From an Angry Reader:
As a fine historian (but poor political scientist) you know quite well that Andrew Jackson was a national hero with a distinguished military career. The Donald is a former casino owner and reality TV show star. It is a long stretch to compare them. Further, a column replete with disjointed and frankly random comments about California infrastructure and Obama, while cryptically arguing against a mysterious and undefinable elite, would surely earn you poor marks. Stunned they published that dribble. You wrote “A War Like No Other”—I expect much better. In any event, and more importantly, the real issues facing America are the undermining of Pax Americana—our world, our institutions, and created for our benefit. These are being threatened by a reckless President who fails to understand that he destroying the West from within (unless, and even more disturbingly, he does). That is the geopolitical column that needs to be written. I hope you do. Thanks in advance. Steve
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
Angry Reader Steve Fardy
Do you understand how proper adjectives like “Jacksonian” work?
To say Trump is Freudian would not mean his life mirror imaged Sigmund Freud, any more than to describe one as Churchillian or Reaganesque demands perfect correlations. Trump is an outsider like Jackson; and also like him, Trump appeals to working-classes aggrieved at a political class, largely on issues of economic and cultural nationalism. All that is Jacksonian, whatever the disconnect between the actual lives of Trump and Jackson. Trump did not kill someone in a duel, commit bigamy, implement the Trail of Tears, or dare the Chief Justice to enforce his ruling—does that disconnect with Jackson bother you as well?
What earns you poor marks is an inability to cite specifics in your criticism rather than the boilerplate “random comments” or “cryptically arguing,” as well of course your reliance on the progressive ad hominem boilerplate (e.g., “Stunned they published that dribble”).
The status of California infrastructure is a matter of record; check Forbes or other business periodicals’ rating of California freeways and roads, and you will find them at the bottom of state rankings—despite the state’s astronomical taxes. The same is true of school test scores: among the highest taxes of the states, and among the bottom tier in terms of public schools. Please refute that assertion. Do you dispute the idea that “experts” (aka “elites”) in education, politics, and social policy gave us that disconnect of near record tax rates and lousy infrastructure, schools, and quality of life.
Again, is it ignorance or intellectual laziness that stops you from providing one concrete example to illustrate what you mean by “undermine Pax Americana”?
Has the U.S. under Trump in 70 days become estranged from the Gulf States and Israel? Has Trump cut a deal with Iran by bypassing the Senate through creating a media “echo chamber”? Did he bomb Libya without congressional approval? Did he reset with Russia that ended up with annexations of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine? Did he sit back and watch 500,000 die in Syria? Did Trump leave our southern border wide-open? Did he craft a new “lead from behind” foreign policy? Ask traditional allies like Egypt, Israel, Japan, South Korea, or Canada what their views of Pax America were like the last eight years. Has Trump set faux deadlines, step-over, and redlines?
All that is a letter that needs to be written. I hope you do. Thanks in advance. Victor