Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Where Did the New Mad Left Come From?

Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

Bouts of extreme leftism are frequent in history. Plato’s Apology, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Vladimir Lenin’s What Is to Be Done? — all offer us insight into the mind and methods of the hard Left.

America has experienced surges of mainstream anarchism, socialism, and communism, most profoundly during the late 19th century, amid the Great Depression, during the Soviet-American alliance of World War II and afterward, and in the 1960s. But rarely have these radical movements openly and without apologies made such inroads into and inside government and the establishment as during the past decade.

We had earlier seen massive rioting, looting, and iconoclasm, similar to the chaos of summer 2020. But seldom did they continue with the de facto approval of mayors who restrained the police and turned their downtowns over to virtual occupiers setting up “autonomous” zones. Nor had we see seen city councils defund police operations. New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan were not so much hard-Left Democrats or socialists as they were anarchists who ceded control of parts of American cities to other anarchists.

We cannot recall any district attorney in memory who simply declared that an entire array of crimes no longer existed, and that those convicted of them would be let loose on the public. Yet Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón recently announced that his office will not be charging anyone arrested for making criminal threats, possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia possession, being publicly intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, loitering to commit prostitution, resisting arrest, or a host of other crimes.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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