John Anderson Direct: With Victor Davis Hanson, Historian and Writer, III

John is joined by US commentator Victor Davis Hanson. They discuss the Biden administration's first steps and the growing threats to the West.


Capitol Hill riot fact check

John Anderson: [00:00:00] Victor, thank you so very much for joining us. I’m very keen to talk again because frankly, what happens in America is so important, not just for America, but for the rest of the world, and particularly for Australia as a free and democratic country in a very, very troubling era. Um, the, the last time we spoke America was in the midst of the alt of the counting of votes, uh, for the US election.

A lot’s happened since then. Can, can you give us a feel, uh, with a bit of hindsight, what are your, what are your thoughts on the whole business of the storming of the Capitol building and the aftermath as it’s unfolded?

Victor Davis Hanson: Well, what we did was during the Covid crisis, we, under our Constitution, the states have the singular responsibility to setting their own voting protocols and procedures, even in a national presidential elects, quite a strange system.

But in March there were a lot of challenges at the court level and at the bureaucratic level. And the result of that was for the first time in American history, we had 65% of the votes were brought, were conducted through mail in and what we call early voting, voting over a period of days. And the, unfortunately, the, uh, authenticity problem should have been greater, but it was less so that an unusual election, a rare absentee ballot, was about.

Uh, on, on average, about four or 5% of ’em were rejected for, you know, improper signatures. No signatures, no address. But this time it dipped all the way down to a half of 1%. And because 45,000 votes determined the electoral college in strategic states, there was a Donald Trump, of course, persisted sometimes with hyperbole and said it was a landslide.

It wasn’t a landslide victory for by him in any means, but it was closed. And out of that frustration, he persisted perfectly right to the Democrats had done it, but beyond the selection of what we call the electors. And to make a long story short, he was trying to galvanize support with about a hundred thousand people in Washington.

Very peaceful. But he did say, I want some of you to walk over and protest the capitol. And that’s where the controversy lies. Uh, Apparently there were already people there, about a thousand of the a hundred and thousand, but they seemed to have been separate. They had planned to be there anyway and protest.

The actual selection, or I should say, uh, ratification of the elector votes, which would’ve been the final, uh, procedure to, to Joe Biden’s victory. And there was violence at that point because it’s the sacred heart of democracy in America. There was just a conundrum. Five people died. That led to hysteria, anger, some of it righteous, some misplaced, but there was an immediate effort to impeach Donald Trump, even though he only had 15 days in office.

Then we did something we’ve never done before. We impeached on a, uh, 90% of Republicans resisted it, but it was in a partisan vote. Of a president for the second time. We’d never done that before. And then more mysteriously, we’ve never had an impeachment. Indeed, we’re not sure you can do an impeachment without the Chief Justice presiding over the proceedings.

He refused. Justice Roberts refused to participate and then to make, uh, it even more bizarre, we had a Senate trial after he was a private citizen in which he was acquitted. That was all unique. Getting back to the January 6th, we don’t know what happened. And I say that not in a partisan fashion because we were told five people died.

Trump was responsible for the murder of a police officer who was killed by supposedly a Trump demonstrator. And, um, it, they, they acted on Q from the president. But now when they. Investigation. It’s still in Medius, rabbus, but from what we know, the officer did not die violently. Not at all. He had a stroke or a heart condition or maybe a react, an allergic reaction to pepper spray in the air, but he was not killed by a fire extinguisher blow to the head.

And even the New York Times has said that. Now, second, it was not an armed resurrection. Of all the people who were arrested in the capitol, all culpable of breaking the law and should be punished. Unlike most of the rioters all summer, not one firearm has been found among any of them. So the idea they were armed is far.

They did not blame p they did not bring police ties to handcuff of members of Congress. Those ties we now know [00:05:00] were, uh, the property of the Capitol police that were there on a, on a, a building. And finally, we don’t have the name. We usually have the name of a police officer within 24 hours who shoots an unarmed protestor.

Uh, we don’t have the name of that officer who shot one of the Trump supporters. And then finally, of the five people who died, Four of them were Trump supporters. Three of them nonviolently, uh, through medical emergencies and incidents. And the one who did die was shot while unarmed breaking into the capitol.

That what I just told you transpired over about 30 days of investigative reporting. And so it was a terrible thing to happen. Trump was probably reckless in thinking he could rev up a hundred thousand people without consequences, but the media left wing narrative that he ordered an assault on the capitol by armed insurrection areas who killed a police officer is not true.

And that’s important, John, because he left under a cloud of suspicion. But as you know, he just spoke to the CPAC in organization the other day and he was almost treated as a returning hero. And that’s because information came out about that and the country, and we’ll get into that probably later, but the country was promised that Joe Biden would be a return to normality.

And it turned out he is not old Joe Biden from Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is a very hard leftist person whose legacy he thinks will be to I implement the agenda, uh, of Barack Obama. And, and so the, I think the atmospherics, the landscape of all of it, what’s going on is that Joe Biden was Barack Obama’s understudy and was considered a lightweight professional apparat.

Now he’s in office, he’s not gonna be able to have more than one term. He’s got cognitive issues, but I think he feels that. He doesn’t want to fight the left, he wants to institutionalize the most radical agenda in American history and go down in history as one who, who actually did what Barack Obama trauma us, but failed to achieve.

Biden's left-wing agenda dividing not uniting Americans

John Anderson: So it’s an alarming picture that, uh, that we get from the mainstream media. In a sense, your deep insights are hardly less reassuring, but for different reasons. This inability to seek to find the things that Americans have in common, we see it in every western country. Again, I, I say this as a, as a friend and an admirer of, of things American, uh, down through the ages.

Um, and the inability to rise above the things that divide and, and recognize the things that should unite are greater, goes to the very heart in this country, uh, of, of, uh, the new presidents. Inaugural address. It was painted as a very finely crafted speech, very long on touching all the right, uh, touchstones, for want of a better word, uh, uh, of, of healing, of pulling people back together.

Yet the early actions as a former politician undertaken by the new president did not match the rhetoric. It didn’t seem that there was a willingness to say, why did so many Americans vote the way they did? Why are so many Americans feeling alienated? Isn’t there a real probability that many Americans in our field where we were described as deplorables, uh, and it’s evident we are now really regarded as deplorables rather than we’ve actually been heard, and our concerns are now going to be taken into account.

Victor Davis Hanson: I think you’re, I think John, if I may, you’re even being charitable in your sober and judicious description. It’s even worse than that, that Joe Biden has a 50, he doesn’t control the Senate, uh, legislative in the sense it’s 50 50. And only by the intervention of Kamala Harris as vice president will he get anything through.

And more importantly, uh, he was supposed to widen his lead in the house and he is down to about six seats. So he is got the smallest margin in the house. And people thought because of those realities, he would reach out to the middle. But as I said earlier, he seems to think that it’s a very dangerous thing to take on the media, social, uh, social media, Silicon Valley professional sports, entertainment, Hollywood, that cultural nexus is, is frightening in the cancel culture as well.

So what he’s doing is he’s decided that he’s gonna open the border. He’s going to go after fossil fuels, stop pipeline construction, use subsidized wind and energy, wind and solar. Even though the United States is now the largest producer and exporter in the world of gas and oil, he’s gonna dial that back.

Uh, and he’s gonna do this without going through the legislature, the Congress, he’s gonna do it by Executive Fiat. He’s already had a, an array of cultural issues from, uh, transgenderism. He is backed [00:10:00] off from the Trump idea that you’re biologically one gender or another. It’s important because female sports, the United States are increasingly dominated by biological ma uh, males that have so-called transgressed to the opposite sex.

I could go, um, he’s resetting the, the Iranian Israeli Arab dynamic. Uh, I think he’s gonna reset the China dynamic. So he’s, he feels that he. He doesn’t have the legislative, uh, support or even the American support, public support, but he has the office of the presidency and he has the left and it’s it’s levers of influence behind him.

And he is got four years to act. So he is a man in a hurry. And I think we’re gonna see some radical thing. The key thing to watch for is there’s two or three senators that live in constituencies, state, constituencies that are not, uh, entirely democratic, and especially Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Senator Simon in Arizona.

And if they follow that, Agenda. They’re in danger of never being elected again. So, and they can’t lose one senator. And so that’s one thing to watch. The other is, will they really end the Senate filibuster and allow senate business, the deliberate of body to enact legislation 51 50 with the Vice President’s intervention?

If they do that, they, their supporters have promised to, uh, admit Puerto Rico and Washington DC as, as a state and give four immediate left-wing senators to the cause. They want to pack the court from nine to 15 justices to nullify that Trump conservative advantage. And I think they’ll probably move to get rid of the electoral college and go just to a 51% plebiscite, which would favor the large cities.

So they have a, a very ambitious agenda, and it’s hanging in the thread right now by about one or two senators, whether it’ll be enacted or not,

Unsustainability of America’s indebtedness and woke ideology

John Anderson: I can’t help wondering, uh, I noticed George Schultz, uh, who, who died recently, sadly, uh, just before he wrote, Ady wrote an article that appeared in Australia warning that, um, uh, that the, the printing of money effectively very low interest rates, the assumption that somehow the American green back would always be the dominant currency.

These were very fully set of assumptions. One of the things that strikes me is that with this left-wing agenda that’s now so prominent, I mean, America’s economic recovery had a lot to do with cheap energy and what have you. All of that’s being put at risk. The blowout in the debt, the enormous amount of debt fueled liquidity in the community must dangerous economically.

And one wonders how quickly it will become apparent that, that that socialism is a disaster economically. Uh, it just so strange to me as an Australian, seeing America walk away from what has made it so prosperous. Which will in fact create more of the very problems they say they’re trying to solve. The disparity, for example, between opportunities that older people have had and that younger people have, economic reality must bite soon.

Victor Davis Hanson: Yeah, I think what we’ve got ourselves into, we owe 30 trillion trillion dollars in aggregate national debt, and we’re running $2 trillion deficits. And why this has not imploded is that we have defacto as much of the world, but zero interest rates. In other words, that one or 2% fed rate. Does not cover, uh, the rise in inflation, which is still low.

So basically we’re borrowing all of this free money and we’re paying for it by not paying interest to people who have pass books. So it’s a, one way of looking at what we’re doing in America is a multi-trillion dollar transfer of wealth from the parsimonious middle class pass book holder who’s not familiar with Wall Street or real estate market puts say, a hundred thousand dollars in their life savings and was accustomed to getting 5% return, maybe five or 600 a month for the retirement that they’re getting nothing.

In fact, they’re losing the value and that money is going, uh, into it’s kind of a stimulus program to cheap interest for mortgages, cars, but also for the national, uh, the, as a result of the national debt. I don’t think that’s sustainable because at some point I. If we do get inflation, we’re gonna have to raise interest rates.

If we raise interest rates, the debt cost will crowd out so much in the, in the budget. That’s one great worry that we’re all having here. The other is, of course, when we try to dissect how we had the lowest peace time in on employment, um, since the late forties. And we look at lowest minority unemployment in history just a year and a half, just a year ago, to tell you the truth, it was in January of 2020.

We can see that Trump’s deregulation and energy development and trying to have tax incentives to bring back capital in the United States were kind of a trifecta. That created a a, a huge economic boom of untapped [00:15:00] labor and capital that was on the sidelines during the Obama administration felt, you know, this is a friendly.

Government, and I’m going to get in why I can. And enormous amounts of capital were used in a, a muscular fashion that’s stopped right now. Uh, the only thing that we in America are confused about is that when you print that much money, and we have $2 trillion that that’s just been allocated in debt. And another trillion that that was budgeted but has not yet been spent.

And you let out 330 million people from lockdown with their appetites of pen up demand. They haven’t gone to the restaurant, they haven’t gone on a vacation, they haven’t bought a washer a car, and they’ve got a lot of money. I think you’re gonna see an artificial boom for 12 or 15 months, followed by a sharp correction.

And whether that, and how that affects the midterm election is everybody’s guess now. Yeah.

John Anderson: You of course, are an eminent historian. It strikes me that. Uh, we are determined not to understand history, not to allow it to interfere, uh, with what we want to do. Even when all of its lessons scream at us that in the end, high levels of indebtedness cost you your

Victor Davis Hanson: freedom.

I. Yeah, I mean the, the Great Classicist Michael Grant, uh, an Englishman that I had as a, a professor, but he was also a great popularizer. But what people failed to remember about Grant was that he started out his career as a very narrow, uh, scholastic academic new mathematics system, new mathematics. He was an expert on ancient coinage, and he wrote his books based on an examination of ex extent coinage from Greece.

And Roman showed that when the gold and silver content dissipated and they were veneered with copper, for example, uh, then that was a indication that the society, fifth century Athens, fourth century, Athens third, or Rome, in the second century or third century ad whatever, the purity under discussion was that the, the society was in crisis.

’cause the first symptom is that they print money, or in that case, they coined. Coinage with metals that they could not back up the value of the coinage. And they did so for usually what the poet juvenile said, bread and circuses, massive entitlements of free food for urban populations, and then free entertainment, uh, to make sure that people were not restless.

And I, I think that’s pretty much the story of societies. Societies don’t. Uh, are not murdered. Usually. Very rarely are they invaded and destroyed. They usually commit suicide. And if you wanna know, one of the reasons why they do it seems to be that they’re physically irresponsible. And, uh, once you start doing it, it’s very hard.

I don’t, I can’t think of a leader, he, the skills that would be necessary to tell the American people we’re gonna have to have not just a balanced budget, but a surplus budget. You’re gonna have to have no cost of in, uh, no cost of living, increases in your social security, or you’re going to have to have much more verification for workers’ compensation or something.

I don’t think that our political climate today, it would be allowable. You’d be called a racist. You’d be called cruel and heartless. The media, the social media. It would be even almost impossible. And that was one of the attractions of Trump that people said, he’s not just a renegade. He doesn’t care. He can say anything to anybody anytime, anywhere.

And we need that sort of chemotherapy to deal with this existential. Metastasize cancer. Yeah. Well, that’s,

John Anderson: uh, you just hit on something there, you know, there’s a, all that terrible balance that has to be formed if you’re really going to put some shots back in the locker for the next economic downturn, if I can put it that way.

You, you know, you, you’ve gotta find a balance between raising taxes and promoting economic growth. Um, but in fact, what the western world, not just America now, seems that their communities are intent upon both increasing debt and restricting growth. And it has to end in tears. There’s no other way of putting it, but you’ve just hit the nail on the head.

No one has an appetite to step up and say, this has gotta stop. Much less. Our society seemed to have reached a point where we don’t want to hear. Yes. I think

Victor Davis Hanson: when I was growing up and we, under the, um, Johnson and Nixon, uh, administration, the Ford administration, the classic American bromides when we were in periods of recession or threatened recession, was to increase the national debt a little bit, have a, a budget deficit and increase government spending.

Of course. Well, we’re doing all of that now, and so we’ve done this so for so long and at such cost that it’s sort of saying that when the burglar comes through the door, your, your revolver’s empty. You’ve already used those bullets in times when you didn’t need to do that, like shooting your gun off in the air.

Then you’re, you’re defenseless when you’re in [00:20:00] extremists, and that’s what we’ve done. We have no more stimuli if we get an arrest session because we are, we are so indebted and we have such huge deficits and we have such huge expansion of federal spending that. I don’t know how that was the reason that Trump resonated with so many people.

He was very simply and bluntly said, we can increase American productivity by producing natural gas that’s clean burning and reduces our carbon imprint as very efficient and we can lower the price of oil and we’re not going to be involved in optional military gains in the Middle East to the same extent that’ll save money, we’ll save on heating energy costs, commute costs.

And his whole plan was that every aspect of the economy in a very business-like manner of, I guess reflecting his own career, how can we save money and be more efficient? And it was very funny. People never caught onto it when he was criticizing the woke culture. And it was always never in terms necessarily of ideology, but what a drag on the economy this is.

Almost as if he was saying one of the reasons the Soviet Union didn’t work is you had a commissure over your shoulder saying, don’t do what’s economically rational because it’s not ideologically permissible. And so that, that’s one way of looking at the, this wokeness in the Western world is that it’s an economic drag.

It’s, it’s diverting large amounts of capital and labor and talent into non-productive areas. And I think when you have the President of France, Mr. Macron lecturing us on the dangers of political correctness and wokeness, we’re in pretty bad straits because as an academic, I unfortunately had to suffer through the works of Fuko and Laan and Dairy dog.

Yeah, the French boat. And now they’re getting it back in spades from us.

China eroding our national autonomy and freedoms

John Anderson: So if we can paint a broad picture here, what we have it, it’s loaded with ironies in a way. We’ve got the west, generally speaking, across the board, eating out the capital that’s been bequeathed to it from previous generations, if you like.

Economically, morally, I’d say even spiritually, frankly. Uh, and we’re confronted now by having, uh, you know, our real leadership, uh, globally, the liberal sort of democratic order headed up by the Americans, the sort of unilateral arrangement threatened by really the rise of all sorts of other powers around the place.

You know, you’ve got Russia, you’ve got Iran, you’ve got North Korea, you’ve got China. Uh, they have none of our lack of conviction about their own culture and their own objectives going forward. And here’s the great irony. In many ways, one of the great threats is that communism in China, it seems to me with China’s, with Chinese characteristics as they put it, they’ve embraced enough of a, of a capitalist model, the loathed capitalist model that so many in the West disliked now.

Even though it’s made them prosperous and comfortable, um, to become very powerful, it’s one of the great differences between communist China and communist Russia during the Cold War era. Where will America under Biden go? You touched on it a moment ago, but as an Australian, this is of enormous interest in potentially concern.

The view here has been that he will hold the line on China. Uh, that’s the media line that we’re getting. Um, there’s some real disquiet that he might undo some of the powerful things that Trump gets no credit for, but which were very effective in the Middle East. But where will, uh, in your view, Victor, uh, America go under Biden?

Uh, in terms of global leadership, for want of a better word, and the rise of China in particular?

Victor Davis Hanson: Well, he’ll use platitudes that the world was stable before Trump came because of the bipartisan, um, establishment, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Alliance, all of that stuff. But the fact was what got Trump elected was it was completely unstable and then appeasing China with the idea that they were going to respect our outreach as mag amenity, rather than see it as contempt to be exploited, proved to be completely fallacious.

It didn’t work. We know that. They said, they told us that at every periodic communist, uh, Congress. So I, I think I. Whether I, I’m a little bit pessimistic here, John. I don’t wanna depress your audience, but even if we had, uh, an optimistic view of what Joe Biden wanted to do, I’m not sure at this late date, he could do it.

By that I mean, just look at the people around him. One of the, the, a prominent congressman Eric Swalwell, was caught in an amorous relationship with a Chinese agent. While he was on the House Intelligence Committee, uh, hunter Biden was given a complete pass. Even though in his own, uh, laptop communications, it was pretty clear that he was involved with Chinese interest and siphoning money off to the Biden family, not in the millions, but approaching a billion dollars.

And then when you, uh, [00:25:00] When you look at, uh, members in the cabinet or members in the corporate world, and their ties with China, and I’m just throwing out names here, whether it’s the Disney Corporation or the La Lakers or Goldman Sachs, but the, the, the key institutions of America are run by Arians. That if you were to say them, wait a minute, you’re an American and your economic livelihood should not, uh, collide with America’s patriotic interest.

You’re the inheritor of Okinawa or Bella Wood, or, and teem, and a lot of people died to give you this, this, that would be considered lunatic. And so we have so many people that are compromised by China. I’m speaking as a member of the Stanford University community. Just this last year, Stanford reported that a visiting neuroscientist professor was actually not just attached to the Communist party, but was actively working for the Chinese military.

We had another, uh, research project about facial rec recognition that was developed at Stanford that went in, uh, parts of it were used by cochin, uh, researchers to help. Surveil the Wegars, we had $65 million that was given to Stanford University that was not reported as legally required by the Department of Education.

That was in some ways get, uh, tainted by companies in China that were connected with a Chinese Communist party. So it’s gonna be very difficult for Australia, for the United States, for the uk, for the EU to have a, a muscular, independent, autonomous attitude toward China when so many of our elites are compromised and they don’t, and worse yet, they don’t see that they’re compromised.

They say it’s a free market. We’re just exploring profitability. We’re improving proving productivity. Global harmony. When you have Bill Gates, the second. Our third wealthiest man in the world say to the United States. I’m so tired of you harping on, uh, China’s handling of the virus. So far. It’s been pretty good.

Let’s not go back there when we know that they lied about the origins, the transmission of the virus, the communicability, that, and they infected and probably polluted many people, uh, ideology, ideology wise in the World Health Organization. But for somebody to say that, or Michael Bloomberg to say that China is not autocratic.

As he himself is in charge of bringing Western capital to jumpstart companies that are connected with the Chinese Communist Party. He’s about the sixth wealthiest person in the United States. Very influential and for president. So, gosh, when you have a party and, and one person is running for the two, at one point, the two contenders were Joe Biden, whose family was connected with China and Michael Bloomberg who’d made billions in China and was making billions in China at the time.

It’s almost like it’s Orwellian. It doesn’t make any sense.

John Anderson: Yeah. One, one of the things that’s puzzling is just what China’s objectives actually are. Uh, presumably they seek, uh, enormous recognition as a major power around the world. But what does that mean? You have to dominate the region if you want to be influential in the world.

Uh, traditionally, the tactics that they’re using now, Would be seen as bullying and rejected by the rest of the world. But one of the problems is that in a world that’s awash with debt, it’s hard to say no, you can’t trade because governments are so desperate, you know, to build their

Victor Davis Hanson: economies again. I think you in Australia and are sort of the canary in the mind.

You’re in a very unique historical position to instruct the rest of us of the dangers because you went through it with Japan from 1932 to 1941 with their so-called Greater East Asia co prosperity sphere that was kind of reified in its final form in 19 40, 41. But, and de facto had been there. Remember what the Japanese said.

They went to countries in Asia and they said the west is spent. There is no. Netherlands, now it’s occupied by Germany. There is no such thing as France. It doesn’t exist anymore. Southeast Asia is ours. The bread basket of Asia, the Dutch East Indies in their oral is ours. And the only, uh, obstacles are an appeasing Britain and Singapore, which will shortly deal with and a Isolationist America Park, Pearl Harbor, which we’ll shortly deal with.

But the point I’m making is they created a climate where the message was, it’s very dangerous for you Asian countries and neighbors of Japan to think that you’re going to get super and help from a distant enemy that’s not willing or wi willing or able to protect you. So I think what China’s been saying to you in Australia and to South Korea and Japan, And even more so in the case of Taiwan, but also the [00:30:00] Philippines, so that your area of the belt around China, that we are destined economically to corrupt the West, which is decadent and our military to catch up with the West.

And you are in a very precarious position to think that the United States, much less Europe is gonna come to your aid. And so you better make a deal with us now. Uh, you know, we’re not gonna humiliate you, it’s just a working relationship in which we’ll buy your products or your natural resources, but you’re gonna come under our ideological domination eventually and be happy about it because, uh, History says that when an ally, whether it’s uh, Czechoslovakia or ancient Plata thinks that a distant ally, a distant friend, is gonna come to their aid, it doesn’t happen.

So what we in the United States, who knew that was happening? We were trying to reassure Japan, it’s good to re-arm because we, you’re not the Japan of 1939. You’re a democratic sober country and we want you to re-arm, we want Australia, we want to come to your aid. We want to have a, want you to be on a defacto, under a nuclear umbrella.

If it, if it, if it comes down to it, we are pledging the cities of the United States to protect Sydney and Tokyo and Seoul. That’s what we’ve always, pretty much, that was the deal, and we’re gonna renew that, and that’s what Trump did. But if you’re a globalist or. Uh, or even a naive globalist, then, uh, you would say that China, we treated China badly or we didn’t, we didn’t give them room to grow, or we misunderstood what they were trying to do, or they were spectacular in their recovery from the virus.

I’ve heard all of that here and it’s very dangerous ’cause the Chinese are very patient and they’re insidious and they feel that. Ultimately our system has only one good thing going for it. And that’s free market capitalism, which they have adopted in some ways. But the, the downside is freedom and liberty and constitutional government.

And they feel that they can go by that. And they even have a cynical disrespect for us because they say, they say to themselves, oh, you talk so much about transgendered issues and gay rights and radical abortion and the oppressed and human rights, but we have a million people in the reeducation camp based on the religion, the gers.

We destroy the culture of Tibet. We surveil our own student, our own people. We harvest on occasion organs if we need them from people who are still alive. We do all sorts of things. Uh, we’ve corrupted the entire N B A. LeBron James will give a lecture to your own people about how you’re not quite fair and judicious.

But he won’t say a thing about us ’cause we’ve got him with Nike with a billion dollar contract over the lifetime of that contract. So they, they see that as con with contempt that we really don’t mean it and we can be bought off. And that’s very dangerous when an enemy no longer not just doesn’t fear you, but doesn’t respect you.

And I think that’s what we’re getting to in the west. When they go back to Beijing, they say, these people are so self-righteous, they’re so sanctimonious. But believe me, you write ’em a check and we can get what we want out of ’em. And the next step is that will be reified with I think, a scarier scenario of armed force if need be.

So I’m very, I’m very worried about Taiwan to take the first example because everybody thinks they’re just gonna wake up one morning and there’s, you know, amphibious craft on the Taiwanese beaches. It’s not gonna work that way. It’s going to be slowly to, uh, curtail their airspace, their, their sea space to tell foreign powers.

You can’t go in here without threats of losing something here and then working within the chi, the Taiwanese system. And so to present them with a fate de accompli that it would be sort of as we saw in World War II with some states, that that 19 four, uh, 40 France could not resist it even if it had wanted to.

1776 Commission Report

John Anderson: Yeah. Well that’s very sobering to come back to something I talked about earlier. Um, all of this surely happens because people refuse to learn the history. Of their own culture and we now self loath it. So what you’re seeing is, Frank Ferdi, I think would put it in relation to something that happened in Australia, is a furious attempt to delegitimize the past in order to ensure that particularly young people think, oh, we’re an illegitimate culture ourselves.

We have no standing, we are actually low lives. Look at what we’ve done. We’re the inheritors of a bad tradition. And there’s no ex explanation of as, as you’ve alluded to, the great price that’s been paid to give us freedom and to give us what we have that’s rubbed out. So in this whole question about history, there’s extraordinary debate in America over the so-called, uh, 1619 project, uh, you know, and, and whether, uh, America is an oppressor that’s always been oppressive and [00:35:00] cruel, or whether in fact it.

It has a creed that’s been self-correcting and has allowed it to identify areas where it doesn’t live by its own ideals and then step up. So, uh, you, I think, have been involved in the 1776 commission and its report. Can I ask about what that report is and indeed, uh, uh, what its key findings were?

Victor Davis Hanson: Well, it was a very strange thing because it was a, it was created after Trump lost the election and it was, there was the idea that we had a very brief time, but we were not going to be academics.

Scholars and university people had already re feuded the 1619 project, claiming that America was to be defined when the first African, uh, A person was brought as a slave to the North Americans shores and we said that has happened throughout history everywhere. But what has not happened is a constitutional republic like the Americans created in 1776 and 1787 when the constitution was rec.

So what we wanted to do was get everyday people, some lawyers, professionals, some politicians, some young activists, and write a report that’s that sort of short of said, this is what the world was like in 1776. Here were the intellectual traditions of the West that the United States adopted, modified change incorporated.

And this was the system that they created. And the big issue was slavery. And of course what we said was there was no evidence that any of the founders, even though there were ever supported slavery, the the issue was how to get rid of it and keep 13 colonies because there were some southern colonies that would not join the union.

And so slavery is not mentioned in the Constitution, except in one phrase of three-fifths shall be counted for the purposes of the census who are, uh, serfs or slaves, and what that. Compromise Illustrated was the Southerners wanted both ways. They said, our slaves are not citizens or real people, but you’re gonna have to count ’em to give us people in the House of Representatives.

And the founders said, we’re not gonna do that. And the South came back and said, well, we’ll join if you give them three fifths credit out of that transmogrified. The idea that everybody in the United States considered Africans from the very beginning, less than, uh, a whole person, which was completely false.

So we tried to rectify the historical record. And then we, the two most quoted people in our report, believe it or not, contrary to media accounts, were Frederick Douglass, the great African-American, uh, civil libertarian, and Abbo abolitionists during the Civil War, and then Martin Luther King. So what were the premises or the ideological, uh, foundations upon what we worked?

I think they’re very familiar to your audience In the West. In the West, we said we don’t have to be. Perfect to be good. We’re, we’re human. We’re not gods, we’re human. So we have, we’re born innately with human frailties biases, uh, evils if you will, but only under a constitutional system of free speech and protected discourse can you be self-reflective and self corrective.

So the story of the West is one of constant improvement based on the sacrifices of reformers and, um, patriots of the past. The second thing we said was in this report, the second assumption that we made was that we don’t use the standards of the present. To go back in history and treat it as if it’s a melodrama, whose role is to pick and choose bad guys and good guys.

We look at history as a, as a tragedy of, uh, sophisticated Europeans coming in ships fighting indigenous people. And we, we used to look at it and saying, what do you do when people are living 200 people to a square mile in Eastern Europe and they come to the United States and there’s one person per 200 square miles, and the former have the ability to go where the ladder is and the ladder don’t have the ability.

That’s tragedy. But we don’t do that anymore. We call it, let’s go back and look at the settlers on the way down the Oregon trail and let’s call ’em all evil. And when you destroy individuality, you’re saying, well, wait a minute. Maybe one settler was brave and one was bad. Or if we look at people in a particular time in the United States, let’s say the roaring twenties, where they all evil white people.

If you, when you start to do that, you destroy the concept of. Individuality. And I think that’s, that’s what we try to suggest we should not do. And what I mean by that specifically is there were not a bunch of old white men founders. There was a brilliant polymath named Benjamin Franklin, self-educated.

There was a heroic general who was one of the most magnanimous leaders the world seen in, in George Washington. There was an absolute brilliant person, Alexander Hamilton, probably from the Caribbean with [00:40:00] not all white blood, but was a, was almost a boy genius. So there was a, a, a particular time, a fifth century Athens, if you will, that of Europeans who had come to the to North America and they were in one place at one time.

And that synergy created the declarations. That’s what we were trying to remind people, but. When you have a host that doesn’t believe that anymore, and you have immigrant, we have 50 million people who are in the United States now who are not born here, and we’re bringing in about a million a year. We were until recently, not often under illegal auspices, but when we, the host, don’t say to them, whether you like it or not, you rejected your homeland for a reason.

You left Oaxaca State in Mexico for a reason, and you wanted a better life or more secure life, or more prosperous or more free life. It’s our obligation to teach you how to be an American. We don’t do that anymore. And so then we get angry when people don’t know who George Washington was or they don’t know what the Senate or constitution is.

The fault though is not in the stars. It’s on us. We lost our confidence in our own system, and if I was a pessimist, determinist history historian, I would say that. Historians like Tacitus or novelists like Petros, they said when you get to a certain level of luxury and security prosperity, you get laxity and decadence and you take things for granted and you forget the building blocks that allowed you to have that wealth and, and leisure and you have to go back if you can and just rediscover what made you that way before you, it all collapses.

Influence of urbanisation on our national character

John Anderson: Can I pick up on, I hear what you’re saying. Um, uh, can I pick up on something? That spoon was right there at the beginning with the founding fathers, the importance of small, free holders living on the land. Now you are, you are somebody who, uh, uh, you know, we have a slight parallel here. You’ve pursued academia.

I was involved in politics, but both of us have kept our rural roots. I’m talking to you from an Australian farm to you and an American farm.

Victor Davis Hanson: I’m on the farm right now. I’m too.

John Anderson: I am too. Uh, and I could say to our American friends, you’d be surprised how similar what we do here and how it looks is to much of the Midwest of America.

Yeah. Uh, even much of the machinery’s the same. Uh, but, um, can you just tease out what influence you think the massive urbanization we’ve seen in the West has had on our national attitudes and character, if any?

Victor Davis Hanson: Yes. One way of answering that, John, is to ask about the peculiarities in the American Constitution.

And by that I’ll just get, I could go on, I’ll give you two examples. Why do we have an electoral college and not use a direct vote? In other words, we vote for, uh, electors within states and so Wyoming, or in Idaho or Utah, or Kansas or Nebraska, become places where candidates actually go rather than just.

Forget if we had a popular vote, the candidates would fly down the East coast to from Boston to Miami, and then they’d go to Los Angeles to San Francisco, and that would be it. There’d be no reason because they have as much population as everything in between. So the founders didn’t want that. So they had the electoral college system.

The second thing is, why in California do we have 40 million people and two senators and a hundred person Senate? So my representation is 20 million of us get Diane Feinstein. But why isn’t in Wyoming when you have 40, uh, 400,000 people? There’s two senators, 200,000, and you can see there has to be a reason.

This is what drives a left soul angry. And the reason was the founders were steeped in the history themselves as as farmers, but they were steeped in what I would call agrarianism from. Rome and Greece and, and the Renaissance. And what was that story In Virgil’s Georgics or ELOs or SID’S works in days.

It was this, that when you’re out on a farm, there’s nobody else. You’re responsible for getting your water. You drank where your sewage goes to fix, uh, your team up your horse or fix your car. You have to. And as far as security goes, sometimes, and this is true of me today, if I call the sheriff, it can be an hour.

I’m not in town. So I look at across the room over here, and I have 14 guns from my great-great-grandfather down where each person contributed. A 12 gauge, a 10 gauge, a 20 gauge a rifle of 30 odd six, uh, war veterans came back with a 30 40 Craig or a Springfield 19. They’re all there. And the answer is, why are they there?

Because they felt they had to defend their family and that was their responsibility. And then, and and more importantly, the founder said, you know, what other profession do you have to [00:45:00] combine the mind with the body. So you look out and you wanna plant an orchard, and you devise every strategy of planting.

Is it gonna be 20 by 18? Is it gonna be 18 by 16? You understand which variety, which, uh, cross poll. That doesn’t do any good unless you’re physically able to go out there and do it. So it was the idea that mind and body, you had an idea is worthless. Unless it’s reified, it’s, it’s, it’s turned into reality.

And farmers have to do both. If you’re a brilliant farmer, but you’re not physical, it, it’s not gonna work. If you’re a brute and you have no mind or no reason, it’s not gonna work. So it was a rare combination and it was this a sense of autonomy and what the Greeks called aa, economic self-sufficiency. So the idea was not that they had to be necessarily a majority, although Aristotle’s politics remember, said the only type of the best type of democracy is one of small farmers, and the middle classes were essential to the rise of Greece and Rome.

But the point in our life was the, the founders knew that they would be outnumbered. The rural people. Jefferson said, I worry when the cities are piled up with people that will lose our character. But the idea is you needed some of them. You needed a guy from Wyoming to run for Congress. You needed a guy from Kansas to come into the Congress and say, you people are crazy.

You’re all dependent. You don’t have no idea where your water comes from. You don’t know where your power comes from. You don’t know what, you can’t tell a carrot from a tomato. You’ve got this crazy idea that, you know, you just push a button and a steak comes out of the refrigerator. Let me tell you something.

And those type of cranky, dissonant voices were absolutely critical. And so I’m worried that we’re in this postmodern world where these young people feel that they want to go prep, prep, prep and take a test and then go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, and then get branded like a cow with a BA or a PhD from a Tony University, and then they go into high tech or law or insurance, and they’ve never been out in the real world.

And when you put those people in control of government, It, it’s not just it, it’s not just scary. It can be, uh, cruel and, and, uh, immoral because some of them have no idea. Uh, if I said to some of the people that are governing my future, which way does the wind grow? What phase of the moon are we in when the south wind blows in central California?

Should you watch out or not? And why do the birds seem to nest always about five o’clock, uh, in the evening? And these types of questions I was brought up with. And, um, I, I’m afraid that you become kind of a odd person out in a, a mass urbanized society. And that’s what I think it threatens the entire west because it’s antithetical to our origins.


John Anderson: a really interesting set of insights. Uh, I had the great privilege of leading. Uh, a party that had its genesis in rural Australia known originally as a country party than the National Party. Uh, and I, uh, as you were talking, I was just reflecting too about the sheer shift in numbers of people who were involved in agriculture.

So when the party was started a hundred years ago, probably fully a third of the people who had a job in Australia owned a farm or worked on a farm or were directly involved in agriculture and the production of food and fiber, it would now be, I suspect, at most two, two point a half percent. So you’ve had a staggering drop off in the number of people who have any real contact and understanding of, in particular, the point you made, the extraordinary requirement for a farmer to, uh, to be able to use their body and their brawn.

Uh, but to back it up with. True thoughtfulness and intelligence. I mean, you’ve gotta be everything from a, a businessman through to, you know, a tax expert through to a, uh, you know, a mechanic. Uh, and uh, and a vet veterinarian all wrapped into one. And we know in this country that the numbers of people involved in agriculture are dropping even more quickly now.

Uh, they continue to drop, sorry, because of modern technology, it won’t be long before you don’t have somebody on a tractor. We have a John Deere now that steers itself, it’s all on auto steer, not long before, you won’t need anybody in the cabin to even turn it round at the end of the run.

WWII and why it still matters

John Anderson: I’ll take a, a tiny little segue there.

For, for listeners who haven’t heard it, you gave an unbelievably interesting lecture on World War II and why it still matters. And as I understood it, your essential thesis there was that what should have been a nasty little series of border skirmishes turned into an utterly dreadful and murderous war because nations, particularly Germany and Japan, overestimating their own strength and believing that the West wouldn’t stand on principle and didn’t believe in itself.

Um, it could be easily overtaken. Uh, and so these things just got out of control and really it was in the end, one man leading, one, people that still had backbone that secured the [00:50:00] freedoms we have today. Uh, that was Churchill and Britain, of course, Britain in the war from the first day till the absolute end of the war, nearly exhausted itself.

But we owed a huge debt, which is not to take anything away from what the Americans did once they entered, particularly in the Pacific. Australia wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for. Um, Roosevelt and the Americans engaging themselves after Pearl Harbor. But that, that, that the point you make about being firm in defense of a set of things that you yourself believe in is something that we do seem to have lost

Victor Davis Hanson: sight of.

Yeah, I think so. I got criticism for the second World Wars by some in America because I made the statement, I think we in America, look at the totality of the war. And we said we had the largest army, almost as large as Soviet Union, but uh, Britain and, and our allies, our real allies, 12.2 million. And then we, we produce more goods and services than all of the combatants on both sides put together, more airframe.

We look at all of that, okay? And we fought in every theater and every moat in the air, under the sea, on the sea on ground or Asia. Okay, we got that. But the fact of the matter was that the war started because the United States was isolationist and let aggression go. And Britain under Stanley Baldwin in particular, but Neville Chala appeased people and the Soviet Union were active collaborators with the Molotov Ribbon top track.

That’s one thing we gotta remember. The second is Britain was the first country. To declare war on, on. It was in the war on the first day, and it was there on the last day of the major belligerence on both sides. It was the only country to fight the entire time. It was the only country to fight alone, Germany and Mussolini.

It was all alone from basically June 20th until the invasion of the Soviet of 1940 until the invasion of the Soviet Union. So it was extraordinary. And then when you look at the tank production, the, the aircraft production, the manpower of the British Empire, including your country, it outpaced the third rech.

Nobody would believe that today, but you look at the statistics of industrial production, oil, aviation, food, it was not even close. So it was a, it was a, an amazing achievement that we sometimes, uh, overlook. I think. So I was trying to make that point, uh, that Britain really was of all of the, of the allies, was the most far seen.

And I, I think that was, that was exactly right. And, um, a, a, a, a couple of things about World War II and I owe it great debt to a great Australian scholar, Jeffrey Blaney, because he wrote a book about the causes of war and he made a very simple observation that was profound, and I don’t want to mischaracterize his formulation, but he said that war is sort of like a laboratory experiment.

It takes place because you have to prove something that you’re not quite sure about, but it shouldn’t have have to happen. Wars occur when people don’t know the relative strength of everybody involved, and they don’t know the relative strength because of isolationism or appeasement, or. Collaboration. So what he was saying about World War II was absolutely brilliant.

He was saying if you look at the G D P of the Soviet Union, or Britain or the United States or the available manpower or the industrial pro, uh, production, or the brilliance of, uh, British Science and Radar and Sonar or Americans in mass production, you would have to be crazy if you were Germany and MO and Italy and Japan given your limited resources and your limited record of Indus to ever take those three on.

So why did they do it? Well, they did it because the three projected a sense of either eagerness to collaborate or eagerness to appease or eagerness to just wash their hands. And, and they made a profound miscalculation. But the problem with war is that miscalculation cost 65 million people, including 50 million that were innocent civilians.

World War II was basically a story. If you look at the, in terms of the dead of Germany and Japan, killing people who were onar.

John Anderson: And those are the lessons that our young people should be learning but aren’t. Um, Jeffrey Blaney, a very famous Australian, well into his nineties, still hail and hearty, still writing.

Uh, and you’ll find a conversation, uh, listeners, uh, between he and myself, um, on this, uh, the site.

Universities and credentialism

John Anderson: But he, um, he said something that I think you might understand and wanna respond to in that conversation. It was very interesting, um, about universities. He said, we worry about what happens in the universities, but the problem is they’re producing.

The academics who then teach our children in primary school. You yourself recently said all, and you’re an [00:55:00] academic who has worked in universities, of course, most of your life. And you said, and I quote all the ingredients for civilizational status, delayed or non-existent marriage and childbearing, massive unsustainable student debt, ideological indoctrination without learning and superficial credentialing, credentialing, uh, sorry, uh, originate in the university, uh, plainly.

Uh, you have real concerns about what is happening in our universities now, given their great historical importance and the contribution they’ve made to our wellbeing. Um, I find it amazing that they are so smugly defensive of the role that they play. The way in which in this country anyway, they are endangering the public faith and trust, uh, that people place in them.

And the taxpayers fund them for, because they seem to be determined to push things like critical theory. And now it gets out of the, um, the, the, the sort of humanities courses and even starts to inflict, you know, the, the, the straight mathematics, the science and all the rest of it. People say, how is that to be?

Well, postmodernists and critical theorists actually reject science. This thing’s

Victor Davis Hanson: got out of hand. They have, and I think the speaking, especially at the font of this pathologies here in the United States, and so we gave the University of a pass because we felt that they had produced such astonishing breakthroughs in science, uh, medicine, engineering, computers, and we were willing to give the humanities and the social sciences a pass.

And they sort of parasitically piggybacked on that achievement. But now we have $1.6 trillion in student debt. And that has meant a whole generation is not marrying, as you say, or not buying a house, not buying a car, not having children. And the university doesn’t have any. Uh, moral hazard. And by that I mean they assume the federal government will come in and give them a blank check and guarantee those loans, and then they jack up the rate of inflation, uh, the rate of tuition each year higher than the rate of inflation.

The administrative bloat is enormous. The teaching loads have gone down. Their curriculum is ID ideologically. You know, pervert it. So how can we react to that? There’s a few things we could do. We could say to the government, get out of student loans. If Stanford University’s got $20 billion endowment, or Harvard’s got 50, they have adequate sums to say to their students, you come here and we will give you a student loan and we will guarantee it.

And that would put them, that would give them hazard. And I think that they would cut their their costs and say, can we really afford to hire 10 more provost or deans of equity and inclusion that are non-academic? And add that to the bill of the bill to that student who then might default on our loan.

We could also get rid of tenure. It’s the only profession that I know of in the Western world where people have a blank check basically to say, to do anything and not be audited. We have something called post-tenure review. It’s not serious. So I would replace that with five-year contracts. I think that would be enormously helpful.

I don’t know about your country, but what’s been really deleterious is the rise of the education industry credentialing in the university where you, after you get your bachelor’s degree, then you go into the School of Education to get a credential for a year to teach K through 12. And they say, well, we’re gonna, and that’s where the ideological indoctrination takes place.

If we just said to the student, you can go there if you want to get credentials, but if you want to get a master’s degree in history, an academic subject or biology or math, that too will be equally fine. It will allow you to teach in a public school. I think the students in mass would gravitate towards something interesting that would help.

And finally, I don’t know why we’re, we’re all unique in the Western world ’cause we have these huge preeminent Western, uh, private universities, but I don’t think that their endowments any longer should be tax exempt. And, uh, they’re, they’re almost neo socialists and yet they expect Harvard to have 50 million, or Princeton to have 20, or Stanford to have 20 in another little school to be broke.

And so under their own precepts, either they should share their endowments or help out the poor schools. If they’re not willing to do that, then they should go on it. Their, on their own. They should not get tax exempt status. And I don’t know why an 18 year old in Fresno gets on a forklift and works his entire life, has to pay taxes to subsidize a private university that’s training somebody and won’t come out until he’s 27, 28 in debt.

But then with a degree. So I would, I would stop the government’s role entirely.

Western Canon teaches of our human condition

John Anderson: Earlier this, on this question of education. Earlier this year in your country, a high school teacher in Massachusetts boasted on social media, [01:00:00] and I quote, very proud to say we got the Odyssey by Homer removed from the curriculum this year.

You know, why should the person on the street care whether or not the great texts of western civilization are taught in schools? Do you, do you think it makes a practical difference to the nation? I

Victor Davis Hanson: do. I, I wrote a book about a co-author called, who Killed Homer, about that very topic once 20 years ago. We, you and I can talk and we can say it’s very important for a country to be self-reflective, to self corrective, to be empirical, but that’s a dry platitude.

When you have a 15 year old mind that picks up the Odyssey and they see that this man wanders all over, all over the AJ and the Mediterranean, and he, he meets every type of challenge of Cyclops. Sirens, Calypso, Sealy, and each one tests a particular element of his education and training and his essence.

And then when he finally returns home, who’s there to help him? The suitors, the Aris, the aristocrats of Ithaca. No, they’re all prey on his sustenance and destroying his home. He’s got Umas, the loyal Swer, the servant, the slave, who is more noble than any of the aristocrats. And he is got his loyal wife, Penelope, who’s not just keeping the house in order while he’s gone, but she’s outsmarting these males.

So at. Odyssey is the second thing that was produced in Western civilization after the Iliad, probably 20 or 30 year time span between the two, if that. But what the Wess was saying is this is a very exciting adventure story. In fact, it’s the stuff of cartoons and, and, you know, adventure movies. It’s been done so many times.

But at the very beginning, if you read this, you will understand how self-reflective that the issues of women, the issues of the poor, the issues of what, what you do when the danger is overwhelming. All of these issues will be discussed, torn apart, recom, uh, recalibrated. And a very self-reflective, self-critical society.

And I think it’s, it’s invaluable to have a, a repertoire of 20 or 30 of these works. It’s not a lot to ask of a student to know something about the divine comedy or the I or the Odyssey or esophagus or Virgil or Boethius, whatever. And there’s no set canon. But when you, you get these authors, you can see them in a, a context, you understand metaphor and similarly and the vocabulary and the beauty, art, artistry as well as the lesson.

And very few pieces of literature do that. I don’t find very many in my own time that do that at all. Yeah. I once

John Anderson: heard a, uh, a conservative say A conservative is somebody who does not believe that everyone who’s gone before us is an idiot or evil. In other

Victor Davis Hanson: words, you know, yes, I think, I think the conservative says exactly that.

He says, whether we like it or not, human nature is fixed. And just because we have, uh, computers or improved diets, you really cannot change human nature. You can make it better and modulate it through culture, but you have to start with the premise that, uh, conser, conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, I think said, human nature is conservative.

It’s predictable, and it it responds to enticements and potential punishments, and men are born into the world, sort of self interested, greedy. They have a soul that can be appealed to, but it’s fixed. And, and literature teaches us and history that teaches us how to deal with human nature to cities. First thing he, one of the first things he says in the history, as long as human nature remains constant, my history will be of some value.

He knew that the Peloponnesian War, thousands of years later, 2,600 years later, 2,500 years later, would not be necessarily the most important thing for people to read, but his story of human nature would simply because we would be like him, we would be unchanged. And I think that’s very important to re to remember.

Yeah. It strikes me the brilliance,

John Anderson: uh, of Alexander Hamilton, uh, and his role in, in the founding of your nation, uh, is, is, is, has now been discarded. Uh, he, he plainly understood. The need to recognize human nature and particularly its capacity for, uh, mob rule to dominate the minority, uh, and uh, uh, the checks and balances that he wanted to build in to maximize freedom, personal autonomy, and what have you, uh, and to minimize the chances of it being lost to the mob all washed out.

Will future generations restore the West?

John Anderson:

And it does strike me that one of the things that ought to sober us a little bit is to recognize that because human nature doesn’t change in our smugness, in assuming at the moment that we know right from wrong. And we of course draw the line of virtue between one group and another. Now that’s behind this polarization we see.

And if you belong to another group, you are simply not [01:05:00] virtuous. And the more you run that line, the more you have to pump up your own virtue. Do we really think that future generations will not be unbelievably harsh in our judgment on us, given the harshness that we’ve applied ourselves to, those who’ve gone before us?


Victor Davis Hanson: it’s a rhetorical question. No, no, you’re absolutely right. When we look back at the Sadan Witch trial or the Reign of terror in 1793, the Jacobin takeover, or we look at the McCarthy period, we don’t say to ourselves, well, they, they had reasons to do that. And so I, I don’t know why the cancel woke movement won’t suffer the same consequences since it’s got the same ingredients.

Opportunism, careerist aspirations, uh, surveilling, snooping, forced confessionals. And so we we’re not gonna get an excuse. I, that’s a very good question that I’ve thought about it so much that we, we in our smugness think that we’re gonna be praised because we’re diverse or we’re enlightened or we’re woke.

But I don’t, I don’t know what a future regeneration will say. Will they say that you took a million children and aborted them every year, and some of them, at least a few thousand, and why they were alive as they came out the birth canal, will they say to us, uh, wow. You destroyed people’s careers. You, you used this internet to surveil them and then you, uh, you invaded their privacy.

A person was just simply reading a novel on the online and all of a sudden an ad popped in and obliterated the screen. What kind of values is that? So all the things that we take for granted, I’m not sure when you look at the Hollywood output or the, as a future generation, say, well, let me just look at 2021 and I want to go back and look at Casablanca, or I want to go back and, uh, look at over the bridge, over the River Kwai or any of those movies or Lawrence and let me just compare you to them and we’re gonna be found wanting in so many areas.


John Anderson: It’s a challenge. It really is. It’s deeply concerning. Uh, um, I do meet, I really do a lot of people now who see through this mess, and that includes a lot of young people who I. Haven’t lost that desire to champ at the bit and build a better world. And it’d be very easy for them to fall into despair.

Uh, and we don’t want that to happen. We want them to say, to learn these lessons, to say, look, this is hopeless. Uh, we, we want to do it a better way. How do we encourage ’em? How do we not end? If I can put it this way, onto a, a, a pessimistic note about the future of the West. How do we say to young people in particular who understand a bit of history, who in this country, they’re often people who have had a different educational experience outside the state controlled ones.

And they, they’ve got an inkling that actually our foundations were pretty remarkable, uh, and that we ought to be building on them, not destroying them. Let’s offer them some hope, Victor. Yeah, I,

Victor Davis Hanson: I’d like to, I, I think it’s very exciting in history ’cause these are cyclical processes that one generation, if I could use, go back to the farm.

One immigrant comes in, he lives in his shack, he builds his farm. His son sort of has a nice car, but he doesn’t, he builds a bigger barn than his home. The third generation doesn’t know the grandfather and blows it and goes broke. That’s sort of what happened in Athens, that’s happening here. So our generation, the baby boomers, I think was that third generation that was in self-indulgent and ruined the capital that it inherited from the World War II generation that was brought up by people who built the country.

But it’s very much exci, much more exciting to be back in the restoration generation, the first generation. So I think we can tell people, look at what you can see. Look at what your parents, people like me inherited, and look what they did with it and don’t do that. And you can reconstruct this country and this society, and this civilization on the premises of a first generation that you’re starting to rejuvenate.

Rebuild. And what would, what, what do we mean by rejuvenate? Rebuild? You’re gonna follow constitutional principles. You’re gonna restore the family. You’re gonna have reverence for the past. You’re gonna get away from the, you’re gonna be tolerant when people’s heirs. You’re not gonna judge a man, good or bad by his worst qualities, but by his better qualities.

You’re not gonna go back in history and cancel people out because they don’t fit your, uh, contemporary ideas of morality. All of these are exciting things to think about and restore. And I, I, I agree with you. I see all of these young people and there are millions now that are saying, you know what? This idea of staying single until you’re 35 and then maybe living with somebody and then having all these degrees on behind your name and then trying to network.

There are a lot of people say, I, I want to go get a house. I want to raise children. I wanna believe in something. I wanna make a community safe. I want to have a moral tolerant society. And, and, uh, [01:10:00] it may not be quite the same cycle as those who created the west in these cycles of first generation, but I, I think it’s very exciting.

I have two children that, um, are in their thirties and they’re married and have children, they have homes. And I’m always amazed when I talk to them how they are increasingly more traditional and conservative than I am. And they’re saying that you don’t know what. Dad, you have no idea what our generations is facing.

And whether it’s big debt or increased house price, they take it on with Augusto and they really want to be better than than us. That’s not gonna be hard to do. But, uh, I think that, uh, I think it is exciting and I have enormous hope with people 18 to 35. I just think that they’re, they’re gonna do something that’s gonna restore the west because simply ’cause they have no choice.

John Anderson: Jonathan Sacks found, he did a major project before he died. Very fine gentleman, and he moved to Mount, spent a long period of time moving around England. Uh, and he said to me that two things that interested him about young people was that many of them felt they hadn’t been given a moral compass. So their substitute was to find an older person in their life that they admired and then emulate them.

He said the, and, and he found that dismaying, that we haven’t handed on a narrative. Good, that they’re smart enough to realize it and to find a substitute. I think that was the perspective he was putting. I’m not wanting to misrepresent him. So the other thing is that they know that it isn’t gonna be as easy for them.

And I think my sort of final remark there would be that they need to be very careful. We know in Australia, 80% of young people now have climate change anxiety. Now I’m a farmer. I’m worried about climate. I don’t dismiss the importance of climate. But one thing I know for absolute certainty after years in public life is that catastrophism, uh, and self-loathing, uh, and a sense of despair and anxiety will never get due to a frame of mind where you say, we’ve got a challenge.

Let’s, uh, uh, let’s go out and confront that challenge and deal with it rationally, sensibly and courageously. You’ll just go for emotion and, uh, uh, uh, destruction every time. And I, it really

Victor Davis Hanson: worries me. I was discussing that very anxiety last night on a television show, and it was about the virus. No sooner has the vaccination in miraculous fashion been created within 10 months, and we now are having 80 million vaccinated, and we have another a hundred million with antibodies, and we all have to be absolutely careful about mutants strains.

That could be dangerous, but. As the caseload per day and as the deaths are falling dramatically, the official class is paranoid. It’s, it’s, it’s saying to all of us, beware, you have to wear a mask. Even if you’re vaccinated. Even if you have antibiotic, you can’t change. And I was asked to respond to that I thought per a second because it kind of took me by surprise as a military astorian.

And I remember what George Patton said, he said when he was told that the third army is not going to be able to fight the verma given their superiority and tie. He said, never be let you yourself be a captive of your fears. And that. And I think that’s important. Yeah. And the other great, uh, general in American history, Ulysses Grant, in that terrible summer of 1864 when his subordinates came to him and said, Robert e Lee’s gonna do this, and he’s, he’s a, he’s gonna do this and he is gonna do this, and what are we gonna do?

And he said, I am sick and tired of hearing what Lee is gonna do to us. I want you to think about what you’re going to do to Lee. And I think that’s the attitude we have to have. It’s sort of defiant. I’m sick of the virus. I want to know, I want know how we’re gonna kill it, and I want to get as many vaccinations and as best strategy, but we have to have confidence.

We’re gonna defeat it and get back to normal rather than, as you say, be a captive of all these anxieties. And it applies to climate change, et cetera. That’s why there’s certain people in our society in the West, and Ellen Musk, even if they’re a flawed individual, you have to admire them. They, they look out at space or they, if there’s a climate change, then I’ll build an electric vehicle.

And some of these people in our society, I have enormous, uh, Confidence in, because they have that patent grant defiance and you know, it’s like Dante audacity, audacity. So always more audacity. Well, I

John Anderson: think too of the issue of character, and I had the privilege of speaking to, uh, Dan Crenshaw as a, a republican, a young Republican, uh, uh, member of Congress from Texas.

And he said something that I thought was very revealing and he said that, uh, you know, he picked it up in his ears with the seals. He’s obviously a very brave man, but he said, uh, in public life because it’s so acrimonious and so dirty and nasty [01:15:00] now he is determined not to give offense to the best of his ability and doubly determined not to take it.

And, uh, I think for young people, especially in an age of social media, there’s a brilliant insight in that. But what you’ve had to say is really encouraging. And thank you for your relentless drilling down into reality and then drawing such valuable lessons. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation and I hope many others do as well.

Victor Davis Hanson: Thank you for having me again, John, appreciate it. Say hello to your audience. Thank you. All the best. Thank you for watching this episode. We appreciate your support. If you value vital conversations like this one, be sure to subscribe to the channel there and also click the notification bell to stay up to date with new releases.

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