Denigrating Hoover

Victor Davis Hanson // The Stanford Daily

Matt Larson (“Hoover has gone too far,” Nov. 19, 2020) cited me among others in his Stanford Daily angry attack on Hoover Institution scholars. He alleges that we at Hoover are purportedly “more interested in making money and promoting right-wing politics than in doing actual academic research.” Larson also charges that “Hoover fellows constitute a veritable wall of shame. They have been involved in just about every type of skeezy behavior imaginable.” These are serious writs against our institution and yet mostly leveled without substantiation.

My colleagues can address these particular loaded charges of “every type of skeezy behavior imaginable” in their own fashion. But to the degree that these unfounded stereotypes pertain to me, and for the record, I have never received any compensation for media appearances. I am not “making money” on corporate boards. Nor have I ever worked in “right wing politics” — or on any campaign of either party. I am a registered independent voter without party affiliation, and the author of over 20 scholarly books on classical, agrarian and military history and culture. Scholarship, and its dissemination among the broader public, are the major criteria by which all Hoover senior fellows are annually reviewed.

Writing additional political, cultural and social commentary, or appearing on air to discuss written work, is not spreading “disinformation.” That is a false charge that Larson also lodged by focusing solely on one particular television interview I did on Fox News — in part, ironically critical of election coverage on Fox News. But even within such a narrow focus, Larson’s allegations are an unfortunate conglomeration of falsehoods, misrepresentations and half-truths. 

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