It takes a nation to protect the nation
Warfare, the Middle East, and how to beat Islamic Fundamentalism
This is a 45 minute lecture (plus questions) by Victor Davis Hanson, so I'll pick out some features to make it easier.
The questions start from 50 mins. Watch VDH demolish the final question from a delusional pro-Palestinian student.
Another excellent VDH analysis, this time of Trump.
Audience questions in this continuation video:
Victor Davis Hanson | America and the World, 2017-2018
One of the best summaries of the conservative position.
What I like in this talk is that VDH keeps casually referring to the Islamic Fascists. Finally!
Victor Davis Hanson: The ‘Era of Intimidation,’ Tribalism, and Elite Contempt for the Middle Class
“A very dangerous pre-civilizational pathology is tribalism … I hire my first cousin—and not the other person who’s better qualified—because he’s part of the tribe,” says classicist and historian Victor Davis Hanson. Now, “we’ve gone back in a retrograde fashion to a pre-civilizational mentality,” Hanson says.
In this episode, we discuss his latest book, “The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America.”
Below is a rush transcript of this American Thought Leaders episode from Oct 19, 2021. This transcript may not be in its final form and may be updated.
Jan Jekielek: Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, such a pleasure to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: Thank you for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: Victor, I have had such a good time reading your new book, The Dying Citizen. This governance by expert class, if you will, model, you mention in the epilogue of the book has basically greatly, I guess, accelerated in 2020, the annus horribilis, as you call it. At the same time, we’re seeing it failing in real time.
It seems like there’s just a lot of people that are becoming aware of this in all sorts of different areas, be it around coronavirus orthodoxy, around critical social justice orthodoxy. I feel like there’s a very interesting opportunity at rekindling the idea of citizenship in all of this. Tell me what you think.
Dr. Hanson: I hope so. I tried to write The Dying Citizen with the idea of some historical or cultural history and background, and then contemporary examples that reflect those longstanding trends, but I had no idea that when I finished the book, that we would see this disaster at the border or General Milley or what’s happened in Afghanistan or critical race theory to the same degree. I’d like to think it was prescient.
I’ll give you an example of what you’re talking about. General Milley is not elected, but in the space of about 10 days, we learned that he called his Chinese Communist counterpart and basically suggested he would tip them off if he thought Trump would do some sort of preemptive action, and then he said, “Democracy is messy.”
I think the Chinese love to hear that. Then he also said later when asked under oath, well, he didn’t really believe that Trump was deranged or non compos mentis. Then he interrupted the chain of command concerning nuclear protocols, even though the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is forbidden by statute of interfering in the chain of command.
Then we heard that he violated Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice by disparaging his commander in chief, not retired, but an active military officer, when he told a couple of journalists that Donald Trump was Hitlerian or reminded him of Mein Kampf. He hasn’t denied that.
Then we go to Dr. Fauci, and he still cannot explain to us, he tries, but the more he denies, the more ridiculous he seems, that he channeled $600,000 through EcoHealth, sort of like the fox in the chicken house, when it was auditing itself to tell Americans that there was no problem here, but nevertheless, he channeled it through EcoHealth, who then gave that money to ground zero, virology lab in Wuhan, which we now know is the source of the virus.
I won’t even get into Hunter Biden or Bill Gates, what they’ve said about China. We have this class of people… Hunter Biden wasn’t elected to anything. I don’t know how he rides on Air Force Two when Joe Biden was vice president or how he navigates with his latest art project. General Milley was not elected, and Anthony Fauci was not elected.
But they all seem to exercise judicial, executive, and legislative powers, and then they all have this, for all their ecumenicalism and globalism, they seem to be completely blind to the atrocity that’s the modern Chinese Communist Party.
(Follow the link for the complete interview and transcript)
The breadth and depth of his understanding is astonishing.
Victor Davis Hanson
The last two years have seen an unprecedented escalation in a decades-long war on the American past. But there are lots of logical flaws in attacking prior generations in U.S. history.
Critics assume their own judgmental generation is morally superior to those of the past. So, they use their own standards to condemn the mute dead who supposedly do not measure up to them.
Yet 21st-century critics rarely acknowledge their own present affluence and leisure owe much to history's prior generations whose toil helped create their current comfort.
And what may future scolds say of the modern generation that saw over 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, even as fetal viability outside the womb continued to progress to ever earlier ages?
What will our grandchildren say of us who dumped on them over $30 trillion in national debt - much of it as borrowing for entitlements for ourselves?
What sort of society snoozes as record numbers of murders continue in 12 of its major cities? What is so civilized about defunding the police, endemic smash-and-grab thefts, and car jackings?
Was our media more responsible, professional, and learned in 1965 or 2021? Did Hollywood make more sophisticated and enjoyable films in 1954 or 2021? Was there less or more sportsmanship among professional athletes in 1990 or 2021?
Was it actually moral to discard the "content of our character" and "equal opportunity" principles of the prior Civil Rights movement of 60 years ago? Are their replacement fixations on the "color of our skin" and "equality of result" superior?
Would America have won World War II with the current labor participation rate of only six in 10 Americans working? Would our generation have brought all American troops home and quit World War I in fear of the deadly 1918 Spanish flu pandemic?
Are we proud that most standardized tests of student knowledge and achievement continue to decline, despite record investments in education?
Do we ever pause to consider that we enjoy our modern standard of living and security because we were once a meritocracy that quit judging our workforce by tribal affinities and ancient prejudices?
Our generation talks of infrastructure nonstop. But when was the last time it built anything comparable to the Hoover Dam, the interstate highway system, or the California Water Project - much less sent a man back to the moon or beyond?
If prior generations were so toxic, why do we continue to take for granted the moral and material world they bequeathed to us, from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to our airports, freeways, and power plants? Did we ever defeat anything comparable to the Axis powers or Soviet communism?
We know the symptoms of the current epidemic of hating the past.
One is Orwellian renaming and statue-toppling. Historical revision often responds to puritanical mob frenzies rather than to democratic discussion and votes of relevant elected officials.
Where is the pantheon of woke heroes who will replace the toppled or defaced Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt?
Whose morality and achievement should instead be immortalized? Were the public and private lives of Che Guevara, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Margaret Sanger, and Franklin D. Roosevelt without sin?
Racial fixations tend predictably in one direction. In good Confederate fashion, we lump all individuals who look alike into inexact collectives of "white," "black," or "brown" - often to stereotype the supposed evils of so-called white supremacy.
But if we go down that tribalist and simplistic road of caricatured oppressors and oppressed, will future generations tally up each group's merits and demerits, to adjudicate the roles of millions of individuals in making America worse or better?
What standard would they use to judge our ignorant world of racial stereotyping - proportional representation in Nobel Prizes, philanthropy, scientific breakthroughs, or lasting art, music, and literature versus statistics on homicides, assault, divorce, and illegitimacy?
Immigration - when legal, diverse, measured, and often meritocratic - has been the great strength of America, as typified by industrious arrivals who chose to abandon their own homeland to risk new lives in a foreign United States.
But if America is so flawed and so irredeemable, why in fiscal year 2021 are nearly 2 million foreigners now crashing its borders - illegally, en masse, and intent on reaching a supposedly racist nation that is purportedly inferior to those they abandon?
According to the ancient brutal bargain, assimilation and integration grant the immigrant as much claim to America's present and past as the native-born. But then shouldn't the antithesis also be true?
Shouldn't immigrants at least respect those of the past who created the very country they now so eagerly desire, and died in awful places from Valley Forge to Bastogne to preserve?
Never in history has such a mediocre, but self-important and ungracious generation owed so much, and yet expressed so little gratitude, to its now dead forebears.
© 2023 Created by Netcon. Powered by