From an Angry Reader:

This was written with the notion that we can have a mutual exchange of ideas.



Victor Davis Hanson (sic) commentary (I assume it is Dr. Hanson) is very quiet and unassuming along with his Rodney King, “Why can’t we just get along,” attitude coupled with, ” everybody’s opinion is valid,” is simply irksome at best.  Many people Dr. Hanson have varied skills and have worked in several job capacities.  You assume that the people in the cities are trying to impose their values on the rest of the country and you are correct, we are.

There are some things worth fighting for, worth striving for, and worth dying for–at least our fore bearers (sic) believed as much.  Dr. Hanson shows the same kind of disrespect he commenting (sic) on rather than the tolerance that he supposedly espouses.

Dr. Hanson Stanford has an International Relations department (sic) no?  This a (sic) discipline for which Trump and his team seem to have so little respect. Do you not believe in the proponents of feminism, nor a woman’s right to her own body? What about freedom of speech, the free press, and accountability? Do you know what Clinton and President Trump value? When you know that it is not unlike knowing the difference between engine oil and hydraulic fluid.

Tom Claxton, Teacher

Leask, Saskatchewan, Canada

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Tom Claxton,

Dear Tom Claxton,

I assume that you are a teacher, but your letter is almost incomprehensible; was there something wrong with your electronic submission? Words and punctuation marks seem left out to the point that your meaning is almost impossible to fathom.

Otherwise, you fulfill all the requisites to make our Angry Reader posting: ad hominem attacks; no argument or examples to support your charges; and sarcasm and snark.

Thank you for at least admitting that “people in the cities are trying to impose their values on the rest of the country and you are correct, we are.” I think that would include everything from our $20 trillion in national debt to anemic economic growth to our third-world infrastructure.

When you say “there are some things worth fighting for, worth striving for, and worth dying for—at least our fore bearers (sic) believed as much” could you at least list them?

But to do so would suggest that you believe “things” like freedom (?), liberty (?) and security (?) were only the concerns of the city? Second, for most of the history of the United States and certainly through the early twentieth century, the majority of Americans were either rural or lived in small towns and cities, so “the rest of the country” was largely a story of being on the front lines in the nation’s wars. To read the correspondence of the Founders (Jefferson especially) is largely to read paeans to the countryside and farming and warnings about the dangers of urbanization and its culture for free and consensual government.

Where to start when you finally mention some details to respond to? What does Stanford’s International Relations Department have to do with the essay in question? Do you really believe that the proverbial academic “best and brightest” have an impressive record in foreign policy?

I define feminism as women being accorded equal rights to men under the law, and enjoying equal relations culturally, economically, and socially in a tolerant society—and thus “feminism” could be expressed in a number of ways and examples, from my maternal grandmother (one of 12 children who grew up on the frontier and kept an entire family together during the Depression on a farm, raised children and died at 93, or my mother who was a Stanford Law graduate and one of the first women on the California state appeals court.) Each sought a very different pathway; both were feminists in being powerful women who demanded and obtained equal rights and consideration. I don’t know exactly what their views were on abortions, but they did not equate the issue with feminism or with control of their own bodies, given the concerns of a living fetus, whose early viability in the womb is not subject to debate and whose future and safety are of interest to society at large.

Your simile of hydraulic fluid and engine oil is incoherent, fatal to any such metaphorical abstraction. Your initial sentence is a grammatical mess that makes comprehension almost impossible.

Are you suggesting in your reference to free speech and a free press that President Trump is now monitoring the correspondence of Associated Press reporters, tapping the communications of reporter James Rosen, sending memoranda to colleges to suspend due process in matters of alleged sexual assault on campus, allowing the IRS to go after political enemies and to leak tax returns, or jailing a video maker on false allegations that he caused a riot in Benghazi? Or do you mean he has set up a secret email server to communicate White House business without an electronic record, or that he has deleted his communications?

Sadly for all your passion, you never once actually say what are the values that city people are trying to impose on others. To take recent issues: is it transgendered restrooms? Cessation of investment and maintenance of rural infrastructure? NAFTA? TPP? Impressive cultural accomplishment such as the work of Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé or Madonna?

I appreciate your outreach, e.g., “This was written with the notion that we can have a mutual exchange of ideas.” But for that to happen, as a teacher, you know that you must first express your ideas coherently and in detail rather than merely offer generalities, with no specificity or examples, but replete with sarcasm.


Victor Davis Hanson

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