Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Civilization Requires Collective Common Sense

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

After the summer protests and rioting in many large cities, activists demanded a defunding, or at least radical pullbacks, of the police. So-called crime experts often concurred. So some city governments ignored public warnings and diminished their police presence despite a sharp rise in crime in many cities. Looting and arson were often ignored.

If you call 911 in a large American city, there is no guarantee that anyone will answer promptly and send out police to aid the endangered. So gun sales have soared. Some people who never before owned weapons, or who even opposed the use of firearms, are now terrified to remain unarmed. Self-protection often outweighs abstract ideology.

According to a recent Gallup poll, most black Americans favor maintaining or increasing police presence. Often, city officials who support cutting back on law enforcement still expect their own homes and property to be constantly policed. The same is often true of activist elites who live far from the inner city.

Large swaths of the American West are now charred by out-of-control wildfires. Some governors and many federal bureaucrats blame the conflagrations on climate change. But those who actually live within forests, or on mountains and foothills, that are historically vulnerable to wildfires know that the epic droughts of 2013–15 killed or dried out millions of acres of trees and vegetation.

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About 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.

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