Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

What Antifa Won’t Tell You

The following article is from my colleague, Paul Roderick Gregory, in The American Mind

Observers of the demonstrations, statue toppling, and riots that followed the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 could not help but notice a distinctive pattern of protest. Legitimate demonstrators stood on the frontline, while stones, Molotov cocktails and other objects were hurled from the rear. Police could not move against the true offenders without breaking through the frontline. At universities, protesters appeared like clockwork armed with signs to disrupt “unwelcome” speakers. These actions all speak to a high degree of coordination and control.

The public has learned to associate these tactics with Antifa (a group whose name stands for “anti-fascist”). Images of Antifa demonstrations show a mostly young, male, and white membership, often armed with police batons. They appear at demonstrations, fight with their opponents, and deny speaking platforms to their enemies. Antifa’s reach is world-wide as it captures the imagination of Millennials.

Yet, almost universally, Antifa is described as a makeshift network of organizations united by a common ideology. Sympathetic media characterize Antifa as a loose network of autonomous activists operating without a control center. Is this true?

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Victor Davis Hanson says violent protesters made ‘Faustian bargain’ with Democrats

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, told Fox News’ the “Ingraham Angle” that it appears as though violent protesters have made some kind of “Faustian bargain” with Democrats that will result in the party being owned by those taking to the streets.

Watch the full video here

Waiting for the Counterrevolution

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

W e are in the midst of a revolution, a cultural and racial one, that seeks to refute the past, damn the present, and hijack the future. So far, however, we have only heard from one side, the revolutionaries and their enablers themselves.

Those trying to reject and then reboot America are small as a percentage of the population, but their tactics are diverse, and their frightened abettors and closet appeasers numerous. The result for now is that, as with most cultural revolutions, a tiny percentage of the population seems to be ascending, given that there is no real organized resistance other than isolated and disgusted individuals.

The cultural revolutionaries are a tripartite group.

On the front lines are the shock troops. For the most part, middle-class urban and suburban white kids, many of them in college, graduated, or dropped out, make up Antifa and its affiliates. They seem to organize the statue toppling, graffiti, and vandalism, as well as the violence at the demonstrations. They show up in ridiculous black-clad Road Warrior outfits, fitted out with cobbled-together hoodies, bicycle helmets, knee pads, and various sports-equipment armor, and occasionally with testudo-like umbrellas and assorted fireworks, rocks, bottle, and bats. All that is a psychodrama far more interesting than showing up at Starbucks at 5 a.m. to start the day’s machinery.

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Where Are the New Heroes of the Revolution?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Since late May, the United States has been convulsed by a cultural revolution unlike any seen in its recent history. Statues have been toppled, often without any logic or consistent grievance. Institutions have been renamed, again without coherent consistency.

Christian iconography has been a common target. Television shows have been taken off the air; particular corporations boycotted; professional sports recalibrated into social activist spectacles. 

If there is any common denominator to this madness, it is apparently that the past was toxic, and erasing it in the present will make for a more just and united future.

For example, because of the glorification of the imperialist and spoiler of native paradise Christopher Columbus, his statue in Chicago must be removed nocturnally by the order of the mayor—in order to restore peace of mind, social justice, and calm. That act of iconoclasm will rectify things in the present, and thus there will not be another 500 annual homicides in Chicago.

But once names are replaced and commemoration destroyed, what exactly follows the erased?

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Trump’s Reactive Engagement

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The United States and indeed the Western world face four quite different challenges on the horizon: China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. All these threats were analyzed at length in the 68-page U.S. National Security Strategy assessment of December 2017, written by then–national-security adviser H. R. McMaster and his staff.

The encompassing theme of that blueprint was dubbed “strategic realism.” In popular parlance it may have been better known as a new “Jacksonianism” — defined loosely as something like the self-composed epitaph of the Roman strongman Sulla found in Plutarch’s life of the general (“No friend had ever surpassed him in doing kindness, and no enemy in doing harm” [οὔτε τῶν φίλων τις αὐτὸν εὖ ποιῶν οὔτε τῶν ἐχθρῶν κακῶς ὑπερεβάλετο]), or perhaps the reactive principle enshrined in the motto of the Stuart dynasty of Scotland, Nemo me impune lacessit — “No one provokes me with impunity.”

One overarching goal of the NSS white paper was to synthesize U.S. and allied interests while isolating enemies and winning over neutrals — and all in the context of a new domestic paradigm of enhancing the economy of the American interior while securing the nation’s borders. That assessment of continued, though recalibrated, engagement abroad explains the considerable increases in U.S. defense spending, the preservation of some 800 military bases and installations, the steady deployment of 170,000 active military personnel overseas, and the assignment of 30,000 State Department officials outside the U.S. Isolationist powers simply do not commit such massive resources outside their borders; declining nations “in retreat” do not allot such forces to protect the interests of so many allies. The aims of restoring economic vitality in the U.S. interior, pressuring China for reciprocal trade, and establishing a secure southern border and energy independence are not just campaign props, but foreign-policy assets that allow America to extend its strategic reach, if need be, well beyond its borders and on its own terms.

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Victor Davis Hanson: Not your parents’ revolution — how today’s anarchists differ from 60s protesters

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

In the 1960s and early ’70s, the U.S. was convulsed by massive protests calling for radical changes in the country’s attitudes on race, class, gender and sexual orientation. The Vietnam War and widespread college deferments were likely the fuel that ignited prior peaceful civil disobedience.

Sometimes the demonstrations became violent, as with the Watts riots of 1965 and the protests at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Terrorists from the Weathermen (later called the Weather Underground) bombed dozens of government buildings.

The ’60s revolution introduced to the country everything from hippies, communes, free love, mass tattooing, commonplace profanity, rampant drug use, rock music and high divorce rates to the war on poverty, massive government growth, feminism, affirmative action and race/gender/ethnic college curricula.

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The Faustian Bargains of the Woke NBA

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The nba should be delighted. Its once American sport is now globalized. Its talented players, who have redefined the very game itself, are the best by far in the world.

Many have become cultural icons, and a few are now billionaires. Indeed, the players are very rich, the owners far richer. The league’s geniuses weigh in with lectures on culture and politics. And the NBA’s public relations are Machiavellian in their ability to make corporatism seem hip.

That said, a number of proverbial NBA chickens are coming home to roost.

No one quite knows how much money the National Basketball Association, its individual teams, and the players all make off playing, and merchandising their multifarious brands, in China.

Some estimates suggest that the NBA’s various Chinese markets reach $6 billion in profits and more — not surprising, given 1.4 billion new potential consumers.

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Will 2021 Be 1984?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Cultural revolutions are insidious and not just because they seek to change the way people think, write, speak, and act. They are also dangerous because they are fueled by self-righteous sanctimoniousness, expressed in seemingly innocuous terms such as “social activism,” “equality,” and “fairness.”

The ultimate aim of the Jacobin, Bolshevik, or Maoist is raw power—force of the sort sought by Hugo Chavez or the Castro dynasty to get rich, inflict payback on their perceived enemies, reward friends, and pose as saviors.

Cubans and Venezuelans got poor and killed; woke Chavezes and Castros got rich and murderous.

Leftist agendas are harder to thwart than those of right-wing dictators such as Spain’s Francisco Franco because they mask their ruthlessness with talk of sacrifice for the “poor” and concern about the “weak.” 

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Why Putin Fears The Shaman’s Exorcism

The following article is from my colleague, Paul Roderick Gregory, in The Hoover Institution 

Yakutia is a vast swath of permafrost in far eastern Siberia. Its capital, Yakutsk, the world’s second coldest city, lies just south of the polar circle. Yakutsk was built by Gulag labor for its diamonds and gold. Its current governor, Aysen Nikolaev, belongs to Putin’s United Russia party. The fortunate Nikolaev also has a lucrative seat on the board of Russia’s largest diamond mine, which is located in his state. 

Loyal governors are supposed to deliver for Putin when it counts. For example, they were expected to deliver an overwhelming vote for the July 1 constitutional amendments that will allow Putin to serve two more terms until 2036. 

Russia’s governors did indeed deliver for Putin, and they did so by hook or by crook. The last public opinion polls prior to the referendum had 41 percent voting for the amendments (24 percent undecided). By the end of voting on July 1, 79 percent had supposedly voted for the amendments. 

Yakutia had the largest percentage of negative votes – at 41 percent– among the federal regions. With more than twenty million falsified votes nationwide, as estimated by Russian election experts, Yakutia’s real vote likely was for rejection – a rebuke for local officials and for the Kremlin. 

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The NFL Is on the Brink

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The National Football League celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. This should be a time of self-congratulation for the brutal sport, which has no similar counterpart outside the United States.

The NFL’s megaprofits dwarf those of other professional sports in the U.S. The Super Bowl, not the World Series, is America’s national sports event.

The league survived all sorts of crises in the past. It was one of the first professional sports to integrate its teams, doing so in the 1920s. But the integration unfortunately ceased, and the NFL didn’t reintegrate until the mid ’40s, becoming one of the last sports leagues to embrace fully a racially blind meritocracy.

The NFL successfully absorbed the rival American Football League in 1966. So far the NFL has avoided federal safety regulations that could curb the incidence of physical trauma inherent in the sport.

The league’s owners are a cross-section of America’s most successful entrepreneurs and old-money families — many of them politically well-connected.

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