Couldn’t, Shouldn’t Be President

On this weekend edition, cohost Sami Winc asks Victor Davis Hanson to talk about historical figures who tried but failed to become president: Aaron Burr, Henry Clay, and William Jennings Bryan. Victor finishes with an excursus on the Democrat’s dilemma in the midterms.

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13 thoughts on “Couldn't, Shouldn't Be President”

  1. It is heart warming to hear Dr. Hanson recognize Fredric March as one of the greats, he is mine. My first March film was Death Takes a Holiday and the second was The Eagle and the Hawk, one of the most profound war films I had seen, and then later to see him in The Best Years of Our Lives it came full circle. I have every film March made. Thank You, VDH

  2. Hi Sami,

    I am not very educated, but I tried to convince my kids (14 & 16) to read the great books of Western Civilization. I am going through Hillsdale’s Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval and some of the literature they are teaching has a lot of sex in it, and it is quite ugly. For example in Oedipus, who is prophesied at birth to kill his father and commit incest with his mother. The David story, who slept with another man’s wife, and kill her husband and married the woman. The guy participated in the rape of his daughter, and the assination of his son.

    I am sure this question get asked a lot by parents. How do you expose young people to these great books, without corrupting their young minds? In fact, at 50 year old, I feel even my mind was a bit corrupted by this stuff. And, I am a guy who grew up in the ghetto, came from refugee camps, watched countless numbers of gruesome western and gangster movies. Can Victor talk abount sex/incest in ancient text on your next podcast?

    1. Let me try this as a former 7-12 classical educator. The classical tradition tries to help kids find their place in a world that is simultaneously bursting with Goodness, Truth and Beauty as well as Evil, Error, and ugliness. It doesn’t seek to hide the truth from children that there are monsters out there but tries to teach them that monsters can be fought. That’s the big picture. Seminal k-12 educators in England and America have tended to add the caveat that children should not be exposed to material that they cannot process in a healthy way. Veggytales was able to recount the story of David and Bathsheba in the cartoon King George and the Bath Ducky, for instance. So if a child is deeply disturbed by what they are reading or can’t ask intelligent questions about the material after a certain point (see the “Mommy, where do babies come from” question), then that’s a good indication that the reading and readings like it are not appropriate for them.

  3. I feel a little bit hopeless this morning. I have my son sitting next to me, and I read this short summary from hillsdale college to him as I did not understand it:

    C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, Lewis argued that truth, beauty, and the good are not merely a matter of personal preference. Teaching such a view, Lewis warned, would lead to the abolition of man.

    I thought it means teaching truth, beauty and good would lead to abolition of man. That seems wrong, so I asked my son.

    He said, it means it needs to be taught as a matter of personal preference. Haha I think I understand it now. It is better to be ignorant than to learn the wrong lessons.

    1. “truth, beauty, and the good are not merely a matter of personal preference”

      It means that truth, beauty, and goodness are objective, not subjective.

      Their second sentence should be corrected:

      “Teaching [that truth, beauty, and good are merely a matter of preference], Lewis warned, would lead to the abolition of man.”

      i.e. Moral relativism will lead to the destruction of man.

    2. The Abolition of Man is Lewis’ educational masterwork. It doesn’t pull punches and was originally a series of addresses to educators. The summary you mentioned means this: Goodness, Truth and Beauty are objectively Real and NOT matters of personal opinion. Children should be taught to match their personal opinions against timeless moral, intellectual, and artistic standards to see if their own opinions hold water

  4. Thanks for the information on Stephen Ambrose. I recently read “Crazy Horse & Custer”. While reading it seemed to have a “Leftist” bent. So this explains it.

    Evolution came into your discussion. You may want to invite some of the top scientists like James Tour, Stephen Meyer, & others that refute much of the doctrine. The mainstream cancel-culture silences this evidence.


      Ambrose’s WWII books are relatively free of a political bias, though. If you haven’t read them, they are worth reading.

  5. Richard Borgquist

    Who went broke after two year pursuit? Grandfather or culprit?
    Current Circulating Coins – No Silver veneer
    Penny – Copper Plated Zin
    Dime, Quarter, Half-Dollar – Cupro-Nickel
    Dollar – Manganese-Brass

  6. Burr got a bad rap. He may have been the first victim of a political hoax, orchestrated by Thomas Jefferson, who apparently embezzled monies from the State Department to aid himself politically.
    Maybe someone someday will produce a musical to tell his side, using Vidal’s novel as a basis.

  7. I’m new here and really enjoying your point of view. I do have a question. I’m thinking a presidential veto needs 66 votes, not 60 votes, to be overturned in the Senate. Is that correct? Thank you.

  8. Charles Carroll

    Couple of thoughts on the “science” opposing creationism:
    1. Hoover Institution Uncommon Knowledge has a podcast; Mathematical Challenges To Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution, With David Berlinski, Stephen Meyer, And David Gelernter – Monday, July 22, 2019. Basically, there hasn’t been enough time for the evolutionary process to have produced us.
    2. People like to say that only uneducated dolts could believe that a creator produced the universe. Sir Isaac Newton is generally considered to have been rather intelligent and he believed it.
    3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics generally states that things left to themselves result in increasing entropy (randomness). Things rust, decompose. It takes INTERVENTION to impose order. If the Big Bang occurred, then it produced a whole lot of randomness. It will have taken intervention to coalesce that far flung matter into atoms, suns, planets, etc. By the way, where did the mass that exploded come from?
    I realize that we tend to anthropomorphize this creative force but the existence of such a force is reasonable.

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