The David Horowitz Freedom Center held its annual Restoration Weekend at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach in the immediate aftermath of the election last month. Victor Davis Hanson was one of the featured speakers. The author of many outstanding books, Professor Hanson is a classicist and historian who now hangs out his shingle as the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The subject of Professor Hanson’s talk on David’s program in Palm Beach was “Mythologies of the 2016 election.” The video runs about 45 minutes. The final 20 minutes are questions and answers, but some of his most pointed comments come in the final 20 minutes. I think this is worth your time if you, like me, continue to try to sort things out.
I first met Professor Hanson at a 2006 Claremont Institute summer program in Aspen at which a precocious young congressman named Paul Ryan spoke about Social Security. When Mitt Romney selected Ryan as his running mate in 2012, I wrote to ask then Claremont president Brian Kennedy to remind me what Ryan had talked about. Ryan was representing Wisconsins’s First Congressional District, from one of Minnesota’s neighboring states. I most vividly recall wondering during Ryan’s talk how I hadn’t heard of this guy before.
I also recall standing in line next to Professor Hanson with my friend and then Claremont chairman Bruce Sanborn to enter the venue where we were to hear Professor Hanson speak. Again, I don’t remember the subject, but I recall asking him whether he thought the speeches quoted by Thucydides in his History are historical. “There are 39 [or whatever the correct number is] speeches reported by Thucydides,” Professor Hanson began as he launched into an astonishing mini-lecture answering my question. He is an extraordinarily learned and decent man, as you may infer from this talk itself.
Quotable quote: “I didn’t think that Trump’s flaws, and they were numerous, were in what we call in philology the indicative mood. They were subjunctive; they were what he might do in office because he hadn’t held office, when in Hillary’s [case] they were indicative. She had created a crime syndicate. There was no doubt about it. Pay to play bribery. She had lied to the FBI, 27 times said she didn’t know what was going on. She couldn’t open her mouth about the email servers without lying. And so she was really a criminal. And I thought that’s indicative.”
One more: “Trump had all the right enemies. All the people you don’t like, don’t like Trump.”