Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Nothing Exempt: 102. Dr Victor Davis Hanson

Listen in on my most recent interview with Nothing Exempt:

#podcast today is a special interview with guest Dr Victor Davis Hanson he is a columnist, author, and overall #HighIQ We explored the #demographic problem in California and the direction of the state. The tail end of the conversation discusses the #intervensionism of American foreign policy with talk on right vs wrong.

Listen to the interview here.

The Perpetual Presidency

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Former President Barack Obama recently continued his series of public broadsides against his successor, Donald Trump.

Obama’s charges are paradoxical. On one hand, Obama seems to believe that he, rather than Trump, should be credited with the current economic boom and the emergence of the United States as the world’s largest energy producer. But Obama also has charged that Trump’s policies are pernicious and failing.

Apparently, Obama believes that all of Trump’s successes are due to Obama, and all of Trump’s setbacks are his own.

Obama certainly forgets the old rule: Presidents, fairly or not, get both credit and blame for everything that happens on their watch, from Day One to the last hour of their tenures—even when wars abroad, technological breakthroughs, natural disasters and market collapses have nothing to do with their governance.

Trump ran on the promise of a “Make America Great Again” economic renaissance. He pledged massive deregulation, fair rather than free trade, and tax reform and reduction.

Trump jawboned against outsourcing and offshoring, and praised rather than lectured private enterprise. He sought to reindustrialize the Midwest and promised to open new federal land to fossil fuel production, complete proposed pipelines, and lift burdensome restrictions on fracking and horizontal drilling.

Read the full article here.

Victor Davis Hanson on Trump’s Candor

Please watch my recent interview with Conduit News on Trump’s Candor.

Watch the video here.

Angry Reader 12-05-2018

From An Angry Reader:

Subject: on California’s horrific wildfires Dr. Hanson’s ARTICLE omits 3 important aspects

Dear Dr Hanson,

A friend from Santa Monica pointed out 3 important things that your article omitted. Is her critique something you can consider & respond to?


Marty MD

Anonymous critique:

It’s a mix. He’s a Hoover Institute (sic) guy who writes everything with an ideological slant. Some of the article is right: the building of homes where 19th century engineers and planners didn’t foresee; transfer of funds to social services, and to a far, far, lesser degree, conflicting theories in land management, which by the way, has (sic) been an ongoing argument nationally among forest experts – not just in CA.

What he skips over is that 1) most of the forests are national land, managed by the national forest service. Funds for that was (sic) cut, over decades, entirely by Republican lawmakers in DC. He fails to mention that.

2) Past lumber company policies are part of the problem, not the solution, since they (sic) don’t remove dead trees (he glosses over that). When they did operate in the state, they would clear cut huge swaths of forest of mixed species. When they would replant, they planted trees of all one species — the situation in much of our forested land US-wide. As a result, when that species is attacked, by borer beetles, for instance, there are no trees of other species to block the spread, or to fill in where the dead ones fail. to (sic) make things worse, as global warming takes hold, areas that no longer see a hard freeze have moved farther and farther north and with the warmth, overwintering beetles survive to kill more and more trees. In the past they and their larvae were killed each winter and most trees survived. Not anymore. When you fly over much of the rockies (sic) and further west, you see huge expanses of dead trees – victims of borer beetles. When a fire starts, the dead trees go up like tinder. The forest service lacks ANY funds to clear them out. Most of the funds they have these days goes to fire fighting.

So, blaming CA for all of this (as Trump does) is really dishonest. But Hansen (sic) will never point the finger at his Republican friends, it’s always, liberals, environmentalists, etc..

Finally, 3) the southern fire wasn’t in forest land – all scrub and brush.



Dear Not Really Angry Reader Marty MD, and his anonymous critic,

I am afraid your anonymous friend/critic is sorely mistaken, given that, in a fit of projection, she “writes everything with an ideological slant.”

It is also quite difficult to follow her argument because it is grammatically and syntactically incoherent, but I will try to list her errors in the order she makes them:

She knows that, while 60 percent or so of California forests consists of federal lands, state policy partners with federal practice, especially so most recently during the 2009-17 years when the Obama administration’s and California’s environmental policies were mostly synchronized. In the same manner, the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project have often merged policies and work in concert, and the state has a great deal of input in federal agendas. Had Gov. Brown insisted on traditional forest disposal of dead trees and clearing of wood and brush from sick forests (he most recently vetoed, for example, a 2016 bill that would have helped), he might well have encountered federal resistance from the Obama administration, but he did not do that, and instead assumed quite rightly that during the drought years Obama’s federal restrictionist policies, and resistance to human landscaped forests, would be identical to his own.

Note well that post factum, a new Brown is suddenly calling for more cutting and harvesting of dead trees in state forests.

At the federal level, funds for forest management were defined in widely different terms, with Democratic representatives promoting non-interventionist policies and Republicans advocating more vigorous cutting and thinning of forests and with greater input from private enterprise.

The author knows that, during and after the drought, timber companies, to the extent any are viable any longer in California, were eager to readjust existing policies so they could more freely enter sick forests to harvest dead and sick trees. And she knows from hundreds of op-eds, newsletters, and public fora that such adjustments met heated opposition from both environmentalists and state authorities, along the lines of the quotation in the article: namely that existing environmental orthodoxy envisioned dead trees as almost exclusively in situ as a natural resource for the forest ecosystem, and in that sense a plus that outweighed traditional concerns that over 100 million unharvested dead and sick trees would pose a disaster waiting to happen—at least as defined in terms of human safety and security.

The author also certainly realizes that any extended hiking deep into the Sierra National Forest, for example, quickly reveals a great variety in species of pines, firs, and cedars, and that diversity is likewise reflected as well in the wide array of dead and sick tree species. If pines are often the most severely affected by beetles and borers, insect damage also still affects firs and to a less extent cedars. While global warming and past forest practice may be long-term considerations that need to be addressed, most acknowledge that contemporary forest orthodoxy discouraged dead and diseased tree removal both by the Obama and Brown administrations—and we are now reaping what we have sowed.

After four years of drought, we experienced a near record year of precipitation, both rain and snow in 2016-7, followed by a near normal year in 2017-8, and very preliminary indications seems to suggest a normal third year in 2018-9.

Had state and local government simply allowed greater private harvesting of dead trees, the fire danger would have decreased substantially. Such a reluctance was again governed by a rigid orthodoxy that relegated lives and property to secondary considerations. And in a similar manner the viability of timber companies and the economic value of harvesting trees were likewise seen as less important considerations.

Not admitting such an obvious truth is both intellectually dishonest and privileges ideology over empiricism. The anonymous author’s case is not helped by puerile ranting like the following: But Hansen (sic) will never point the finger at his Republican friends, it’s always, liberals, environmentalists, etc..”

Finally, despite what the author alleges (e.g., “the southern fire wasn’t in forest land – all scrub and brush.”), nowhere in the article did I ever write that the southern fire was forest land in the manner that I had referenced numerous other forest fires in the state’s eastern mountain ranges (e.g., “When the rarer southerlies took over, some of the smoke from the 100,000-acre Woolsey fire in the canyons of Malibu arrived from 230 miles distant.”).

Nonetheless, as the author also knows, 1) that the vast majority of the approximately 3 million charred state acreage in 2017 and 2018 occurred in state and federal forests, and 2) elsewhere, the state’s reluctance to promote the thinning of dead scrub, brush, and sporadic stands of dead and diseased broadleaf and evergreen trees in coastal range hillsides, whether by scavenging and cleanup crews or by controlled burns and grazing, also increased the dangers of flash fires by ensuring plenty of dry combustible fuels.

No one is calling for mass strip logging or vast controlled burns and unlimited grazing, but rather for a balanced approach of greater harvesting, managed preventative burns, closer cooperation with grazing and timber interests, and greater worry given to human safety and security—which is tragically not state or federal policy in California.


Victor Davis Hanson

Angry Reader 12-04-2018

From An Angry Reader:

Since you never state that POTUS lies 80-85% of the time when he speaks publicly, what are some examples of his fake news. Who has discredited the main stream news other than POTUS? On a scale of 1 to 10 just how right wing is the Hoover Institute at Stanford University? I look forward to your responses.

George Johnson


Dear Angry Reader George Johnson,

Speaking of scales, you only rate a 1-2 on the Angry Reader metric—and entirely because of the usual ad hominem accusations without any data or evidence.

How exactly do you know that POTUS lies 80-85% of the time (as opposed to 50 or 60 or 90 percent of the time)? Take Trump’s latest and widely criticized broadsides: was Trump really lying when he said that poor forest management helped ensure catastrophic fire damage in California or that the Ninth Federal Circuit Court for Northern California is often predictably biased, and that Judge Jon Tigar is an “Obama judge”? False?

If you wish to rate Hoover’s conservative score simply go on to their website, read the articles of their fellows, and keep tabs; the result might surprise you.

As for “fake news,” I do not have all year to count the myriad of examples. But why not just focus on one network, CNN, and consider just a few of their more recent transgressions?

CNN reporter Manu Raju falsely reported that Donald Trump, Jr. had advanced access to the hacked WikiLeaks documents. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo falsely asserted that only the media could download the hacked emails of John Podesta—as if it was illegal for others to do the same. Why did Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris resign from CNN over their false reporting that Anthony Scaramucci was connected to a $10 billion Russian investment fund? Did not CNN erroneously and serially report that former FBI Director James Comey would contradict President Trump’s assertion that he was told by Comey that he was not under investigation? All this from a network whose panelists and hosts have variously held up a decapitated head of Donald Trump, claimed on air that he was a piece of sh*t, talked about a “dump” on a panelist desk not bothering a Trump supporter, mused about poisoning him, and invoked Nazi imagery to characterize him. CNN staffers were hot micced kidding about his plane crashing, while Donna Brazile repeatedly lied about giving a debate question in advance to Hillary Clinton. One network, and just a tiny sampling of fake news, bias, and obscenity / scatology.

Victor Hanson

One-Eyed-Jack Law

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Robert Mueller’s legal team may write a damning report on Trump’s ethics, based mostly on flipping minor former business associates of Trump’s and transient campaign officials by threatening them with long prison sentences.

So far, we know that the U.S. government decided to intervene in a political campaign to help one candidate and to smear the other — under the pretext of Russian “collusion.” And so it hired or made use of spies and informants including Hank Greenberg, Stefan Halper, Felix Sater, and others to contact Trump campaign officials to catch them in supposed collusion traps. It enlisted the help of foreign intelligence agencies, specifically the British and Australians. It misled FISA courts into granting warrants to spy on Americans and, post factum, threatened long prisons sentences with those surveilled and interviewed. And as a result, it has so far found no collusion but may well find some misleading statements in hundreds of hours of testimonies from the likes of Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and perhaps Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone.

Mueller cannot fulfill the hype of the past 18 months, which forecast that the “all-stars,” the “dream-team,” and the Mueller “army” would make short work of the supposedly buffoonish Trump by proving that he colluded with Russia to swing an election. Collusion, remember, was hyped as doing what the Logan Act, the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, impeachment, media frenzy, and assassination-chic rhetoric had not.

Read the full article here.

Angry Reader 12-03-2018

From An Angry Reader:

This was the worst piece of historical analysis I’ve ever read in any halfway respectable publication. Please ask your alma mater for a refund on all degrees earned. There isnt (sic) enough time in the day to go through all the stupidity you posted, but I will point out what is perhaps the biggest error – your hot take on Brest-Litovsk. There was no sense of internationalism or any ideological factor that caused the reds to sign that treaty – it was the simple fact that they were fighting a civil war and did not need to fight Germany, AH and the Whites.

Craig Johnson


Dear Angry Reader Craig Johnson,

Why all the ad hominem invective? Let your argument speak for itself without the resort to slurs and smears. The tired rhetoric trope that “there is not enough time to list all the errors” usually means there are no errors. You confirm that fact when you list only one—and the supposed “biggest”—which unfortunately reveals your own historical ignorance.

You write:

There was no sense of internationalism or any ideological factor that caused the reds to sign that treaty – it was the simple fact that they were fighting a civil war and did not need to fight Germany, AH and the Whites.”

My take is not “hot,” whatever that silly usage means, but is historically accurate and, in fact, non-controversial. Ideology—specifically the naive Marxist idea of an anticipated global and internationalist communism making the European nation state irrelevant—most certainly was the chief factor in the Bolsheviks’ disastrous signing of such an otherwise humiliating peace—one that was immediately seen as an abject betrayal of their Western allies and allowed the transference of at least 500,000 troops to the Western front.

Many in the nascent Soviet originally and vainly felt that they might at least drag out the humiliating negotiations for weeks in some pathetic expectation that their war-weary Western European “comrades” might in the meantime likewise revolt when learning that the war was ending in the East and a communist revolution was ascendant, and thereby force an end to the war in the West as well and join a communist continental take-over.

A desperate Lenin, a zealot beholden to Marxist ideology, had demanded of the Central Committee that it sign the “humiliating” peace in order to save the “world revolution.”

Your point about the communists’ need to be free to concentrate on the whites and not lose more blood and treasure to Germany and Austria-Hungary is banal and yet of course has the force of nullifying your own adolescent argument: Lenin and the communists were not nationalists, but ideologues, and global ones at that. And they felt confident in the future of a world communist revolution—but only if ensured by its beginning in a viable Soviet Union relieved of conflict, a surrender judged far more important to the international communist agenda than any worry about the individual fate of the old nation-state of Russia. Your own use of “reds” for Soviet communists is itself an internationalist ideological term and concedes that the Russian negotiators saw themselves in 1918 first as committed communist comrades and second, if at all, as Russian nationalists.

Ignorance when coupled with arrogant vitriol is a regrettable.

Victor Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson On Contemporary American Society

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

Traditional values, whether manifested in public policy or contemporary culture, are besieged in today’s America but can still be found in the right places, says Victor Davis Hanson.

Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His focus is on classics and military history. Last year, Hanson won the 2018 Edmund Burke Award, which honors people who have made major contributions to the defense of Western civilization. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Case for Trump, and most recently The Second World Wars.

Hanson was recently interviewed on the subject of traditional culture, public policy, and American culture, which he also wrote about in a National Review essay.

Where in today’s American society can parents look to find traditional culture—art, literature, the humanities—for their children?

The progressive agenda has largely captured popular culture, the media, entertainment, sports, and the university, so one must look to traditional atolls and castles—formally, colleges like Hillsdale, for institutional support the Bradley Foundation, cultural and political journals such as The New Criterion or American Greatness, as well as networks of traditional regions, communities, families, and organizations. Home schooling, traditional religion, and charter schools offer refuges—again, we are talking about salvaging a hallowed Western culture that is either rejected, ignored, or defamed by the majority today.

Read the full article here.

Does ‘Make X Great Again’ Ever Happen in History?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The short answer: Sometimes.

Here’s one example. By 527 A.D., the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople seemed fated to collapse like the West had a near century prior. The Persian Sassanids were gobbling up Byzantine lands in the east. Almost all of old Rome west of Greece had already been lost.

A growing and unsustainable administrative state exercised near control of Constantinople. Christianity was splintering into irrelevant factionalism. The law was a selective mess.

Justinian was certainly an unlikely emperor: an outsider of peasant stock from the northern frontier, an Eastern Latin rather than Greek speaker (and likely the last native Latin-speaking emperor), who would marry an infamous but shrewd courtesan, Theodora.

Yet in some 38 years of sometimes brutal rule, Justinian through the leadership of his brilliant generals, Belisarius and Narses, stabilized the eastern borders. He reclaimed for eastern Rome North Africa, Sicily, much of Italy, and some of Spain, often through small, well-organized armies and prudent alliances. He reformed the bureaucracy, systematized Roman law (Codex Justinianus), and built the magnificent Christian cathedral of Hagia Sophia—the largest church in the world for a thousand years.

Read the full article here.

Is There a 51 Percent Solution for Trump?

Victor Davis Hanson //  American Greatness

President Trump’s challenges are not really his economic policies and foreign affairs agendas. For the most part, they are supported by the American people and are resulting in prosperity at home and security abroad.

The economy continues to deliver near-record-low unemployment, wage gains, strong growth and unmatched energy production.

No nation can remain sovereign and secure with insecure borders. There are few ways to stop massive illegal immigration other than building a wall, insisting on employer sanctions and recalibrating legal immigration to be measured, diverse and meritocratic.

For all the hysteria over Trump’s foreign policy, many observers quietly concede that the U.S. is far tougher on Vladimir Putin and Russia now than Obama was in 2016: stronger sanctions, more help to the Ukrainians and greater NATO expenditures.

Read the full article here.

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