Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Angry Reader 07-03-2018

From An Angry Reader:

I was hopeful to find insightful conservative thought for a change, however I was disappointed to find yet another partisan albeit under the guise of an academic. Your ideas are not original nor interesting in terms of advancing our country. Instead, all of your work seems to revolve (devolve?) to the standard conservative playbook. The west is truly doomed if this is all our thinkers can come up is replacing old rightest ideas with old leftist ideas!

You provide the same old shtick and are not solving any problems. Your life must be really boring. Oh yeah, you are a historian. Of course.


Frustrated moderate engineer


Dear Angry Reader and frustrated moderate engineer Steve DiGrazia,

I am afraid that your disagreements are not really over ideas that are not original or do not serve the public interest, but largely your anger is because they conflict with you own—despite your self-described epithet “frustrated moderate engineer,” whatever that exactly means. The ideas expressed here are pretty centrist: smaller rather than larger government, lower rather than higher taxes, secure not open borders, the melting pot rather than the salad bowl, a tragic view of human nature, not one therapeutic, deterrence rather than appeasement, and so on.

But I fear your letter descends into incoherence—odd for an engineer who normally deals with laws, facts, and data. After lamenting that the above is the “old standard conservative playbook” you finish with “replacing old rightest ideas with old leftist ideas,” which makes no sense: I’d like to replace “old leftist ideas” with traditional ideas that have worked for centuries and do not lead to a Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, or North Korea. And just when I thought you scored a respectable 1 or 2 on the Angry Reader scale, you zoom up to a 5 with the inevitable ad hominem at the end: “Your life must be really boring. Oh yeah, you are a historian. Of course.”

Actually, I am blessed by living on a farm part of the week, and at Stanford the other few days: it gives one a scale by which to calibrate academic madness; in comparison to academics, farmers are mostly sane.


Non-frustrated historian

History as Nothing Much at All

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Former CIA director Michael Hayden recently tweeted a picture of a Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, with his commentary: “Other governments have separated mothers from children.” The suggestion was that industrialized death on an unprecedented scale was somehow similar to the temporary detention of children once their parents have been detained for violating federal law.

Actor Peter Fonda recently advised the following about Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller: “Don’t let the pedophile Stephen Goebbels Miller near those girls separated from their parents.” Comedian Kathy Griffin has asserted that the Trump administration is “quite pro-Nazi.”

Fonda perhaps lacks the subtlety of a Bill Kristol, who implies rather than sledgehammers the Nazi comparisons. When Michael Anton, a writer whose articles often appeared in The Weekly Standard, went to work for the Trump administration, Kristol reduced Anton to the status of an infamous Nazi lawyer: “Carl Schmitt to Mike Anton: First time tragedy, second time farce.”

Read the full article here.

Progressives Should Back Up Their Rhetoric on Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Liberals, invite illegal aliens to live in your communities.

There are lots of short-term solutions to address the wave of immigrants who have swarmed the border in an effort to enter the U.S. illegally.

Why not use the thousands of currently half-empty residence halls at American colleges and universities to help house families from Central America and Mexico who await adjudication of their asylum claims?

The federal government could contract out to universities such as UCLA, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, and large public universities in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico to offer migrants temporary summertime shelter and sustenance. Law schools could offer pro bono legal counseling, and medical schools could offer health services.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 51: Nuclear Proliferation

Should More Nations Have Nukes?

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

There is only one weapon that poses an existential threat to the United States, so why should America want other nations to possess it? The simple answer is that Washington’s nonproliferation policy, which once slowed the spread of nuclear weapons, now looks to be on the verge of collapse.

Read the full article here.


A Bigger Arsenal For A Lasting Peace

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Thomas Donnelly in Strategika.

Where is Stanley Kubrick when you need him? With Donald Trump withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka “the Iran deal”), playing summit footsie with Kim Jong Un and scoping out a vigorous modernization of the aging U.S. nuclear force, the abyssopelagic layer of the Deep State has taken on new life with warnings of the approaching apocalypse.

Read the full article here.


Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts: Strategic Competition And The North Korea Talks

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Thomas Karako in Strategika.

The United States has long been committed to stemming the further proliferation of nuclear weapons among both potential adversaries and friends alike. As the recent Nuclear Posture Review observes, “nuclear non-proliferation today faces acute challenges.” The current locus of this challenge is in northeast Asia.

Read the full article here.

Mexico — What Went Wrong?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Mexico gets a massive cash influx in remittances, American corporations get cheap labor, Democrats get voters . . .Mexico in just a few days could elect one of its more anti-American figures in recent memory, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Obrador has often advanced the idea that a strangely aggrieved Mexico has the right to monitor the status of its citizens living illegally in the United States. Lately, he trumped that notion of entitlement by assuring fellow Mexicans that they have a “human right” to enter the United States as they please. For Obrador, this is an innate privilege that he promised “we will defend” — without offering any clarification on the meaning of “defend” other than to render meaningless the historic notion of borders and sovereignty.

Read the full article here.

Victor Davis Hanson on The Fate of the West, Trump, and The Resistance

In the third episode of Close Encounters, Victor Davis Hanson and Ben Weingarten discuss the decline of the American academy, threats to Western civilization from within and without, ‘The Resistance’ and its assault on the Trump presidency, and a great deal more.

Watch the video here or via this link.

Read the full transcript here.

06-25-18 Angry Reader

From An Angry Reader:

What is wrong with you? You see what Trump is doing over 3000 lies and yet you still can condemn Hillary!


Dear Angry Reader Rhonda Welsch,

First, congratulations. You get only a 1 out of 10 on the Angry Reader Scale (for silly exaggeration [e.g. “ over 3000 lies”; but why not 3001? Or 2999?]), given that you omitted the usual CAPITAL LETTERS, the repeated exclamation points, the obscenity, the ad hominem slurs, and the usual grammatical and syntactical lapses. Much appreciated.

Second, of course, Trump fibs, obfuscates, exaggerates, and fabricates. But so far, he has avoided the existential lies (the Syrian redlines; the Benghazi video yarn, the Bowe Bergdahl fantasies, the Iran Deal, the Obamacare “keep you doctor,” “keep your insurance plan,” or Hillary’s 30,000 emails about yoga and a wedding) of the Obama-Clinton lies.

Third, here is a brief paragraph from a forthcoming book I wrote on the Trump phenomenon that might better explain the Trump-Clinton divide:

Clinton was a creature of government, Trump often at war with it. Her essence was predicated on the approval of an elite; he thrived on its disdain. Hillary’s misdeeds were far worse than her reputation; the Donald’s reputation far worse than his misdeeds. He could be authentically gross; she inauthentically prim. And his animal cunning was usually prescient; her sober assessments almost always flawed. Trump certainly could be cruel to individuals; but kind to the public; Clinton was kind to her particular friends, but predictably cruel to people. Trump sloppily exaggerated and fabricated; she carefully lied and dissimulated. Trump exhausted a limited vocabulary; Clinton an even more limited body of ideas.

Sincerely, Victor Davis Hanson

Why This Immigration Psychodrama Will Also Pass

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Amonth from now there will be a new manufactured news story that Donald Trump is savage, represents an existential danger, or is unhinged. We will hear of another Trump official cornered and driven out from a liberal-owned Beltway or New York City restaurant. An unhinged Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will rant some more about impeachment.

And then the current hysteria over the border detainments will be filed, and go the way of the “s—hole countries” frenzy or Melania’s jacket melodrama.

We’ve already been through the dizzying odyssey of legal suits in three states over supposedly fraudulent voting machines, the nullification of the Electoral College effort, the meltdown on Inauguration Day, the Emoluments Clause tizzy, the 25th Amendment con, the various Russian collusion hysterias, the leaked phone call to the Australian prime minister, the Michael Wolff Fire and Furyfantasies, the Dudley Do-Right James Comey pre-indictment book tour, and all the surreal assassination chic stories, from Kathy Griffin’s beheading photo to the Shakespearean troupe’s ritual stabbing of Trump.

Read the full article here.

Hillary’s Hamartia

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

Hillary Clinton could have spared the country hours of wasted investigations, debates, and near civil war had she just made three easy ethical and logical choices.

One: Had she, as Secretary of State, used a standard Department of State email server for her official correspondence, there would have been no Inspector General’s 500-page plus report. Indeed, there would have been no three-year-long email scandal that has all but destroyed the reputation of the Washington hierarchy of the FBI.

In other words, there would have been no need for all the distortions by Clinton, the FBI, and the Department of Justice. Just think of it: no bit-bleaching of Clinton hard drives, no smashing of mobile devices, and no secret meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac.

Read the full article here.

Scandals Sanitized with Linguistic Trickery

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Obama becomes an unnamed ‘government official,’ ‘investigation’ becomes a ‘matter,’ and ‘illegal’ becomes ‘improper.’

There are lots of strange things throughout Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s massive report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation. One of the weirdest is the extent to which the FBI went to make up words and phrases to disguise reality.

An early draft of the 2016 FBI report on the email scandal was reportedly subjected to linguistic surgery to exonerate the former secretary of state, who at the time was the Democratic nominee for president. Clinton was originally found to be “grossly negligent” in using an illegal email server. That legalistic phrase is used by prosecutors to indict for violation of laws governing the wrongful transmission of confidential government documents.

Read the full article here.

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