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.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Donald Trump in his Twitter storms apparently has no idea that he is winning. The Brett Kavanaugh opening hearing turned into a progressive circus, with shouting would-be Democratic presidential candidates vying with screaming protesters to see who could be the most obnoxious. Ossified senior Democrat senators appeared bewildered how to match or somehow channel the street theater of activists on their left flank and ended up being sort of punked by their own protesters. It will be hard for network news to find a soundbite from all that to look presentable, given that democracy cannot function when elected officials join the mob.

The consecutive Friday and Saturday funerals of the late Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain reminded us why funerals are not good occasions for politicking and editorializing and end up reflecting poorly on those who try. There are 364 days a year to damn Trump without doing so at a funeral, especially by crowd-pleasing invective from those who call for civility and unity — and in the past often have shown neither to each other.

New revelations about the strange nexus between Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr, and a Russian oligarch only remind the public that Robert Mueller is looking for Russian collusion (to the extent that he is now, or ever was really) in all the wrong places. Future unredacted disclosures about the FISA warrants or communications between now-disgraced DOJ and FBI officials will be interesting.

The great economic news — unemployment, GDP growth, Wall Street records, energy production, retail sales, and consumer confidence — continues to outpace even optimistic predictions.

Read the full article here.

Trump on the Ground

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

For months, I’ve been driving on different routes through the vast San Joaquin Valley back and forth from the California coast—and through the usually economically depressed small towns on and near the Highway 99 corridor through the Central Valley. The poverty rate in many valley counties is higher than in West Virginia. It is a world away from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the Stanford or Caltech campus, Malibu, and Pacific Heights.

In an overregulated, overtaxed state of open borders and sanctuary cities, with the nation’s near highest electricity and gasoline prices, and facing a looming state and local pension unfunded liability of well over $300 billion, one might not expect much of an uptick from the supposed Trump economic revival. California’s calcified strategy, after all, is that global lucre pouring into coastal high-tech and finance will more than balance out the economic damage wrought by state government. Sacramento is a sort of court jester to Menlo Park.

Throughout California’s coastal and mountain forests there are waves of dead trees unharvested after a devastating drought. There are large fields of recoverable gas and oil in lots of places that are not being drilled, as well as valuable ores and metals not being mined, and unmatched farmland deprived of its long ago contracted water rights. The idea of a renaissance in the vast rich interior of the state seems implausible—especially when state government is more interested in banning plastic straws and mandating gender-neutral restrooms than in building dams or roads.

Read the full article here.

Indoctrination Saturation

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

A definition of totalitarianism might be the saturation of every facet of daily life by political agendas and social-justice messaging.

At the present rate, America will soon resemble the dystopias of novels such as 1984 and Brave New World in which all aspects of life are warped by an all-encompassing ideology of coerced sameness. Or rather, the prevailing orthodoxy in America is the omnipresent attempt of an elite — exempt from the consequences of its own ideology thanks to its supposed superior virtue and intelligence — to mandate an equality of result.

We expect their 24/7 political messaging on cable-channel news networks, talk radio, or print and online media. And we concede that long ago an NPR, CNN, MSNBC, or New York Times ceased being journalistic entities as much as obsequious megaphones of the progressive itinerary.

But increasingly we cannot escape anywhere the lidless gaze of our progressive lords, all-seeing, all-knowing from high up in their dark towers.

Read the full article here.

Americans won’t vote for socialism once they know what it is

Here is a piece by one of my colleagues.

Paul Roderick Gregory // The Hill

A series of polls have shown that pluralities of Democrats and millennials prefer socialism to capitalism. These surveys also make clear that respondents do not know what socialism is.

Also Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has shown that Democratic primary voters will cast their ballots for an avowed socialist if he packages his brand properly.

Socialism’s new face, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, upset a major establishment figure in the New York primaries. Like the poll respondents, she was also hard pressed to explain what socialism is. In another development, the primary upset victory of Andrew Gillam gave Florida democrats their first socialist candidate for governor.

Read the full article here.

Hanson: Struggle Between Elites And Masses Defines US Policy

Clifton Parker // Hoover Institution

Victor Davis Hanson says history offers lessons for today’s technology-driven world, especially when it comes to elites, the masses, and the future of society.

“When the masses feel their will is not reflected in government policies or respected by the professional classes that manages society, then historically there can be a pushback in the form of a populist movement,” said Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Conventional society typically views populist movements as “good” or “bad,” Hanson said, depending on whether they are progressive or traditionalist. While the Left traditionally embraces a Bernie Sanders-style populism of high taxes and an expanded welfare state as the “good” form, they typically show disdain for middle or lower class-driven Trumpian populism highly skeptical of an elite class that in today’s landscape benefits almost exclusively from globalization—a “bad” populism, in other words, that appears to them too nationalist or parochial.

Read the full article here.

The Truth Will Set Us All Free

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was star-crossed from the start. His friend and successor as FBI director, James Comey, by his own admission prompted the investigation — with the deliberate leaking of classified memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump to the press.

Mueller then unnecessarily stocked his team with what the press called his “dream team” of mostly Democratic partisans. One had defended a Hillary Clinton employee. Another had defended the Clinton Foundation.

Mueller did not at first announce to the press why he had dismissed Trump-hating FBI operatives Lisa Page and Peter Strzok from his investigative team. Instead, he staggered their departures to leave the impression they were routine reassignments.

But Mueller’s greatest problem was his original mandate to discover whether Trump colluded with the Russians in 2016 to tilt the election in his favor.

Read the full article here.

A Post-Trump World

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

It has been quite a ride since Inauguration Day — or, rather, from Michael Wolff to Omarosa and Michael Cohen, or from the Emoluments Clause to the 25th Amendment, or from talk of decapitating Trump to talk of blowing up the White House.

Yet what might happen should Trump be removed from office, either by impeachment leading to conviction or resignation or by federal indictment from Robert Mueller?

Given the evidence so far, the results could be civil chaos, and for a variety of reasons:

Had Trump misled his base and not fulfilled his campaign promises, he would have little popular support. Had he tanked the economy and started a war, he would be polling in the 20s rather than the mid to lower 40s.

Read the full article here.

The Ideology of Statue Smashing

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Statue smashing is back in the news.

One night last week, University of North Carolina students pulled down “Silent Sam,” a bronze monument to students and faculty of the university who fought as Confederate soldiers in the Civil War.

The bronze figure is portrayed as static, quiet and without ammunition for his gun—and facing northward—apparently a postwar “silent sentinel” impotent, but still defiant.

The Confederate states fought the Civil War to preserve slavery, if not expand it. One can certainly object to the state showcasing an icon that can be seen as inseparable from that evil institution. Yet not all Confederate soldiers thought slavery was their own cause. In North Carolina, about 5 percent of the population, or a quarter of family households, held slaves. The vast majority of the population did not. No doubt some of the non-slaveholding citizenry opposed the idea of indentured servitude. Yet somehow, they squared the circle of fighting for a bad cause by redefining it as protecting their ancestral homeland.

Read the full article here.

The Diversity of Illegal Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

I live on farm beside a rural avenue in central California, the fifth generation to reside in the same house. And after years of thefts, home break-ins, and dangerous encounters, I have concluded that it is no longer safe to live where I was born. I stay for a while longer because I am sixty-five years old and either too old to move or too worried about selling the final family parcel of what was homesteaded in the 1870s.

Rural Fresno County used to be one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the United States. I grew up with first-, second-, and third-generation farmers—agrarians of Armenian, German, Greek, Mexican, Japanese, Portuguese, Punjabi, and Scandinavian descent.

Race and ethnicity were richly diverse; yet assimilation was the collective shared goal—made easier because immigration was almost entirely a legal and measured enterprise. No one much carried for the superficial appearance of his neighbors. My own Swedish-American family has intermarried with those of Mexican heritage. My neighbor’s grandchildren are part white, Japanese, and Mexican. The creed growing up was that tribal affiliation was incidental, not essential, to character.

Read the full article here.

The Bombs of August

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped a uranium-fueled atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, another U.S. Army Air Forces B-29 repeated the attack on Nagasaki, Japan, with an even more powerful plutonium bomb.

Less than a month after the second bombing, Imperial Japan agreed to formally surrender on September 2. That date marked the official end of World War II — the bloodiest human or natural catastrophe in history, accounting for more than 65 million dead.

Each August, Americans in hindsight ponder the need for, the morality of, and the strategic rationale behind the dropping of the two bombs. Yet President Harry Truman’s decision 73 years ago to use the novel, terrifying weapons was not considered particularly controversial, either right before or right after the attacks. Both cities were simply military targets.

Read the full article here.

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