Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Obama’s Hazy Sense of History

For the president, belief in historical predetermination substitutes for action.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

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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.

16 Thoughts on “Obama’s Hazy Sense of History

  1. George Tobin on August 28, 2014 at 7:49 am said:

    When history freed the slaves or that time history landed at Normandy, the incumbent President got the credit. Should we blame Obama just because history did not act in time? History, as he understands it, has paused for Obama, much like global warming.

    Obama seems to have mangaed to combine the worst of Marxist determinism with the passivity of Inshallah. History will not produce another like him.

  2. John Lewis on August 28, 2014 at 8:41 am said:

    Barack Obama’s ignorance is all the more telling, in that he attended Harvard University, which houses one of the greatest libraries in the world.

  3. Jim K. on August 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm said:

    Since everything Obama does seems to make things worse, I’m glad that he’s lazy and passive when it comes to steering world events. Call it a “feature” and thank God. If he were active, it would be worse.

  4. Lee Huang on August 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm said:

    Obama on his own grades and intelligence will never get him into an ivy schools! His speeches were all written for him by someone else. He is good in delivering the speeches on TV. Listen and watch him talk without those prepared speeches, he could not utter a sensible , logical complete sentence.
    He got in most likely via affirmative action quota plus some heavy weight $$$ influence and donation from middle east to Harvard U. Noticed whom he bowed to in 90 degree when he visited Saudi and was given a super heavy solid gold chain around his neck!
    He was born and raised as a Muslim and indoctrinated in communism ideologies. What do people expected out of him?

  5. Kevin Kuipers on August 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm said:

    Well said, as usual. When I went to college, I stumbled on a philosophy course about ethics. We didn’t just read Aristotle, et al, but studied him. It changed my life, but I did not know it at the time. We were taught to think in a moral world. Whenever I read you, Mr. Hanson. I am reminded of that point of view. Thank you.

  6. James Schneider on August 29, 2014 at 3:43 am said:

    If Obama’s omelet is one with a socialist texture infused with a mathematics of wealth distribution from within the U.S. and throughout Europe, then he’s breaking far too many eggs to complete the dish. The number of new and chaotic flare-ups (eggs) from around the globe will require a bit more ketsup to make this omelet able to digest.

  7. Theophilus on August 29, 2014 at 7:25 am said:

    Bravo, Mr. Hanson, once again you managed to place the dart right in the bull’s eye! You continue to show that Obama therapeutic thinking and speeches is getting him nowhere fast. He will soon end up in the trash bin of tragic historical figures. People who expired to become leaders in the future should avoid emulating him as an example of effective leadership.

    Mr. Tobin, I have to say as one trained in mathematical physics, people should avoid using phrases such as this will never happen! Unless you are God who has mastered equations that are far more advanced than quantum mechanics Schrodinger’s equation or Dirac matrix equations for calculating with a high degree of probability where the next state of a particle will be, you should be humbled and refrained from such language. Life has a way of making the impossible possible given the inevitable passage of time. In other words, yes there will be another Obama in the making in the future, most likely given the nature of humans; he/she will probably be far worse.

    As for Obama, it has been demonstrated perpetually by many commentators that he is an imbecile who managed to make it to the big house (this is one time when I wish the big house was the federal jail) and has no understanding at all about the implications of human nature. His progressive philosophy prevents him from seeing the many clear historical/philosophical/spiritual proofs that the nature of man is inherently evil and must be dealt with not pass over – our American founding fathers knew this all too well.

    For the record, Obama as a progressive, is one who believes that humans can perfect the flesh given the proper circumstances and environment – according to the bible (which proclaims to be the Word of God) it makes clear that humans cannot perfect the flesh under any circumstances or environment – all humans have a sin nature that can only be dealt with by the accomplished works of Christ.

  8. lily wong on August 29, 2014 at 8:01 am said:

    She call herself a 21 century PROGRESSIVE. Her college term paper was all about Saul Alinsky.
    Obama and her are 2 peas in the same pod.

  9. Would Barry have reassured slaves circa 1800 that they, too, were on the “right side of history”, even if they had another 60 years or so before the Civil War broke out?

    Passivity is contagious. We have a president afraid of action, a fear assuaged by his cursory and embarrassing knowledge of history. It’s a very limited knowledge, and he does not seem to grasp the reality that he isn’t anywhere near as smart as he’s been told he is.

  10. Darrel Stickler on September 1, 2014 at 11:25 am said:

    What Victor might be driving at, but doesn’t articulate going in or at the end, is that Obama has a view of the world simplified consistent with Obama’s limited experience. Obama has little understanding of how great things are accomplished and that a favorable outcome is not assured because it is simply “right.” Each side always thinks it is “right,” and like players from each side of a football game feeling assured of a win because of their faith in God, “right” has nothing to do with it.

    Aside: great line from the movie, Unforgiven. Clint Eastwood goes into the bar guns drawn to avenge his friend’s death and Gene Hackman protests:
    Little Bill Daggett: I don’t deserve this… to die like this. I was building a house.
    Will Munny: Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.

    Strategy and smarts wins the day along with a moral compass tempered in the fire of years of problem solving not found at the small end of a community organizer bullhorn or the handle end of a picket sign. Details bore Obama, and it shows.

    While I’m at it, Obama misunderstands the difference between us and them. It’s not some grand distinction between our means, but rather the end. On the battlefield, there is no difference between a western democracy and any authoritarian rule. War and tactics are necessarily brutal to be successful. Civilians die, and more than the soldiers measured by numbers. The distinction is in the ends, what we become after the war and the values we fight to uphold.

  11. Jeff Stanley on September 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm said:

    The thing about “concrete moral action” is that it is far more trouble, and at the same time, isn’t nearly as interesting as a round of golf.

  12. Robert Jackson on September 1, 2014 at 5:39 pm said:

    It is amazing how “wrong thinking” translates into the promotion of global evil. Thanks Victor for the observation.

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