Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

The New, New Anti-Semitism

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The old anti-Semitism was mostly, but not exclusively, a tribal prejudice expressed in America up until the mid 20th century most intensely on the right. It manifested itself from the silk-stocking country club and corporation (“gentlemen’s agreement”) to the rawer regions of the Ku Klux Klan’s lunatic fringe.

While liberals from Joe Kennedy to Gore Vidal were often openly anti-Semitic, the core of traditional anti-Semitism, as William F. Buckley once worried, was more rightist. And such fumes still arise among the alt-right extremists.

Yet soon a new anti-Semitism became more insidious, given that it was a leftist phenomenon among those quick to cite oppression and discrimination elsewhere. Who then could police the bigotry of the self-described anti-bigotry police?

The new form of the old bias grew most rapidly on the 1960s campus and was fueled by a number of leftist catalysts. The novel romance of the Palestinians and corresponding demonization of Israel, especially after the 1967 Six-Day War, gradually allowed former Jew-hatred to be cloaked by new rabid and often unhinged opposition to Israel. In particular, these anti-Semites fixated on Israel’s misdemeanors and exaggerated them while excusing and downplaying the felonies of abhorrent and rogue nations.

Read the full article here.

The Game of Pseudo-Authenticity

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Americans always have been prone to reinventing themselves.

We now live in an age of radical social construction—a sort of expansive update on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American notion of becoming anyone one pleases.

One common denominator, however, seems to govern today’s endless search for some sort of authenticity: a careerist effort to separate oneself from the assumed dominant and victimizing majority of white heterosexual and often Christian males.

Ironically, the quest for a superficial separation from the majority comes at a time when the majority has never been so committed to the promise of the Declaration of Independence and when equal opportunity has become a reality rather than an abstract ideal.

Yet in our new binary society, we all have a choice to be seen either as victims or victimizers. And thus we make the necessary adjustments for the often more lucrative and careerist choice.

Read the full article here.

The Ironies of Illegal Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Estimates suggest that there are eleven million to 13 million Mexican citizens currently living in the United States illegally. Millions more emigrated previously and are now U.S. citizens.

A recent poll revealed that one-third of Mexicans (34 percent) would like to emigrate to the United States. With Mexico having a population of about 130 million, that amounts to some 44 million would-be immigrants.

Such massive potential emigration into the United States makes no sense.

First, Mexico is a naturally rich country. It ranks 19th in the world in proven oil reserves and is currently the twelfth-largest oil producer. Mexico certainly has significantly more natural advantages than do far wealthier per capita Singapore, Taiwan, or Chile.

Mexico also is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and earns billions in foreign exchange from visitors. It enjoys a temperate climate, is rich in minerals, and has millions of acres of fertile farmland and a long coastline.

Read the full article here.

Can Higher Education Be Saved?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

America is schizophrenic about its major universities and, to a lesser extent, its undergraduate colleges.

On the one hand, higher education’s professional schools in medicine and business, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs in math, science, and engineering, are the world’s best. America dominates the lists of the top universities compiled in global surveys conducted from the United Kingdom to Japan.

On the other hand, the liberal arts and social sciences have long ago mostly lost their reputations. Go online to Amazon or to the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, and the books on literature, art, and history are often not the products of university professors and presses.

Few believe any more that current liberal-arts programs have prepared graduates to write persuasively and elegantly, to read critically and to think inductively while drawing on a wide body of literary, linguistic, historical, artistic, and philosophical knowledge. In fairness, that is no longer the aim of higher education. When students at tony colleges present petitions objecting to free speech or the right of guests to give lectures, they are usually full of grammatical errors and often incoherent.

Read the full article here.

Actually, 2018 Was a Pretty Good Year

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The year 2018 will be deplored by pundits as a bad year of more unpredictable Donald Trump, headlined by wild stock market gyrations, the melodramas of the Robert Mueller investigation, and the musical-chair tenures of officials in the Trump Administration.

The government is still shut down. Talk of impeachment by the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is in the air. Seemingly every day there are sensational breakthroughs, scandals, and bombshells that race through social media and the Internet—only to be forgotten by the next day.

In truth, aside from the Washington hysterias, 2018 was a most successful year for Americans.

In December, the United States reached a staggering level of oil production, pumping some 11.6 million barrels per day. For the first time since 1973, America is now the world’s largest oil producer

Since Trump took office, the United States has increased its oil production by nearly 3 million barrels per day, largely as the result of fewer regulations, more federal leasing, and the continuing brilliance of American frackers and horizontal drillers.

Read the full article here.

An Epidemic of Erasures, Redactions, Omissions, and Perjuries

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Imagine the following: The IRS sends you, John Q. Citizen, a letter alleging you have not complied with U.S. tax law. In the next paragraph, the tax agency then informs you that it needs a series of personal and business documents. Indeed, it will be sending agents out to discuss your dilemma and collect the necessary records.

But when the IRS agents arrive, you explain to them that you cannot find about 50 percent of the documents requested, and have no idea whether they even exist. You sigh that both hard copies of pertinent information have unfortunately disappeared and hard drives were mysteriously lost.

You nonchalantly add that you smashed your phone, tablet, and computer with a hammer. You volunteer that, of those documents you do have, you had to cut out, blacken or render unreadable about 30 percent of the contents. After all, you have judged that the redacted material either pertains to superfluous and personal matters such as weddings and yoga, or is of such a sensitive nature that its release would endanger your company or business or perhaps even the country at large.

You also keep silent that you have a number of pertinent documents locked up in a safe hidden in your attic unknown to the IRS. Let them find it, you muse. And when the agents question your unilateral decisions over hours of interrogatories, you remark to them on 245 occasions that you have no memory of your acts—or you simply do not have an answer for them.

Read the full article here.

It Was Always about the Wall

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

There was likely never going to be “comprehensive immigration reform” or any deal amnestying the DACA recipients in exchange for building the wall. Democrats in the present political landscape will not consent to a wall. For them, a successful border wall is now considered bad politics in almost every manner imaginable.

Yet 12 years ago, Congress, with broad bipartisan support, passed the Secure Fence of Act of 2006. The bill was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush to overwhelming public applause. The stopgap legislation led to some 650 miles of a mostly inexpensive steel fence while still leaving about two-thirds of the 1,950-mile border unfenced.

In those days there were not, as now, nearly 50 million foreign-born immigrants living in the United States, perhaps nearly 15 million of them illegally.

Sheer numbers have radically changed electoral politics. Take California. One out of every four residents in California is foreign-born. Not since 2006 has any California Republican been elected to statewide office.

The solidly blue states of the American Southwest, including Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, voted red as recently as 2004 for George W. Bush. Progressives understandably conclude that de facto open borders are good long-term politics.

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The Departure of Mattis and Engagements in the Middle East

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The near-destruction of ISIS in a matter of months (losing 99 percent of its landed caliphate), the restoration of sound defense budgeting, a reestablished sense of deterrence, and stable recalibration with allies were the signature achievements of James Mattis. And it seems a mistake not to have him finish a four-year stint at Defense.

No doubt continued U.S. deployments in both Afghanistan and Syria loomed large in Trump’s sudden decision to leave the latter even if it would cause Mattis’s departure, as well as the sense that as 2020 looms he wants MAGA orthodoxy throughout the cabinet.

The abrupt pulling of U.S. troops out of Syria is likely a mistake — given that for the size (about 2,000 troops on the ground) and cost of the deployment (few casualties), we were keeping ISIS moribund, somewhat checking Iran as well as Russia, and protecting the Kurds and what was left of the democratic Syria resistance. True, Syria was a mess, unlike a relatively stable Iraq in late 2011 (see the comments of Vice President Biden and President Obama), when the U.S. likewise abruptly left and opened the door for ISIS.  Yet Syria’s future now is either going to be much more of a mess or soon a calmer colony of Russia and Iran.

No doubt the U.S. will likewise be reexamining the soon to be 18-year-long slog in Afghanistan.

Read the full article here.

The Liberal Arts Weren’t Murdered — They Committed Suicide

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The great culture wars on the campuses of the 1980s were largely lost by traditionalists. And the question then became not if but when the liberal arts would die off as a result. What is strange nearly 40 years later is that the apparent outrage over what was clearly foreordained is now becoming fact. What did academia expect, given its years of academic specialization and politicized indoctrination?

Recently the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point announced plans to drop liberal-arts majors in geography, geology, French, German, two- and three-dimensional art — and historyThe Atlantic ran a well-meaning essay by Adam Harris on the controversial move, “The Liberal Arts May Not Survive the 21st Century” — again, a topic much in the news recently. The article’s chief thrust is that insidious efforts to promote STEM vocationalism — the need to prepare young people for careers requiring extensive math and science skill sets — has driven out the need for more in-depth focus on the liberal arts, in a climate in which crass Republican state legislators, in allegedly vindictive and short-sighted fashion, demanded catastrophic cuts in state public higher-education budgets.

The Stevens Point campus highlighted a popular perception that emphases in literature, history, or languages lead nowhere for cash-strapped graduates but to more debt and fewer jobs. Yet what the article on official university policy misses is why students do not concentrate in the liberal arts in the fashion of the past.

Read the full article here.

The Globalist Mindset: They Hate You

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Against what or whom is the contemporary Western public pushing back?

The French non-Parisians against new green taxes on already unaffordable gasoline? Broke southern European Union nations against the financial demands of German bankers? The Eastern Europeans against French and German open-border mandates?

The British masses against both the EU and their own government that either cannot or will not follow the will of the people and implement Brexit? The American populists against outsourcing, offshoring, and illegal immigration?

The common target of all these populist pushbacks is an administrative and cultural elite that shares a set of transnational and globalist values and harbors mostly contempt for the majority of their own Neanderthal citizens who are deemed hopelessly unwoken to environmental, racial, gender, and cultural inevitabilities.

Read the full article here.

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