Table Talk

Listen to Victor Davis Hanson talk with Sami Winc about the Plutarch (46-119AD), his work and his legacy.

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13 thoughts on “Table Talk”

  1. Carol from Gilbert

    Words are inadequate to express my continued delight (over many years) in your sharing with your enraptured reading and listening audience a portion of your immense erudition. The podcast on Plutarch was particularly welcomed by a latter-day ancient history aficionado such as I. Whenever I feel the Greek verb forms are impossible to learn, you buoy me up! Thanks so much, Victor. You are a true friend of the mind.

  2. I really enjoyed this talk on Plutarch etc.
    Thanks so much.Wonderful rule of the ‘third generation’.Very instructive.I worry nowadays what the younger generation will do with the gift of civilisation.The signs and symptoms do not look very auspicious!

  3. Loved your podcast, as I love all of the others but I wish you would stop “quoting” Hillary Clinton saying that she was too tired. She actually said the opposite: I don’t feel no ways “tarred”. I come too far from where I started from…..
    Here is a link where you can listen to it yourself.;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1643556793/RO=10/

  4. Sorry to write about something out of context:

    I love your stories about farming and about the farming of the ancient greeks. I just recently came across a book I wanted to provide you some quotes from. It describes among other subjects the activities of the Benedictine munks:

    Wherever they came [..] they converted the wilderness into a cultivated country; they pursued the breeding of cattle and agriculture, labored with they own hands, drained morasses, and cleared away forests. By them Germany was rendered a fruitful country. (page 29)

    Another historian records that, “every Benedictine monastery was an agricultural college for the whole region in which it was located.” (page 29)

    Even the nineteenth-century French statesman and historian Francois Guizot, who was not especially sympathetic to the Catholic Church, observed: “The Benedictine monks were the agriculturalists of Europe; they cleared it on a large scale, associating agriculture with preaching.” (page 29)

    From the book: “How the Catholic Church built Western civilization”

    Have a nice Sunday and God bless you!

  5. This is great stuff. I have no idea what the web-traffics shows, but I love to hear Victor talk about the ancient world, military matters, farming & family, culture, etc.

    The national politics has become exhausting and repetitive from every direction. You can’t escape it’s vortex of anger and grievance.

    Listening to Victor on these topics is a great relief to the mind and the spirit.

    Keep ’em coming please!

  6. So where does Thrasybulus fit in in the generational cycle? I’m also curious about multi-generational poverty like my Quebecois farming ancestors(they didn’t lose all their land in Quebec and Vermont for lack of trying circa 1911) or my Irish-American ancestors who were trapped in the mills (until they turned soldiers) and then spun propellers at Prat Whitney or my Italian-American side that lost their wealth because American law and customs are set up to militate against multi-generational wealth? There was a lot of hard work that went no where and (the Italians excepted) a lot of alcoholism, abuse, affairs, disenchantment after military service, mental illness and suicide.

    When it comes to ancient Greek women, don’t forget the courtesans like Aspasia (speach writer) Phryne (massive wealth) etc. Sappho (a declasse aristocrat) was also an educator. In Acts, you get Lydia who owned a dye-works. Hellenistic female artists were given honorary citizenship. So there’s a theme of growing female empowerment that starts with giving up social respectability to participate in society to the eventual creation of space for respectable women to actively participate in business and politics.

  7. In 2009 having read works by Tyler Cowen, Nouriel Roubini, Francis Fukuyama and James Galbraith to help understand the way forward from 2008 I found that I came back to Paul Kennedy’s ‘Rise and Fall of the Great Powers’ a book that I first read in 1987 when I was only 22 years old. Back in 1987 it appeared that Japan and Germany would overtake the U.S. as premier economies. But then came the collapse of Japanese banks, the huge economic and social cost of integrating East Germany into a greater Germany, and then the opening of the Communist Chinese market, invention of the internet, and proliferation of easy credit. So again I thought in 2009 when our economy came tumbling down that that was it, the U.S. had run its course as the premier economy. And then came fracking and a President who beginning in 2016 relaxed regulations, cut taxes and expanded our economy by de-coupling from global “Equity” treaties – to my shock and relief here we were in the beginning 2019 with a booming economy, secure borders, and global peace – still the mightiest nation on Earth. It’s just remarkable that we have been the beneficiaries of a fortuities bit of history, geography, and a nation blessed with universal respect for law, meritocracy and willingness to admit mistakes and correct them. It’s going to take another miracle to get us out of this jam but I just think intuitively that this is the end post-WW2 status and perhaps even the end of 246 years of what made this nation great.


    What you describe of the immigrant families, around 0:36:00, is the story of my mother’s family, Professor Hanson. They came from Italy around 1900, were dirt-poor, but worked hard and made something of themselves.
    And the next generation saw members of the family go to college-because they brought with them from the Old Country that awe of the university, the education that was available only to a very few. Those were members of “The Greatest Generation.”
    And the family grew, in number and in wealth, but yes, we reached a point at which we’re not adding to it, we’re sinking into decadence.
    The drive to make life better has made us greedy for creature comfort, at the sacrifice of discipline.
    Worshipping a university education has made us disdainful of physical work.

    I think Dennis Prager has expressed it best: The Greatest Generation survived the Depression, and defeated the Nazis, the Imperial Japanese, and Communism. And they said, “We want to give our children everything we didn’t have”. But in doing so, they failed to give their children the thing they did have-their values. They failed to pass along their values.

    It’s interesting, too, when I think of that generation, my grandmother’s generation, all the men steelworkers, all the women working in the silk and textile miles, how poor they were, how hard they worked, but how happy they were, in spite of it.

    I don’t know if we can turn the ship around; she handles like a barge.

    1. I’m glad they were happy! My Northern Italian relatives benefited from iron discipline and careful building of capital in the carabean before entering the US through Canada. They had money in the Great Depression which they were extremely generous with, but they also functioned as an entire kinship network to pool wealth and spread costs. The postwar economy and inheritance laws forced them to all split up, dividing the wealth and destroying the kinship network as America (see Tocqueville) is designed to do. Does that match with any of your people’s story?

  9. Thank you. I have friends who ask, “How can you listen to all that historical stuff?”
    I ask, “Without history, what does one use for context?”
    A life without context is the life of a house cat, pleasant enough when things are pleasant; but a life without challenges or goals, spent living in apprehension of anything new, distrustful of progress, and totally dependent on others’ benevolence.

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