Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Ancient History

The World of the Coliseum

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

I woke up one morning not long ago, and noticed that the world that I was born into no longer exists. It was as if I had once lived in Republican Italy, took a nap, and awoke to the Roman 472px-Carl_Gustav_Carus_-_Das_Kolosseum_in_einer_MondnachtEmpire, AD 200.

Latifundia

Let me explain. All the farms in these environs that I grew up with — 40-80 acres with a farmhouse and family — have simply vanished.

Where did they go?

I suppose when I meet someone with 5,000 acres that I am supposed to think that spread represents the old, and now recombined, 100 50-acre farms under new management. Yet where did the 100 farm households go — and what replaced them?

When I ride around the rural landscape, I see the old skeletons of farmhouses; but they are mostly rented to farm workers.  Are the social circumstances of renting a house and working on a 5,000-acre farm different from 100 agrarian households doing it — in terms of local PTA, Little League, the regional hospital board, or city council?

I leave it to you to decide. I can attest only that in terms of agricultural productivity, today’s 8,000-acre almond operations look far more efficient, up to date, and savvy than what 100 80-acre almond orchards used to seem like: old barn, clunky tractors in the yard, kids out in the orchard not up on the latest scientific approaches to fertilization, mom doing the books in a way the computerized corporate whiz kid would laugh at, tight-fisted gramps hobbling about looking for loose tire-popping nails in the alleyway while giving sermons about avoiding a mortgage. Read more →

Revolutionary Tribunals

Our courts have too often become expressions of the popular will.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

In ancient Athens, popular courts of paid jurors helped institutionalize fairness. If a troublemaker like Socrates was thought to be a danger to the popular will, then he was put on trial for inane charges like “corrupting the youth” or “introducing new gods.” Read more →

The Stagnant Mediterranean

Socialism and Islamism don’t foster a climate of economic growth and security.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

From the heights of Gibraltar you can see Africa about nine miles away to the south — and gaze eastward on the seemingly endless Mediterranean, which stretches 2,400 miles to Asia.  Read more →

Why Read Old Books?

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

We all know the usual reasons why we are prodded to read the classics — moving characters, seminal ideas, blueprints of our culture, and paradigms of sterling prose and poetry. Then we nod and snooze. Read more →

The Ancient World As It Was

by Cody Carlson

The Deseret News

Review of The End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson, Bloomsbury Press, 2011 Read more →

Excerpts: The End of Sparta

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

The End of Sparta [2] comes out today. Now and then I will post excerpts from the novel. Read more →

Why Does the Good Life End?

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

A Look Back

People just don’t disappear. Look at Germany in 1946 or Athenians in 339 B.C. Read more →

The California Corridor: Some Lessons on Government Largesse From the New Frontier

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

The Great Warpath

This summer it has been a softer, modern version of living in a cabin on the Great Warpath circa 1740 near Albany or Montreal (in this regard, take a look at Eliot Cohen’s new book Conquered into Liberty on the origins of the American way of war), readying oneself for the next break-in — so our inland “California Corridor” has become from Bakersfield to Sacramento. Read more →

Do We Need Politicians Who Are Smart or Virtuous?

by Bruce S. Thornton

Advancing a Free Society

“The president isn’t very bright,” Bret Stephens writes in The Wall Street Journal, an assessment that raises an important question: Is “intelligence” necessary in a president? Read more →

The Demagogic Style

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

The noun dêmagôgos first appeared in Thucydides’ history, mostly in a neutral, only slight disparaging way (usually in reference to the obstreperous Cleon), in its literal sense of “leader of the people.” Read more →

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