Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

The Origins of Progressive Agony

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate Democrats left,” and lately the rantings of Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez confirm that diagnosis.

Obama, the Fallen God

Paradoxically, Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and 2012 and yet helped to erode the old Democratic party in the process. He ended up in opulent retirement while ceding state legislatures, governorships, the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the Supreme Court to conservative Republicans.

Obama had promised leftists — in his prior brief tenure in the Senate he had compiled the most partisan record of his 99 colleagues — that his social-justice methods and agendas would lead to a proverbial “permanent Democratic majority.” Do we remember the February 2009 Newsweekobsequious cover story “We Are All Socialists Now”?

Supposedly, changing demography, massive illegal immigration, and identity politics had preordained a permanent 51 percent “Other” whose minority statuses, as defined by gender and race, had now become a majority, given the destined demise of the white working classes. If Obama had not existed, someone like Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, or Kirsten Gillibrand was supposedly foreordained to be president anyway.

Read the full article here.

Who and What Threaten the Constitution?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Donald Trump on occasion can talk recklessly. He is certainly trying to “fundamentally transform” the United States in exactly the opposite direction from which Barack Obama promised to do the same sort of massive recalibration. According to polls (such as they are), half the country fears Trump. The media despises him. Yet Trump poses no threat to the U.S. Constitution. Those who since 2016 have tried to destroy his candidacy and then his presidency most certainly do.

When, and if, we ever lose our freedoms, it will not likely be due to a boisterous Donald Trump, damning “fake news” at popular rallies, or even by being greeted with jarring “lock her up” chants—Trump, whom the popular culture loves to hate and whose every gesture and, indeed, every inch of his body, is now analyzed, critiqued, caricatured, and damned on the national news.

In general, free societies more often become unfree with a whimper, not a bang—and usually due to self-righteous pious movements that always claim the higher moral ground, and justify their extreme means by their self-sacrificing struggle for supposedly noble ends of social justice, equality, and fairness.

Read the full article here.

A New Era for the China-Russia-U.S. Triangle

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Nearly a half-century ago, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, established a successful U.S. strategy for dealing with America’s two most dangerous rivals. He sought closer ties to both the Soviet Union, with its more than 7,000 nuclear weapons, and Communist China, with the world’s largest population.

Kissinger’s approach was sometimes called “triangulation.” But distilled down to its essence, the phrase meant ensuring that China and Russia were not friendlier to each other than each was to the United States.

Given that the Soviet Union was much stronger than China at the time, Kissinger especially courted Beijing.

The idea was similar to British and French policy in the mid-1930s of discouraging Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich from becoming the partner of Josef Stalin’s equally powerful and dangerous Soviet Union. Unfortunately, that effort failed, and Nazi-Soviet cooperation led to their joint invasion of Poland in 1939 and the outbreak of World War II.

We forgot Kissinger’s wisdom during the Obama administration’s coddling of China and the schizophrenic Russian “reset.”

Read the full article here.

Kavanaugh Casualties

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

When the Christine Ford saga finally ended with the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a lot of truth had distilled out, along with the evaporation of prior pretensions and misconceptions.

The Left

The hearing confirmed that the traditional JFK/Hubert Humphrey Democrat party, as once envisioned by a Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, or Jim Webb, is long kaput. In its place is being birthed a hard-left progressive movement that absorbs the ideologies and methodologies of its base and that now incorporates all sorts, from Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist hipsters to Black Lives Matters, Antifa, and Occupy Wall Street protestors.

The new progressives recently have come to believe that they gain traction by the theater of disrupting senate hearings, cornering senators in elevators, stalking them on the way to work, doxing their opponents on the Internet, and during the hearings throwing out the concept of due process. Any means is deemed permissible to enact visions of social justice, given legislative and executive power is lost for now — and as if proverbially ordinary Americans who watched the televised circus might applaud the performers.

Read the full article here.

One Ford Narrative Too Many

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In the end, the Christine Blasey Ford accusations collapsed. With them went the last effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court.

After thousands of hours of internal Senate and FBI investigations of Kavanaugh, as well as public discussions, open questioning, and media sensationalism, Ford remained unable to identify a single witness who might substantiate any of her narratives of an alleged sexual assault of nearly four decades past.

To substantiate her claim, the country was asked to jettison the idea of innocent until proven guilty, the need for corroborating testimony, witnesses, and physical evidence, the inadmissibility of hearsay, the need for reasonable statutes of limitations, considerations of motive, and the right of the accused to conduct vigorous cross-examination. That leap proved too much, especially when located in a larger progressive landscape of street theater antics, including Senate disruptions, walkouts, and sandbagging senators in hallways and elevators.

At the end of all things, Ford remained scarcely knowledgeable about the location and time of the assault than she was months earlier in her original anonymous complaint. Nor could she yet describe how she arrived at or left the party that may or may not have taken place in 1982. That Ford retained a crystal-clear account of having consumed just one beer and that Kavanaugh played the Hollywood role of a cruel, smirking, drunken, and privileged preppy groper were sensational accusations but not supportable.

Read the full article here.

Angry Reader 10-04-2018

From An Angry Reader:

it is painful to see or read your columns.

I usually ignore them;today’s on Nunes was pathetic.

Mr. Hanson,you are a fraud and in a just world you’d be condemned

to occupy a spot in that special place down below where it’s always hot…

Delusional is a good word to describe what you must think of yourself;

another apt term is:traitor.

—————————————————

Dear Angry Reader Peter Cornell,

Unfortunately, Mr. Cornell, you exhibit most of the all-too-common pathologies of the Angry Reader—heat but no light, ad hominem attacks, incoherent arguments (how can you at the same time find my columns “painful” and yet “usually ignore them”?), and poor grammar. Again, try to demonstrate where and how the column on Nunes was either not factual or was illogical rather than just say that I belong in Hell or have betrayed my country.

If you are angry at something, please logically explain why and that way perhaps I can help you lessen your angst.

Sincerely,

Victor Davis Hanson

The Campus Comes to Congress

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The polarizing atmosphere of the university has now spread to Congress.

During the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we witnessed how college values have become the norms of the Senate. On campus, constitutional due process vanishes when accusations of sexual harassment arise. America saw that when false charges were lodged against the Duke University lacrosse players and during Rolling Stone magazine’s concocted smear of a University of Virginia fraternity.

Americans may disagree about the relative credibility of either Kavanaugh or his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. But they all witnessed how the asymmetry of the campus governed the hearings.

Ford’s veracity hinged on empathy and perceived believability. There was little requirement of corroborating testimonies, witnesses and what used to be called physical evidence. In contrast, Kavanaugh was considered guilty from the start. He had to prove his innocence.

One belief of the university is the postmodern idea of relativist truth.

Read the full article here.

America’s New Jacobins

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

Maximilien Robespierre and his Jacobin “Committee of Public Safety’ highjacked the late 18th-century French Revolution. As supposedly more authentically radical revolutionaries, Jacobins did away with their supposedly less radical first-generation Girondists, who themselves had helped to liquidate the French monarchy and many of the Ancient Régime.

What followed Robespierre’s “Reign of Terror” were cycles of revolution until the appearance of Napoleon’s military autocracy. The United States, mutatis mutandis, currently seems on the verge of a new cycle of such leftwing radicalism in spirit and substance—as the old Democrat Party appears to be withering away and a new Socialist Democrat Party assumes its place.

We can see the changes in Washington. Emboldened leftwing protestors recently disrupted the Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. A bewildered Majority Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley vainly tried to restore order by insisting on decorum and custom.

Yet it proved hard for an overwhelmed Grassley to distinguish the shouting in the gallery from the even more disruptive antics of the Democrat senators at his side who were vying with the protestors to authenticate their leftwing fides.

Read the full article here.

Mattis Is More Valuable Than Ever

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Michael O’Hanlon presented recently a persuasive argument why Defense Secretary James Mattis should stay on the job for at least the duration of Trump’s first term in order to finish his current initiatives — apparently in response to unsubstantiated rumors that Mattis’s reputation has grown among some anti-Trump establishment circles as the “adult in the room” who can redirect Trump into proper lanes, or in reaction to the unsourced assertions of Bob Woodward (all denied by Mattis) that the secretary had deprecated Trump in his absence.

In truth, Mattis has never been more important to Trump. His reputation as a no-nonsense advocate of deterrence gains more resonance as we seem to be returning to more conventional, traditional, and big-power challenges from Russia, China, and Iran in the Persian Gulf. That increased deterrence is largely as a result of Trump’s cancellation of the Iran deal, tough talk on trade, Chinese provocativeness in the South China Sea, and stepped-up sanctions against Russia, including efforts to corral Vladimir Putin.

For all the talk of disruption and chaos in foreign policy, at the close of the administration’s second year, there is emerging a new strategic clarity that reflects the efforts of a superb foreign-policy team of Pompeo, Bolton, Mattis, Haley, etc.

Read the full article here.

Fallout from the Kavanaugh Hearings: A Permanent Cloud?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Conventional wisdom suggests that, if confirmed, Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh forever will be “smeared” and stained by past frenzied unfounded allegations of sexual assault.

Yet the opposite just as well may be true. As a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh would have withstood every imaginable smear and slander and yet stayed defiant in defending his character and past, proof of both his determination and principles. His near-solitary rebuttal to his Senate accusers may suggest that Kavanaugh could prove to be among the most fearless justices on the Court.

Indeed, the only lasting effect, if any, of the serial smears lodged against him might be that in the future, as in the case of Justice Thomas, Kavanaugh would be essentially immune from progressive media attacks. What he went through likely has inoculated him from the Georgetown-party-circuit syndrome of conservative Supreme Court judges’ eventually becoming more liberal by the insidious socialization within the larger D.C. progressive media, political, and cultural landscape.

Incidentally, contrary to popular opinion, Clarence Thomas hardly remains under a permanent cloud after his ordeal. What stopped further Robert Borking for a while was the resistance and pushback of Clarence Thomas. Far from being ruined by unproven charges, he resisted the mob, got confirmed, and thereby established a precedent that innuendo, ipso facto, would not derail a nominee. For three decades, Thomas has not been regarded as suspect by most Americans but is seen as inspirational for his courage in facing down character assassination.

Read the full article here.

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