Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

From Victor Davis Hanson:

For the record, I recently spoke with @NewYorker’s @IChotiner per his request for a discussion on my recent book. The published piece was “edited and condensed for clarity”; however, the editing was done so in a way that omits the chronological accuracy of our conversation and the vast majority of what was said, which I think is important for purposes of context, tone, and intent—both Mr. Chotiner’s and my own. There are also introductory false accusations of “a history of hostility to undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants…and to African-Americans who speak about the persistence of racism.” Neither charge is remotely true. If Mr. Chotiner would release an accurate transcription of our “long conversation,” there will appear wide discrepancies in tone, intent, and content from the published interview. This is exactly why many people today have distrust of many in media and reflect upon the unprofessionalism that occurs too often. An unfortunate piece that shouldn’t have been published in its current form and should be retracted. http://bit.ly/2EtdPCM

Yes, ‘This Is America, 2019’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There have been so far about three general reactions to the concocted Jussie Smollett psychodrama.

One, and the most common, has been apprehension that Smollett’s lies will discredit future real incidents of hate crimes against gays and minorities. This could be a legitimate concern, given the tensions within a multiracial society.

Yet, in fact, there is no evidence in the past that false reports (some lists of such fake hate crimes put the number at around 400) have had such an effect—either on spiking real hate crimes, suppressing reporting, discouraging police investigations, or preventing even more race-crime hoaxes.

As Heather Mac Donald has recently once again noted, the 2017 upswing in reported hate crimes from the prior year may well be largely because an additional 1,000 police agencies were for the first time reporting such crimes. Mac Donald also notes that a “hate crime”—a micro percentage of reported violent crime—is narrowly defined not to include general interracial violent victimization, a category in which African-Americans on average commit 85 percent of such crimes.

Read the full article here.

Survival at the White House

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

No one in Washington called Donald J. Trump a “god” (as journalist Evan Thomas in 2009 had suggested of Obama) when he arrived in January 2017. No one felt nerve impulses in his leg when Trump talked, as journalist Chris Matthews once remarked had happened to him after hearing an Obama speech. And no newsman or pundit cared how crisply creased were Trump’s pants, at least in the manner that New York Times columnist David Brooks had once praised Obama’s sartorial preciseness. Instead, Trump was greeted by the Washington media and intellectual establishment as if he were the first beast in the Book of Revelation, who arose “out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”

Besides the Washington press and pundit corps, Donald Trump faced a third and more formidable opponent: the culture of permanent and senior employees of the federal and state governments, and the political appointees in Washington who revolve in and out from business, think tanks, lobbying firms, universities, and the media. Or as the legal scholar of the administrative state Philip Hamburger put it: “Although the United States remains a republic, administrative power creates within it a very different sort of government. The result is a state within the state — an administrative state within the Constitution’s United States.”

Since the U.S. post-war era, the growth of American state and federal government has been enormous. By 2017, there were nearly 3 million civilian federal workers, and another 1.3 million Americans in the uniformed military. Over 22 million local, state, and federal workers had made government the largest employment sector.

Read the full article here.

Changing Reality With Words

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The reinvention of vocabulary can often be more effective than any social protest movement. Malarial swamps can become healthy “wetlands.” Fetid “dumps” are often rebranded as green “landfills.”

Global warming was once a worry about too much heat. It implied that man-made carbon emissions had so warmed the planet that life as we knew it would soon be imperiled without radical changes in consumer lifestyles.

Yet in the last 30 years, record cold spells, inordinate snow levels and devastating rains have been common. How to square that circle?

Substitute “climate change” for global warming. Presto! Any radical change in weather could be perceived as symptomatic of too much climate-changing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Suddenly, blizzards, deluges and subzero temperatures meant that typically unpredictable weather was “haywire” because of affluent Westernized lifestyles.

Read the full article here.

The New Nihilism

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

As the 2020 election nears, there is as yet no coherent Democratic response to the Trump agenda. If Trump himself is unpopular and polarizing, his agenda is for the most part in sync with a majority of Americans who like the 3% annualized GDP growth; near-record peacetime unemployment; record natural gas and oil production; young, scholarly and constructionist justices; pro-Israel Mideast politics; and realism about NATO laxity, the flawed Iran Deal, and the Paris Climate Accord, Chinese mercantilism, and the past inability of the U.S. to translate battlefield victories abroad into lasting security and strategic advantages.

Yet hatred of Trump himself, as well as fear of a successful Trump agenda, has unhinged his opposition. From 2017-19, progressives sought to abort the Trump presidency through furor at his person and often pathetic attempts to invoke the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, the Logan Act, Articles of Impeachment, the Mueller special counsel investigation, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s counter-intelligence investigation of Trump, and cherry-picking federal justice to stay Trump initiatives. All failed. Now the Left has decided to offer not just invective, but a new array of alternatives—often of a radical sort that we have not seen or heard about since the 1960s.

The Democratic Party is now in the hands of newcomer establishment figures such as Senators Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono; socialist Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; newly elected representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib; and activists like Linda Sasour, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, and the usual Hollywood celebrities—all of whom Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Vice President Joe Biden futilely try to appease.

Read the full article here.

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete.

The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and gender exceptions for politically incorrect felonies, an appeasement that ensures an absence of deterrence and thus even more transgressions.

Paradox No. 1: Merchants of Hate. We are told that white, racist young men are preying on people of color, obsessed with skin color (and gender), and emancipated by Donald Trump’s Klan-like MAGA army. In truth, the purveyors of such theories are themselves merchants of hate, who stereotype and demonize on the basis of skin color. And they do so, largely for anticipated career advantages, on the principle that supposed victims of white bigots can translate such ill treatment into publicity and, with it, attention and career enhancement. How did this epidemic of hate happen in 2019 America?

Answer: a) There are not enough racists left to fuel the current insatiable appetite of the anti-racism industry. So both victimizers and victims have to be invented — as we see with the Duke lacrosse lynching, the Virginia fraternity hoax, the Covington-kids invention, and the recent Jussie Smollett fraud. b) There are few punishments for fraud, but lots of rewards for being victimized, and so deterrence is lost and the merchants of hate assume they are free to invent what they please. c) Anything useful to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump is seen as a moral act, whether equating the Covington MAGA-hatted teenagers as veritable Klansmen or fitting out Smollett’s hired thugs with lynch rope and red hats.

Read the full article here.

Autopsy of a Dead Coup

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The illegal effort to destroy the 2016 Trump campaign by Hillary Clinton campaign’s use of funds to create, disseminate among court media, and then salt among high Obama administration officials, a fabricated, opposition smear dossier failed.

So has the second special prosecutor phase of the coup to abort the Trump presidency failed. There are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history, marking the first occasion in which U.S. government bureaucrats sought to overturn an election and to remove a sitting U.S. president.

Preparing the Battlefield
No palace coup can take place without the perception of popular anger at a president.

The deep state is by nature cowardly. It does not move unless it feels it can disguise its subterranean efforts or that, if revealed, those efforts will be seen as popular and necessary—as expressed in tell-all book titles such as fired FBI Directors James Comey’s Higher Loyalty or in disgraced Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s psychodramatic The Threat.

Read the full article here.

Area 45: The (Second) American Civil War? With Victor Davis Hanson

On the 210th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, some have suggested that United States faces a second “civil war” – a conflict over culture, economics, and world view. Victor Davis Hanson, the Hoover Institution’s Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, contrasts the hands dealt to Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump. 

Listen to the interview here.

The Mythologies of ‘Joe Being Joe’ Biden

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Some polls put 76-year-old Joe Biden as the Democratic front-runner for the 2020 presidential election. There is certainly some logic to that reckoning.

Biden has far more experience than any of his likely party rivals—36 years in the Senate, eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president and two past presidential runs.

He may be the only Democratic candidate who could likely win back some of the “deplorables,” “irredeemables” and “clingers” of the critical Midwestern swing states.

But all of that said, the folksy Biden is hardly the sober and judicious alternative to a supposedly reckless Donald Trump.

In many ways, Biden has been far wilder in his speech and decorum—despite nearly a half-century in politics.

Read the full article here.

Merkel Salvages Nord Stream, But Is Putin Losing Russia’s Gas Monopoly?

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in Forbes

The European Union took a first step with its February 8 vote towards turning Russia’s gas monopoly, Gazprom, from an instrument of Russian power politics into a regulated utility, deprived of its monopoly power. In an odd twist, Germany, the self-proclaimed guardian of European unity, found itself politically isolated from the rest of Europe, which sided with U.S. President Donald Trump. A bitter pill for Germany to swallow.

Meanwhile, Putin and Germany complained that U.S. intervention was exclusively for its own plans to sell its expensive LNG to Europe.

As the European Union (EU) permanent representatives gathered in Brussels on Friday, February 8, to vote on the EU’s Gas Initiative of the Third Energy Package, Russia’s Nord Stream 2 (NS2) undersea pipeline project was in jeopardy. Even Germany’s reliable ally France had declared its intent to vote against the German-Russian project. Without France, Germany could not block an anti-NS2 vote, and an alarmed Angela Merkel swung into diplomatic overdrive. In hasty negotiations, Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron reached a compromise agreement that allows all parties to fight again another day.

Read the full article here.

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