From writing about history, linking the experiences and lessons from the ancient Greeks or Romans to the current times, or providing a viewpoint towards modern politics on an international, national, or even state (California), VDH will make one think about the topic being presented regardless of one's political ideology or beliefs.
VDH writes and contributes to both the National Review and PJ Media with regular columns and essays. I will be highlighting many of these from both sources because they are usually exceptionally good. This week's essay for PJ Media, News Behind the News, exceeds that high bar.
To discover a fine wine, one needs to taste the wine first. Here's a taste of VDH's take on the 'News Behind the News' regarding the Occupy movement....
A Robert Rubin, George Soros, Franklin Rains or Jim Johnson can find insider ways to make tens of millions, regardless of the health of their corporation or the ethics of their conduct—and apparently expect to face little popular scrutiny, given their liberal fides. None of their pictures will show up on placards at Occupy Wall Street protests. You see, we live in an age where the biggest recipient of Goldman Sachs and BP cash, indeed the most successful Wall Street fundraiser in presidential history, who alone renounced public financing of presidential general election campaigns, can himself politick as an anti-Wall Street, anti-corporate jet, anti-“millionaires and billionaires” man of the people. What does Barack Obama do when he meets his own targets at the back nine on Martha’s Vineyard? Smile and say, “Nothing personal,” as he invites them over to a $50,000 a plate fundraiser?
The charge that many financial institutions are amoral may be true, but the charge that they are logical reflections of conservative greed is often a lie. Indeed, Wall Street is more deeply embedded within the Ivy League, and within the New York-Washington liberal nexus, than among the sorts who show up at a Tea Party rally. Exactly what financial brilliance earned Jamie Gorelick, a Clinton apparatchik, a $26 million take at Fannie Mae, as it imploded and nearly wrecked the country? Did she give back to the Fed any of her lucre? What sort of populist was a Sen. Chris Dodd (of Dodd-Frank reform fame) who used his office for low-interest personal loans? How in the world did Rahm Emanuel end up making $16 million as a “banker”—what financial genius had he previously shown, what Harvard MBA did he earn? How did Barney Frank go from a demagogue demanding no-background loans for the supposedly underprivileged overnight to a concerned legislator pontificating, after the fall, that renting for some might be preferable?
So until I see posters of a Gorelick or Rains in Oakland, I don’t put much stock in the occupy protests.
Another common topic for Professor Hanson is the discussion and debate around illegal immigration. VDH authored a book I highly recommend on this topic, Mexifornia. In the same essay listed above, here is his observation around the hypocrisy of the left when it comes to illegal immigration...
“Illegal immigration” is not about illegal immigration. I would have thought the issue was only about poverty, until realizing that $40-50 billion a year leave the U.S. in remittances to Latin America, in many cases from those who use American subsidies to free up cash to send home. It is not quite about moral justice, given that the U.S. is in near recession with millions of citizens out of work and whose earning power in the Southwest was eroded by cheaper workers here illegally. Nor is Mexico innocent, but by design seeks to export its own impoverished to win remittances, ease the burden of paying for social services, and build an expatriate community more sympathetic to Mexico the longer and farther it is away from it.
Instead, illegal immigration concerns most advocates not in the abstract sense of changing the law for all, but only in the concrete—solely in the sense of illegal immigration from Latin America in general, and Mexico in particular. In essence, the argument is that a common ethnic tie trumps federal law in a fashion that no others should dare emulate. Even the staunchest advocate of open borders would oppose 3,000 from Kenya or Chad landing in freighters on the American coast and demanding amnesty. Apparently, there is some sort of notion that past history or present ethnic solidarity privileges a distortion of the immigration law to such an extent as to render it ineffective. In other words, advocacy for blanket amnesty and open borders hinges on no one else taking up such an offer except those from Mexico and Latin America: there can be only so much controlled chaos before things get uncontrollably chaotic.
As I often say about the columns and essays from Victor Davis Hanson - Read it all. In fact, read all of his columns and essays. I believe you will find them as compelling and thought provoking as I do.