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.

The Economy, Father of Us All

Victor Davis Hanson // Nationals Review

Each week we are warned of a recession. And each week the economic news “unexpectedly” and “surprisingly” improves or stays steady — in ways well aside from the staples of continued near-record-low peacetime unemployment (3.8 percent), near-record-low minority unemployment, booming annualized GDP (3.1 percent), and a record-high stock market.

In June, retail sales increased for the fourth straight month. The rate of Hispanic home ownership continues to increase. A quarter-million new jobs were created in June, with strong growth in construction and manufacturing. Record oil and gas production seems only to keep increasing. Strong wage growth of 3.4 percent continues.

The point is not so much “It’s the economy, stupid,” but rather that the economy is the font of all contemporary politics, and it adjudicates the parameters of presidential prerogatives.

In the standoff between the “Squad” and Donald Trump, near-record peacetime unemployment in general and in particular historic-low minority unemployment argue against the idea that Trump is racist.

Polls suggest that Donald Trump may well win a greater share of the minority vote than moderates John McCain and Mitt Romney — largely because of a raise in middle-class wages in a tight labor market, and new leverage of entry-level workers over labor-hungry employers. Do working-class blacks and Hispanics suffer then from false consciousness, and do they need tutorials from progressive grandees so they won’t be so incorrect as to appreciate having more jobs at better pay?  Racists do not craft economic policies that empower African Americans far more so than those promoted by the first African-American president.

Read the full article here.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Get along? Apparently no—at least until after 2020. Two examples summarize why.

“We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” said U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), one-quarter of “the squad” sowing havoc among Democrats in the House. “ We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”

Of the Republican Party, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes said the other day: “It must be peacefully, nonviolently, politically destroyed with love, compassion and determination, but utterly confronted and destroyed. That is the only way to break the coalition apart… Not by prying off this or that interest. They are in too deep. They have shamed themselves too much. The heart of the thing must be ripped out. The darkness must be banished.”

In other words, the new progressive message is that we all must vote monolithically and predicated on our superficial appearance, religion, or sexual orientation. And the Trump base must be destroyed, though annihilated with “love” and “compassion.”

Read the full article here.

America does not have to be perfect to be good (despite what radical progressives tell us)

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

The summer season has ripped off the thin scab that covered an American wound, revealing a festering disagreement about the nature and origins of the United States.

The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School.

Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans.

Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market.

Read the full article here.

The Selfish Actors of Illegal Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Almost every party invested in open borders proves utterly selfish, without regard for the legitimate interests of others or of the law itself.

The Illegal Immigrant
The immigrant is the pawn of Latin American governments who view him as inanimate capital, someone who represents thousands of dollars in future foreign-exchange remittances, as well as one less mouth to feed at home — if he crosses the border, legality be damned. If that sounds a cruel or cynical appraisal, then why would the Mexican government in 2005 print a comic booklet (“Guide for the Mexican Migrant”) with instructions to its citizens on how best to cross into the United States — urging them to break American law and assuming that they could not read?

Yet for all the savagery dealt out to the immigrant — the callousness of his government, the shakedowns of the coyotes and cartels, the exploitation of his labor by new American employers — the immigrant himself is not entirely innocent. He knows — or does not care to know — that by entering the U.S., he has taken a slot from a would-be legal immigrant, one, unlike himself, who played by the rules and waited years in line for his chance to become an American.

He knowingly violates U.S. immigration law. And when the first act of an immigrant is to enter the U.S. illegally, the second to reside there unlawfully, and the third so often to adopt false identities, he undermines American law on the expectation that he will receive exemptions not accorded to U.S. citizens, much less to other legal immigrants. In terms of violations of federal law, and crimes such as hit-and-run accidents and identity theft, the illegal immigrant is overrepresented in the criminal-justice system, and indeed in federal penitentiaries.

Read the full article here.

Of Progressive Carnivores and Cannibals

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The Obama-era Democratic Party bears little resemblance to the themes embraced just 11 years ago by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries.

The parameters of marriage, in Obama’s words “between a man and woman,” has now transmogrified beyond gay civil unions to legal gay marriage to transgendered fixations.

Obama once protested that he was no king who could open the border and grant amnesties by fiat. Yet his view of immigration has metamorphosed well beyond DACA and Dreamers into Democratic candidates going into Mexico to escort aliens unlawfully into our country, and 500 sanctuary jurisdictions in which federal immigration law is all but null and void. An American citizen convicted of using a fake Social Security Number and phony ID is a felon who is all but unemployable; an illegal alien who commits the same crimes learns quickly that these are not deportable offenses and mostly never prosecuted.

In a nanosecond, Betsy Ross’s iconic colonial flag, which once emblazoned the backdrop of the 2012 Obama inauguration ceremony, have become racist icons—or so Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick has decreed, ordering his corporate bosses to remove them from commemorative sneakers.1.0000:00

Obamacare has abruptly morphed into “Medicare for All”—including illegal aliens who are to be eligible the moment they cross the border, despite never having paid a dime into the system.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 59: U.S.–China Trade Tensions

Trade War 2.0—China Sets Sail to Import Innovation, Export Governance

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Christopher R. O’Dea in Strategika.

By agreeing to restart stalled trade talks at their meeting in Osaka last week, President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping averted a new round of punitive measures in a trade conflict that’s moving into its second year.

Read the full article here.

When “Trade Wars” End Badly

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

“I think we’re going to be strategic partners,” said President Donald Trump on June 29 at his Osaka G-20 press conference, in response to a question from Olivia Qi Zhang, a reporter for Caixin, the Chinese news organization. “I think we can help each other. I think, in the end, we can—if the right deal is structured, we can be great for each other.”

Read the full article here.

Demystifying Sino-U.S. Decoupling

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

“He’s a New York real estate developer,” a non-politically involved acquaintance argues, explaining that President Donald Trump knows that any deal as complex as the one he is trying to negotiate with China over trade will take time, “even years.” That explanation may be as valid as any of the ostensibly more informed takes by professional policy watchers. It also is a useful caution against placing artificial, media-driven timetables on what is turning into the most significant policy showdown between Washington and Beijing since the normalization of diplomatic ties forty years ago.

Read the full article here.

Democratic Candidates Are Running a Race of Authenticity

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

An epidemic of false identities, massaged resumes and warped ancestries has broken out among the current Democratic presidential primary candidates.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for years claimed Native American ancestry. An embattled Warren ironically took a DNA test that only proved her critics’ contention that she was no more of Native American heritage than the vast majority of Americans.

Another Democratic candidate, Robert Francis O’Rourke, is a rich white male who grew up in affluence. O’Rourke some time ago adopted the name “Beto,” an abbreviation for the Spanish “Roberto.” The Spanish-speaking, Irish-American O’Rourke, with a wink and nod, has assumed a useful near-Latino identity.

Read the full article here.

A Modest Immigration Proposal

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) believes that American detention centers that house illegal aliens — over 1 million illegal arrivals during the last six months alone — are similar to “concentration camps.” A storm of criticism met her historically fallacious comparisons. Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her Hitlerian reference by pedantically claiming that she was referencing “concentration” rather than “death” camps, and thus despite sloganeering “Never Again,” with a wink and nod, she was supposedly not suggesting that Auschwitz was quite comparable to America’s border facilities.

She then doubled down again by visiting the border. On the basis of no evidence, she was soon claiming that detained illegal aliens were drinking out of toilets, as well as alleging that immigration officers met her social-welfare activism with rudeness and sexual innuendo.

Where to start with her abject historical ignorance?

One, America’s detention centers bear no resemblance to concentration camps of the past. Illegal aliens know that there is some chance that, after they enter the U.S. illegally, they may be apprehended and detained. If they really believed the conditions of their detention resembled “concentration camps,” which historically are scenes of mass death, they would never have come.

Millions of Russians by summer 1942 were not voluntarily flooding across German lines on the expectation that they’d survive, much less thrive, in Nazi “concentration camps.” The German public did not pressure the Nazi hierarchy to allow lawyers and counselors into Soviet POW camps. Boer children did not migrate to British territory on the rationale that their detention would be without hazard.

Read the full article here.

Would President Joe Biden Become 25th Amendment Material?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Ispeculate only because since January 2017 our popular culture and intelligentsia have suggested President Trump is crazy and should be removed under the 25th Amendment. Apparently, accusations about the mental health of presidents and would-be presidents are now legitimate political attack strategies under the new progressive rules.

After all, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe once bragged that he tried with former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove a supposedly unhinged Trump. Democratic members of Congress called in a Yale psychologist, Bandy X. Lee, to brief them that such Ivy League experts had diagnosed Trump in absentia as certainly unhinged. (She later attempted to walk back those claims.) The 25th Amendment, along with impeachment, the ossified Logan Act, and the Emoluments Clause, have now been mainlined by progressives as the sort of natural suspicions we cast on an elected president of the opposite party.

Yet, under these new progressive protocols, could a President Joe Biden be written off as delusional?

Addled Biden?
Biden once suggested that George Bush get on TV after the 2008 meltdown in the manner that President Roosevelt had addressed the nation after the 1929 market crash: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed.” Biden was referring to a time when neither FDR was president nor was television commercially available.

Read the full article here.

Democratic Candidates Aren’t on a Winning Track

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Presidential candidates from both parties usually sound hard-core in the primaries to appeal to their progressive or conservative bases. But for the general election, the nominees move to the center to pick off swing voters and centrist independents.

Voters put up with the scripted tactic as long as a candidate had not gone too extreme in the primaries and endorsed positions too far out of the mainstream.

A good example of this successful ploy was Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. In the primary against Hillary Clinton, Obama ran to her left. But he was still careful not to get caught on the record going too far left. That way, he was still able to tack to the center against John McCain in the general election.

As a general election candidate, Obama rejected the idea of gay marriage. He blasted illegal immigration. He railed against deficit spending. And he went so far as to label then-President George W. Bush as “unpatriotic” for taking out “a credit card from the bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt.”

Read the full article here.

%d bloggers like this: