Historian’s Corner: Civilizational Death or Renewal?

Knossos palace at Crete, Ruins of Minoan Civilization
Image by Vladimir Timofeev @ Getty Images

Victor Davis Hanson // Private Papers

History is replete with examples of societies in crises that either imploded or were destroyed, through internal and external forces—as well as those that met such dangers and endured. 

Life or Death?

Controversies remain over why the Western Roman Empire broke apart by the end of the 5th-century AD, while the Eastern Empire at Constantinople would survive and persist as what became known as the Byzantine Empire for 1,000 years as Christendom’s outpost in the East. Certainly, Rome had a less defensible border than did Constantinople, which was ringed by sea and whose geography served as a valve between the Mediterranean and Black Sea. 

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China’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Stonewalling investigations into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan? A hundred new hardened intercontinental nuclear missiles silos? Dressing down U.S. diplomats on purported American racism? 

Braggadocio about nuking non-nuclear and once-nuked Japan, if need be? Winks and nods that Taiwan will soon be Hong-Kongized?  

Hacking into Western institutions?  

No apologies for lying about the origins, nature, and transmissibility of the gain-of-function, virology-lab-engineered Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 virus? Or rather, an attitude of maybe/maybe not the virus leaked from a military-related lab, “So what are you going to do about it—this time or next”? 


Eeyore’s Cabinet: “Cannibalism, Suicide, or What?”

Image by vinct @ Getty Images

Victor Davis Hanson // Private Papers

Part Two

Item: For the millions of Americans who lived through inflation and stagflation from 1974-1983, why would we ever wish to return to all that? We more or less avoided both the last forty years by being semi-profligate rather than whole-hog profligate. Now and then we saw a rare balanced budget, a Tea-Party revolt leading to a budget freeze, or a rare Clinton-Gingrich-like deal, or a Reagan/Trump economic boom whose productivity created more stuff and services than even increased consumer demand and funny money could match. 

But now? We owe nearly $30 trillion. We are running a trillion-dollar-plus budget deficit. And we are squabbling over another $2 trillion-plus ‘infrastructure’ borrowing bill. Worse, Biden all but denies inflation exists. Some unhinged postmodern economists think inflation is a phantom and so printing money is the best way to energize an economy by destroying some who have it and empowering those who don’t. Biden cannot form a coherent sentence when asked to explain the current inflation, other than to mumble that borrowing and spending more, and running up debt is an “investment” that will somehow lead to less debt?

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Eeyore’s Cabinet: Cannibalism, Suicide, or What?

Image by francescoch // Getty Images

Victor Davis Hanson // Private Papers

Part One

The two-parties used to have coherent, if antithetical, agendas. The Left believed foremost in equality of result (now renamed “equity”), the Right far more in an equality of opportunity. The former distrusted individuality and considered liberty problematic; the latter even more so feared government and its plan to reengineer income, and the daily lives of Americans. 

Often on matters of defense, building infrastructure, and public education they used to agree—somewhat. So America prospered, given it was the freest nation on the planet, and its singular idea of a multiracial consensual society, based on a constitutional republic, worked well enough where it had usually failed both in the past and in the contemporary world.

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The Traditionalist: Damned If You Do…

Victor Davis Hanson // Art19 and Just the News

Listen to Victor Davis Hanson speak with cohost Jack Fowler on Afghanistan, Cuba, class and the Left’s real lack of reality. Can the lack of connect to reality of racialism go on? At the end, they discuss Hunter as blackmail artist of his own father.

Democrats No More

J. Michael Jones // Getty Images

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In the old days, Democrats had predictable agendas, supposedly focused on individual rights, the “little guy,” and distrust of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. 

The Left, often on spec, blasted the wealthy, whether the “lucre” was self-made or inherited. The old-money rich were lampooned as idle drones. 

If the rich were self-made, they were deemed sell-outs. A good example was ’70s pop icon Jackson Brown’s “The Pretender,” whose lyrics railed about “happy idiots” who “struggled for the legal tender.” 


A Child’s Garden of Animals: Barnicide

Victor Davis Hanson // Private Papers

Part Two

Eight years after that last auto-avicide, the barn began to slowly tip over as the old eucalyptus poles wobbled, and the fir rafters finally after a near century and a half bent. At some point, after 40 years of fixing, repairing, borrowing to keep ancient things viable, I thought for a second “let her topple.”

The barn was largely full of junk anyway and an eyesore. I called around and got an estimate of $5,000 to haul it away—and be done with the headaches of constant repair, junk collecting, and whitewashing. Now and then a thief would get in, rummage around and find the booty wasn’t even worth the break-in.

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