:

#podcast today is a special interview with guest Dr Victor Davis Hanson he is a columnist, author, and overall #HighIQ We explored the #demographic problem in California and the direction of the state. The tail end of the conversation discusses the #intervensionism of American foreign policy with talk on right vs wrong.

Listen to the interview here.

The Perpetual Presidency

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Former President Barack Obama recently continued his series of public broadsides against his successor, Donald Trump.

Obama’s charges are paradoxical. On one hand, Obama seems to believe that he, rather than Trump, should be credited with the current economic boom and the emergence of the United States as the world’s largest energy producer. But Obama also has charged that Trump’s policies are pernicious and failing.

Apparently, Obama believes that all of Trump’s successes are due to Obama, and all of Trump’s setbacks are his own.

Obama certainly forgets the old rule: Presidents, fairly or not, get both credit and blame for everything that happens on their watch, from Day One to the last hour of their tenures—even when wars abroad, technological breakthroughs, natural disasters and market collapses have nothing to do with their governance.

Trump ran on the promise of a “Make America Great Again” economic renaissance. He pledged massive deregulation, fair rather than free trade, and tax reform and reduction.

Trump jawboned against outsourcing and offshoring, and praised rather than lectured private enterprise. He sought to reindustrialize the Midwest and promised to open new federal land to fossil fuel production, complete proposed pipelines, and lift burdensome restrictions on fracking and horizontal drilling.

Read the full article here.

Victor Davis Hanson on Trump’s Candor

Please watch my recent interview with Conduit News on Trump’s Candor.

Watch the video here.

Angry Reader 12-05-2018

From An Angry Reader:

Subject: on California’s horrific wildfires Dr. Hanson’s ARTICLE omits 3 important aspects

Dear Dr Hanson,

A friend from Santa Monica pointed out 3 important things that your article omitted. Is her critique something you can consider & respond to?


Marty MD

Anonymous critique:

It’s a mix. He’s a Hoover Institute (sic) guy who writes everything with an ideological slant. Some of the article is right: the building of homes where 19th century engineers and planners didn’t foresee; transfer of funds to social services, and to a far, far, lesser degree, conflicting theories in land management, which by the way, has (sic) been an ongoing argument nationally among forest experts – not just in CA.

What he skips over is that 1) most of the forests are national land, managed by the national forest service. Funds for that was (sic) cut, over decades, entirely by Republican lawmakers in DC. He fails to mention that.

2) Past lumber company policies are part of the problem, not the solution, since they (sic) don’t remove dead trees (he glosses over that). When they did operate in the state, they would clear cut huge swaths of forest of mixed species. When they would replant, they planted trees of all one species — the situation in much of our forested land US-wide. As a result, when that species is attacked, by borer beetles, for instance, there are no trees of other species to block the spread, or to fill in where the dead ones fail. to (sic) make things worse, as global warming takes hold, areas that no longer see a hard freeze have moved farther and farther north and with the warmth, overwintering beetles survive to kill more and more trees. In the past they and their larvae were killed each winter and most trees survived. Not anymore. When you fly over much of the rockies (sic) and further west, you see huge expanses of dead trees – victims of borer beetles. When a fire starts, the dead trees go up like tinder. The forest service lacks ANY funds to clear them out. Most of the funds they have these days goes to fire fighting.

So, blaming CA for all of this (as Trump does) is really dishonest. But Hansen (sic) will never point the finger at his Republican friends, it’s always, liberals, environmentalists, etc..

Finally, 3) the southern fire wasn’t in forest land – all scrub and brush.



Dear Not Really Angry Reader Marty MD, and his anonymous critic,

I am afraid your anonymous friend/critic is sorely mistaken, given that, in a fit of projection, she “writes everything with an ideological slant.”

It is also quite difficult to follow her argument because it is grammatically and syntactically incoherent, but I will try to list her errors in the order she makes them:

She knows that, while 60 percent or so of California forests consists of federal lands, state policy partners with federal practice, especially so most recently during the 2009-17 years when the Obama administration’s and California’s environmental policies were mostly synchronized. In the same manner, the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project have often merged policies and work in concert, and the state has a great deal of input in federal agendas. Had Gov. Brown insisted on traditional forest disposal of dead trees and clearing of wood and brush from sick forests (he most recently vetoed, for example, a 2016 bill that would have helped), he might well have encountered federal resistance from the Obama administration, but he did not do that, and instead assumed quite rightly that during the drought years Obama’s federal restrictionist policies, and resistance to human landscaped forests, would be identical to his own.

Note well that post factum, a new Brown is suddenly calling for more cutting and harvesting of dead trees in state forests.

At the federal level, funds for forest management were defined in widely different terms, with Democratic representatives promoting non-interventionist policies and Republicans advocating more vigorous cutting and thinning of forests and with greater input from private enterprise.

The author knows that, during and after the drought, timber companies, to the extent any are viable any longer in California, were eager to readjust existing policies so they could more freely enter sick forests to harvest dead and sick trees. And she knows from hundreds of op-eds, newsletters, and public fora that such adjustments met heated opposition from both environmentalists and state authorities, along the lines of the quotation in the article: namely that existing environmental orthodoxy envisioned dead trees as almost exclusively in situ as a natural resource for the forest ecosystem, and in that sense a plus that outweighed traditional concerns that over 100 million unharvested dead and sick trees would pose a disaster waiting to happen—at least as defined in terms of human safety and security.

The author also certainly realizes that any extended hiking deep into the Sierra National Forest, for example, quickly reveals a great variety in species of pines, firs, and cedars, and that diversity is likewise reflected as well in the wide array of dead and sick tree species. If pines are often the most severely affected by beetles and borers, insect damage also still affects firs and to a less extent cedars. While global warming and past forest practice may be long-term considerations that need to be addressed, most acknowledge that contemporary forest orthodoxy discouraged dead and diseased tree removal both by the Obama and Brown administrations—and we are now reaping what we have sowed.

After four years of drought, we experienced a near record year of precipitation, both rain and snow in 2016-7, followed by a near normal year in 2017-8, and very preliminary indications seems to suggest a normal third year in 2018-9.

Had state and local government simply allowed greater private harvesting of dead trees, the fire danger would have decreased substantially. Such a reluctance was again governed by a rigid orthodoxy that relegated lives and property to secondary considerations. And in a similar manner the viability of timber companies and the economic value of harvesting trees were likewise seen as less important considerations.

Not admitting such an obvious truth is both intellectually dishonest and privileges ideology over empiricism. The anonymous author’s case is not helped by puerile ranting like the following: But Hansen (sic) will never point the finger at his Republican friends, it’s always, liberals, environmentalists, etc..”

Finally, despite what the author alleges (e.g., “the southern fire wasn’t in forest land – all scrub and brush.”), nowhere in the article did I ever write that the southern fire was forest land in the manner that I had referenced numerous other forest fires in the state’s eastern mountain ranges (e.g., “When the rarer southerlies took over, some of the smoke from the 100,000-acre Woolsey fire in the canyons of Malibu arrived from 230 miles distant.”).

Nonetheless, as the author also knows, 1) that the vast majority of the approximately 3 million charred state acreage in 2017 and 2018 occurred in state and federal forests, and 2) elsewhere, the state’s reluctance to promote the thinning of dead scrub, brush, and sporadic stands of dead and diseased broadleaf and evergreen trees in coastal range hillsides, whether by scavenging and cleanup crews or by controlled burns and grazing, also increased the dangers of flash fires by ensuring plenty of dry combustible fuels.

No one is calling for mass strip logging or vast controlled burns and unlimited grazing, but rather for a balanced approach of greater harvesting, managed preventative burns, closer cooperation with grazing and timber interests, and greater worry given to human safety and security—which is tragically not state or federal policy in California.


Victor Davis Hanson

Angry Reader 12-04-2018

From An Angry Reader:

Since you never state that POTUS lies 80-85% of the time when he speaks publicly, what are some examples of his fake news. Who has discredited the main stream news other than POTUS? On a scale of 1 to 10 just how right wing is the Hoover Institute at Stanford University? I look forward to your responses.

George Johnson


Dear Angry Reader George Johnson,

Speaking of scales, you only rate a 1-2 on the Angry Reader metric—and entirely because of the usual ad hominem accusations without any data or evidence.

How exactly do you know that POTUS lies 80-85% of the time (as opposed to 50 or 60 or 90 percent of the time)? Take Trump’s latest and widely criticized broadsides: was Trump really lying when he said that poor forest management helped ensure catastrophic fire damage in California or that the Ninth Federal Circuit Court for Northern California is often predictably biased, and that Judge Jon Tigar is an “Obama judge”? False?

If you wish to rate Hoover’s conservative score simply go on to their website, read the articles of their fellows, and keep tabs; the result might surprise you.

As for “fake news,” I do not have all year to count the myriad of examples. But why not just focus on one network, CNN, and consider just a few of their more recent transgressions?

CNN reporter Manu Raju falsely reported that Donald Trump, Jr. had advanced access to the hacked WikiLeaks documents. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo falsely asserted that only the media could download the hacked emails of John Podesta—as if it was illegal for others to do the same. Why did Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris resign from CNN over their false reporting that Anthony Scaramucci was connected to a $10 billion Russian investment fund? Did not CNN erroneously and serially report that former FBI Director James Comey would contradict President Trump’s assertion that he was told by Comey that he was not under investigation? All this from a network whose panelists and hosts have variously held up a decapitated head of Donald Trump, claimed on air that he was a piece of sh*t, talked about a “dump” on a panelist desk not bothering a Trump supporter, mused about poisoning him, and invoked Nazi imagery to characterize him. CNN staffers were hot micced kidding about his plane crashing, while Donna Brazile repeatedly lied about giving a debate question in advance to Hillary Clinton. One network, and just a tiny sampling of fake news, bias, and obscenity / scatology.

Victor Hanson

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