Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Author Archives: Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

An Impeachment Incitement

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Donald Trump was impeached again on Wednesday, a week before leaving office in one of the great travesties of modern politics.

Here are reasons why the exercise proved a farce.

One, impeachment was never intended by the founders to become a serial effort to weaken a first-term president. But this latest try will mark the third failed attempt of Democrats in Congress to remove Trump before his allotted tenure.

The first Democratic impeachment effort of December 2017 fizzled. The second impeachment of December 2019 succeeded but predictably failed to obtain a Senate conviction.

This third try will likely not result in a Senate conviction, either.

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The Spartan way of war

Victor Davis Hanson // The New Criterion

Sparta’s check of imperial Athens in the inconclusive so-called First Peloponnesian War (460–445 B.C.) foreshadowed a remarkable subsequent twenty-eight-year growth in Lacedaemonian power and influence. At the war’s end, Sparta had established itself as the only impediment left to an increasingly Athenian Greece.

Fourteen years later, a second, and far deadlier, Peloponnesian War broke out. The continuing, hard-fought Spartan upswing was capped off by her dramatic victory at the Battle of Mantinea (418 B.C.), which saw Sparta prevail over Athens—Sparta’s chief Peloponnesian rival—and surrogate Athenian allies. That battle mostly ensured that Sparta would not lose in any renewal of the stalemated Second Peloponnesian War.

The Spartan surge between 446 and 418 B.C. is the theme of Paul A. Rahe’s fourth volume on Sparta’s history, its culture, and its rivalries with democratic Athens, entitled Sparta’s Second Attic War.1 His envisioned hexalogy will eventually cover three centuries of Spartan growth, dominance, and gradual decline. The final two books will presumably be devoted to the last fourteen brutal years of the Peloponnesian War (a proposed volume 5, 418–404/3 B.C.) and the post-war decades of Sparta’s unilateral but shaky dominance, and her eventual decline (volume 6, 403–362 B.C.).

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Russia’s Putin and Navalny collide; who will survive?

An article by my Hoover colleague Dr. Paul Gregory in The Hill

To understand the events of Russian dissident Aleksei Navalny’s near-fatal poisoning and his Jan. 17 return to Russia, you must know that there are two Navalnys: Navalny No. 1 is described by Kremlin-controlled media as a CIA agent, corrupt, a hater of Russia, a loud-mouthed liar; Navalny No. 2, according to his admirers, is a heroic fighter against the corruption of Russia’s ruling class, a proponent of democracy, the best hope for a civilized Russia.

If you ask an elderly Russian living on a state pension, he or she will identify Navalny as the first personification. If you ask a young Russian college graduate living in a city, he or she will favor the second version.

With a rapidly aging Russia, some two-thirds of Russians believe in Navalny No. 1. This goes a long way to explain why Russian dictator Vladimir Putin believes he can get away with poisoning Navalny and, now that that failed, jailing him for an extended period.

Let’s begin with Navalny’s dramatic return to Russia after five months of life-saving treatment and convalescence in Germany.

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Assault on the Capitol Has Let Loose the Electronic Octopus

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Two days after the 2020 election, a defiant Kathy Griffin retweeted the notorious picture of her holding a prop that looked like the bloody head of a decapitated Donald Trump. Earlier last year, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted out a call to his followers to destroy Israel. Both tweets passed the censorship rules of Twitter’s 20-something judges in San Francisco.

In contrast, Trump has been banned for life from Twitter and barred indefinitely from Facebook. Twitter said in a statement that it excluded Trump “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

The president had called for thousands of his followers to assemble at a massive Washington, D.C., rally protesting the results of the election. Splinter groups broke off from the massed protesters. Some stormed into the halls of Congress. Social-media platforms canceled Trump after he urged his followers — albeit “peacefully and patriotically” — to go protest at the U.S. Capitol, where the mayhem followed.

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Is the Wisdom of Homer Immune to Cancel Culture?

Victor Davis Hanson // The Patriot Post

Amid the current hysteria of toppling statues and renaming things, we keep mindlessly expanding the cancel culture.

We are now seeing efforts to ban classics of Western and American literature. These hallowed texts are suddenly being declared racist or sexist by preening moralists.

Or, as one Massachusetts high school teacher recently boasted on social media, “Very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!”


Over 20 years ago, John Heath and I co-authored “Who Killed Homer?” We warned that that faddish postmodernist race, class and gender theories — coupled with narrow academic specialization — was killing the formal discipline of classics in universities.

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Defenders of Civilization?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The year 2020 witnessed a long series of writs lodged against an America beset with plague, quarantine, recessions, riot and arson, and the most contested election since 1876.

What was strange was not so much the anarchist Left’s efforts in the present to wipe away the past to recalibrate our Animal Farm future. What was odder were both the absurdities of the complaints against American civilization, and the unwillingness or inability of Americans to rebut them and defend their own culture.

Demonizing Our Past

In just a year, thousands of memorials and icons have vanished. Names have changed, words are banned. Careers were ruined. As new totalitarian rules were enshrined, old freedoms became despised.

Yet most of the country sat in lockdown quiet, as it was told that it, and its history, were toxic and culpable—and by whom exactly? Moralists like Labron James? Steve Kerr? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

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A Guide to Wokespeak

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

With the rise of the Left inevitable over the next two years, the public should become acquainted with the Left’s strange language of Wokespeak. Failure to do so could result in job termination and career cancellation. It is certainly a fluid tongue. Words often change their meanings as the political context demands. And what was yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s heterodoxy and tomorrow’s heresy. So here is some of the vocabulary of the woke lexicon.

“Anti-racism.” Espousing this generic compounded -ism is far preferable to accusing particular people of being “racists” — and then being expected to produce evidence of their concrete actions and words to prove such indictments.

Instead, one can pose as fighting for “anti-racism” and thereby imply that all those whom one opposes, disagrees with, or finds distasteful, de facto, must be for “racism.”

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Victor Davis Hanson: After 2020 election – here’s how to keep track of upside-down world of media and politics

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

After Nov. 3, the meaning of some words and concepts abruptly changed. Have you noticed how new realities have replaced old ones?  

Media cross-examination of the president is now an out-of-date idea. The time for gotcha questions has come and gone. Why ask a president whether he is a traitor or a crook when you can focus on his favorite flavor of milkshake or compliment him on his socks? 

The old pre-election truth was that new vaccines take years to develop. The new postelection truth is that it’s no big deal to bring out new vaccines in nine months. 

Impeaching a first-term president after his first midterm election – on a strictly partisan vote, for political reasons other than the Constitution’s “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” – is now a terrible idea.   

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What Will Historians Make of Our Annus Horribilis?

Victor Davis Hanson // Townhall

The year 2020 is now commonly dubbed the annus horribilis — “the horrible year.” The last 10 months certainly have been awful.

But then so was 1968, when both Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The Tet Offensive escalated the Vietnam War and tore America apart. Race and anti-war riots rocked our major cities. Protesters fought with police at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. A new influenza virus, H3N2 (the “Hong Kong flu”), killed some 100,000 Americans.

But an even worse 2020 saw the COVID-19 outbreak reach global pandemic proportions by March. Chinese officials mislead the world about the origins of the disease — without apologies.

Authorities here in the U.S. were sometimes contradictory in declaring quarantines either effective or superfluous. Masks were discouraged and then mandated. Researchers initially did not know how exactly the virus spread, only that it could be lethal to those over 65 or with comorbidities.

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Target: America

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

China sounds giddy at the ending of the Trump presidency. Before COVID-19, it was locked in a likely lose/lose trade war with the U.S. The American corporate world was finally starting to complain that its once easy profits in joint-ventures were now being gobbled up by an increasingly voracious China.

The Left, for all its hatred of Trump, nonetheless after 2017 grew more vocal over the Chinese gulags, the Tibetization of Hong Kong, and Beijing’s Orwellian internal police state. Too many Chinese spies had popped up at the pinnacles of American power, whether erstwhile chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein’s chauffer, or, as we now learn, House Intelligence Committee member Representative Eric Swalwell’s something-or-other frequent associate, or among the Biden, Inc. clique.

With Trump the disrupter apparently gone for now, China is anxious to return to the prior global status quo — and its exemptions for systematic patent and copyright theft, dumping, currency manipulation, huge trade surpluses, and coerced technology appropriation.

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