Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit.

Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off.

Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ensures lethal consequences. Once elites became pampered and arrogant, they feel exempt from their ancestors’ respect for moral and spiritual laws  — such as the need for thrift, moderation, and transcendence.

Take professional sports. Over the past century, professional football, basketball, and baseball were racially integrated, and they adopted a uniform code of patriotic observance. The three leagues offered fans a pleasant respite from daily barroom politics. As a result, by the 21st century, the NFL, NBA, and MLB had become global multi-billion-dollar enterprises.

Then hubris ensued.

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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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