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.

REELTALK: Victor Davis Hanson

California Has Become America’s Cannibal State

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

For over six years, California has had a top marginal income tax rate of 13.3 percent, the highest in the nation. About 150,000 households in a state of 40 million people now pay nearly half of the total annual state income tax.

The state legislature sold that confiscatory tax rate on the idea that it was a temporary fix and would eventually be phased out. No one believed that. California voters, about 40 percent of whom pay no state income taxes, naturally approved the extension of the high rate by an overwhelming margin.

California recently raised gas taxes by 40 percent and now has the second-highest gas taxes in the United States.

California has the ninth-highest combined state and local sales taxes in the country, but its state sales tax of 7.3 percent is America’s highest. As of April 1, California is now applying that high state sales tax to goods that residents buy online from out-of-state sellers.

In late 2017, the federal government capped state and local tax deductions at $10,000. For high earners in California, the change effectively almost doubled their state and local taxes.

Such high taxes, often targeting a small percentage of the population, may have brought California a budget surplus of more than $20 million. Yet California is never satiated with high new tax rates that bring in additional revenue. It’s always hungry for more.

Read the full article here. Interview with Victor Davis Hanson

By Robert Ringer

Click here to listen to the information-packed interview I did yesterday with the great Victor Davis Hanson, professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno, and a Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

The World Doesn’t Care About Groupthink

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Conventional wisdom may change in a flash (remember ‘peak oil’?), but elites remain elites, united by common interests.

“All things are in flux.” — Heraclitus

The adage “nothing last forever” is an understatement. Far more accurate is something like “nothing lasts until next week.”

Saint-to-Sinner Silicon Valley

A decade ago, even most Republicans admired the rugged entrepreneurialism of the high-tech Masters of the Universe who had built a multitrillion-dollar, world-dominating Internet, and the computer, mobile-phone, online-sales, and social-media industries, defined by marquee companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.

In turn, Democrats gave up their suspicions of big money, as they canonized liberal Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Their wealth was okay, since the creators of it were progressives and dressed like Woodstock hipsters as they spread their billions freely among progressive think tanks, foundations, and political campaigns.

Not now.

In a near blink of an eye, Republicans finally caught on, and they now see the new billionaires as rank partisans who rig Internet searches, censor social media, manipulate data to help warp elections, push far-left causes, bully their own nonconformist employees, and demonize their conservative critics.

Read the full article here.

All the Progressive Plotters

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Right after the 2016 election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein—cheered on by Hillary Clinton dead-enders—sued in three states to recount votes and thereby overturn Donald Trump’s victory in the Electoral College. Before the quixotic effort imploded, Stein was praised as an iconic progressive social justice warrior who might stop the hated Trump from even entering the White House.

When that did not work, B-list Hollywood celebrities mobilized, with television and radio commercials, to shame electors in Trump-won states into not voting for the president-elect during the official Electoral College balloting in December 2016. Their idea was that select morally superior electors should reject their constitutional directives and throw the election into the House of Representatives where even more morally superior NeverTrump Republicans might join with even much more morally superior Democrats to find the perfect morally superior NeverTrump alternative.

When that did not work, more than 60 Democratic House members voted to bring up Trump’s impeachment for vote. Trump had only been in office a few weeks. Then San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer toured the country and lavished millions on advertisements demanding Trump’s removal by impeachment—and was sorely disappointed when he discovered that billion-dollar-fueled virtue-signaling proved utterly bankrupt virtue-signaling.

Read the full article here.

Angry Reader 04-04-2019

From An Angry Reader:


I thought you were supposed to be an intellectual. Hoover Institution and all that. Then you go off on an illegal immigrant killing an American. That’s Rush Limbaugh turf. (the 2 semester and out fellow) I guess you’re just another partisan propagandist after all. Sorry.

Gary Christian


Dear Angry Reader Gary Christian,

Your attitude explains precisely why Trump was elected—an unearned and unwarranted sense of intellectual superiority and presumed authority.

Try hosting a radio show for 3 hours, 5 days a week, and see how long you in your brilliance can hold the attention of audience—over 30 years. Your email reflects no such imagination or talent.

In your arrogance of dismissing a “2-semester and out fellow” I suppose you also wrote off the Truman presidency because Harry Truman only finished 1 semester (of business school).

In contrast, did the Yale education of Bill Clinton translate into moral authority? Did Barack Obama’s Harvard Law Review imprimatur ensure that he would not state “You can keep your doctor and insurance plan” during the Obamacare debate or lead to annualized 3 percent economic growth?

I live 20 miles from where, in December, a twice-deported illegal alien, with a long rap sheet, murdered three innocents and injured more—and at about the same time and about 100 miles from where another twice-deported felonious illegal alien murdered a law-enforcement officer, and yet again about 90 miles from where a homemaker was slaughtered by yet another illegal alien previously deported and with a criminal record.

I suppose tragedies like that are jest to your “Rush Limbaugh turf” bombast, but that is only likely because you never experience, as do millions, the real consequences of abstract progressive ideology.

To stifle debate you virtue signal “another partisan propagandist” to substitute for an argument. Such ad hominem smears only reflect your own absence of thinking and poverty of logic. Sorry.

Victor Hanson

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.

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