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.

With Mueller Hopes Gone, So Goes Progressive Unity

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The Democratic Party has lots of radical new ideas, and lots of radical presidential candidates and politicos.

But the common hatred of President Donald Trump has united otherwise quite disparate Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

These diverse progressive politicians all shared faith in special counsel Robert Mueller and his “dream team.” They believed over the last two years that the Mueller investigation was slowly grinding down Trump. T-shirts were sold with the slogan “God Protect Robert Mueller.”

The unifying progressive creed assumed that the Mueller’s team would eventually find Trump unequivocally guilty of “collusion” with Russia. That buzzword was the noncriminal euphemism for felonious conspiracy to rig an election.

The hunt for collusion would end with the holy grail of Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. In 2020 there would be an almost automatic progressive takeover of government.

Read the full article here.

Angry Reader 04-03-2019

From An Angry Reader:

Well, a quick scan of your website revealed you actually have a whole section dedicated to “Angry Reader” mail. One would think, a man of your so-called intellect, would perhaps have a small moment of introspection and realize the true damage Donald Trump and the current Republican Party are doing to our nation. YOUR angry rantings about “liberals” betray your own bias and lack of critical thinking. YOU buy into stereotypical tropes and pass along non-information and hate-speech inspired Right-wing agenda – then, when reasonable people react negatively to you, you adopt a repulsive, belittling, self-righteous condescension.

Frankly, sir, you are a big part of the problem. As John Stewart once so graciously asked Tucker Carlson on his own show: Please, sir, just stop. You are hurting our country.

So, I don’t need a response from you. I didn’t use any profanity, and only used capital letters for desired emphasis. So maybe this doesn’t score very high on your Angry Meter – but don’t be fooled, I despise you and everyone like you.

Hope you have a good life – there are many others who do not live as well as you, may their misery weigh on your soul.

Jeff Hennefeld

Dear Very Angry Reader Mr. Hennefeld,

Please Mr. Hennefeld,

You may “not need a response” from me, but your angry-reader venom perhaps deserves one. First, please, take a deep breath and cease your typical angry reader rant.

Such vitriol is precisely what is hurting the country. You don’t need capital scare letters to make points, even if you acknowledge your addiction to them. You do not need to rave without citing a single example to support your argument. You do not, in angry reader 10 fashion, need to sink to ad hominem hate language, “I despise you and everyone like you.”

Is it a requisite of the progressive mindset that as soon as one asks for healing and to stop replying negatively to hate letters, he then follows up with the Sermon on the Mount expression “I despise you”? The scam of apophasis is ancient but claiming that you do not do something does not excuse you when you do it.

If only you could detail exactly what Trump has done that has so upset you. Make the argument that GDP is too weak; minority unemployment too high; energy production too anemic; judges unqualified; or that the Iran Deal was a brilliant arrangement, and there should be no worry about China. We need just a single argument in lieu of virtue signaling your hatred by the quite shameful invocation of the poor and your concern for them—an unfortunate sort of mask for such unhinged venom and hatred.

As far as misery is concerned, I think I know of it first hand as well as anyone, and where I live, with whom I associate, and whom I like I think reflects a likely far broader empathy with those without means than might be true of you.

I do hope you have a good life—and without your sort of qualifications added.

Vic Hanson

Angry Reader 04-02-2019

From An Angry Reader:

Dear Mr. Hanson, though your academic accreditations appear substantial, your view of history seems almost deliberately moronic.

I generally don’t like to wade into a debate with an ad hominem; but defending George Bush and his disastrous military policies??

The only rational explanations are intentional distortion or willful ignorance… Sadly, neither liar or moron are nouns that can be softened with a smile. It might explain the odd empathy you have for the narcissist orangutan who currently occupies the oval office.

Allow me to go out on a limb here to suggest that your personal record of military service doesn’t exceed Dubya’s, defending the skies of Texas against the threat of Oklahoma; and was more akin with a pussy grabbing coward who shall remain unnamed.

If you care to give your blustering opinions of military history some authentic depth; you might direct your attention to the works of Major Danny Sjursen.

Unlike the current nattering neocon nabobs, that would have left Agnew hugging a toilet bowl; Sjuren actually risked his life serving his country’s misguided agendas.

I’m not asking you to put yourself in harms way the way Dan did; after all, that’s the job of the “warrior class” that you spineless neocons created.

Instead, run one of his thoughtful narratives alongside one of the steaming turds that you consider edifying prose, to illustrate the stark contrast.

Oh… and feel free to include this in your “angry letters” section; though in truth, I feel less anger for you than stunned embarrassment.

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Angry Reader M. Deuel,

You certainly do your best to score well on the Angry Reader scale.

One trademark of these furious letters has been the resort to the ancient tropes of praeteritio and apophasis, in which the angry reader declares, “I don’t like to…” but then does mostly what he just warned against, as if it is thereby excused. You sadly win still more angry reader points by the stereotypical coarse vocabulary, the usual ad hominem smears, the lack of any solid evidence to support your contentions, the incoherent grammar and syntax, the three-dot pauses, and all those quirks now so familiar to readers of the Angry Reader columns.

I don’t think that readers would mind criticisms and objections, if one just listed them rationally, offered some evidence, and avoided attacking the messenger in lieu of an inability to critique the message.

Unfortunately, a stereotyped characteristic of the angry reader is that the greater the inability to refute an idea dispassionately, the greater the tendency to stoop to the sort of childish invective and schoolyard dirty talk that you display. In 40 years, I have never written a single letter, column, or essay with any of the unfortunate vocabulary or the complete lack of substance that you display here.

Do you really believe that after eschewing the arts of ad hominem invective, you excuse debasing yourself by labeling me a “moron” and “liar,” while critiquing the president as a “narcissistic orangutan”—in lieu of making an argument that his economic record, judicial appointments, energy expansion, foreign policy or efforts to bring the Bill of Rights back to campus are somehow flawed. You might have made a legitimate argument that the staggering deficits cannot go on, or that there is no strategic resolution in Afghanistan or that Trump’s tweets can become “unpresidential.” Instead you wrote the above and thus to no point at all.

Victor Davis Hanson

The Virtuous Can Never Be Guilty

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Since ancient times, it has always been scary when moral auditors audit their own. Or as the Roman satirist Juvenal put it of male guardians entrusted to shield chaste girls from randy males, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (“Who will watch the watchmen?”)

When humans sense that there’s neither an earthly nor divine deterrent between them and social acceptance, power, riches, or their appetites, what follows is a foregone conclusion.

Such exemption is precisely the problem with modern American progressivism. It currently enjoys almost a captive mainstream media. It assumes the lockstep approval of the university. The movies that come out of Hollywood pound progressive themes. Most foundations fund race, class, and gender agendas. Popular culture has defined cool and hip as left-wing. In sum, all the secular dispensators of moral approval are hard left.

The result is that progressive actors and institutions understand that even their bad behavior will be contextualized rather than audited. Such medieval-style exemption gives them a natural blank check to overreach and to act unethically, crudely, and even unlawfully — as they might not have if they had expected ramifications.

Read the full article here.

Whiskey Politics: Victor Davis Hanson at Home

Ep. 189 – From #VictorDavisHanson‘s farm, far from the power of Silicon Valley and the glitz of Los Angeles, Dave sits with the Author, Professor and Senior Fellow at the #HooverInstitution (Stanford Univ.) to discuss #TheBulwark, #JohnMcCain, #GeorgeBush, #BillKristol, #MuellerReport, #DeepState, #China, #Israel, #Antisemitism, #Journalism, #WhitePrivilege, #TheDemocrats “new demography”, #NewZealand, #Reparations and his latest book #TheCaseForTrump.

Watch the full interview here.

The Tables Turn in Russian Collusion Hunt

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The irony of the entire Russian collusion hoax is that accusers who cried the loudest about leaking, collusion, lying, and obstruction are themselves soon very likely to be accused of just those crimes.

Now that Robert Mueller’s 674-day, $30 million investigation is over and has failed to find the original goal of its mandate—evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government to sway the 2016 election—and now that thousands of once-sealed government documents will likely be released in unredacted form, those who eagerly assumed the role of the hunters may become the hunted, due to their own zealous violation of the nation’s trust and its laws.

Take Lying
Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimonies cannot be reconciled with those of his own deputy director Andrew McCabe. He falsely testified that the Steele dossier was not the main basis for obtaining FISA court warrants. On at least 245 occasions, Comey swore under oath that he either did not know, or could not remember, when asked direct questions about his conduct at the FBI. He likely lied when he testified that he did not conclude his assessment of the Clinton illegal email use before he had even interviewed Clinton, an assertion contradicted by his own written report. I guess his credo and modus operandi are reflected in the subtitle of his recent autobiography A Higher Loyalty: “Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

Read the full article here.

Proposed Voting Changes Are About Power, Not Principles

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Progressive candidates and new Democratic representatives have offered lots of radical new proposals lately about voting and voters. They include scrapping the 215-year-old Electoral College. Progressives also talk of extending the vote to 16- or 17-year-olds and ex-felons. They wish to further relax requirements for voter identification, same-day registration and voting, and undocumented immigrants voting in local elections.

The 2016 victory of Donald Trump shocked the Left. It was entirely unexpected, given that experts had all but assured a Hillary Clinton landslide. Worse still for those on the Left, Trump, like George W. Bush in 2000 and three earlier winning presidential candidates, lost the popular vote.

From 2017 on, Trump has sought systematically to dismantle the progressive agenda that had been established by his predecessor, Barack Obama—often in controversial and unapologetic style.

The furor over the 2016 Clinton loss and the new Trump agenda, the fear that Trump could be re-elected and anger about the Electoral College have mobilized progressives to demand changes to the hallowed traditions of electing presidents.

Read the full article here.

Mueller report confirms the Steele dossier belongs in the dustbin of history

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

The Trump dossier — compiled by Christopher Steele, commissioned by Fusion GPS and paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee — has tied up U.S. politics for more than two years with its accusation that an elected U.S. president colluded with Russia.

My analysis, published one day after the dossier’s publication in BuzzFeed on Jan. 12, 2017, argued that the dossier was a fake and gave the logical reasons why.

Robert Mueller’s “no collusion” finding destroys the dossier’s multiple charges of a deep Trump-Russia conspiracy, shows that the dossier should not have been used to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants (if that is the case) and may go down as one of the most elaborate hoaxes in history.

Much of the attempted verification of the dossier focused on pinning down details, such as travel dates of Trump campaign associates, stamps in passports and whether parties to purported meetings could have been present. Such verifiable details are rare and do not yield useful results.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 57: The Growth of Chinese Power and Influence

China Never Was A Superpower—And It Won’t Be One Anytime Soon

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

“The world by 2049 will be defined by the realization of Chinese power,” write Bradley Thayer and John Friend, referring to the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic. “China,” these American academics tell us, “will be the world’s greatest economic and political force.” Must Americans accept the inevitability of Chinese dominance of the international system?

Read the full article here.

China’s Tide Is High, But Is It at High Tide?

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Michael R. Auslin in Strategika.

If China’s explosive economic growth since the beginning of reform in 1979 is a unique success story, no less impressive has been the concomitant growth of its military and political power, as well as its global influence. Few could have predicted that within one generation of Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972, China would vie with the United States for the banner of global leadership. By any measure, China’s efforts to surpass American predominance in the world must be taken seriously, and in some cases, may even seem to have succeeded. 

Read the full article here.

From Trade War to Tech War to Cold War

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Niall Ferguson in Strategika.

If you had told me 30 years ago America would be in another Cold War with another communist superpower by 2019, I would not have believed you. If you had told me that, simultaneously, socialism would be the height of fashion with young Americans, I would have directed you to a psychiatrist. But here we are. Three decades ago Francis Fukuyama published his seminal essay “The End of History?”, hailing the victory of liberal capitalism over all its ideological competitors, but especially over communism. The essay he needs to write today is “The Upend of History?”

Read the full article here.

Did Trump Really Do All That?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Peggy Noonan, apparently like many, believes that Trump’s occasional callousness and crassness are unprecedented. And they have so befouled the political landscape that he has spawned rude and crude leftwing imitators. The result allegedly is the vile language of the “mean girls” such as the anti-Semitism and foul speech of Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib:

I think we all know where this started, the political brutishness, the ignoring of traditions and norms. Donald Trump is both origin and rationale . . . The mean girls of Congress have learned at his knee. They have taken their tactics from him. They claim to be his reluctant imitators but I think they admire his ferocity. They have a taste for it, and a talent.

Collective Amnesia

With all due respect, I don’t think we “all” know that this started with Trump, however crass he can be. Rather, we know all too well the political landscape a decade before Trump.

Do we recall the recent deranged talk of 2004-8 from the Democratic Party, the popular culture, and the media—or the relative passivity of the wounded Bush administration in response to such venom?

Why, after all, did Alfred A. Knopf publish the novel Checkpoint, a boring and tired rant about fantasizing the assassination of then-President Bush? Who created the particular landscape that encouraged filmmaker Gabriel Range to offer up “Death of a President”that trafficked in the same fantasies of a Bush assassination?

Read the full article here.

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