“Conservative” writer and classicist Victor Davis Hanson hates the Confederacy and the South; he has demonstrated this repeatedly in recent years through his articles published in National Review (where he is a senior contributor) and in other venues (see, for example, “Sherman’s War,” November 9, 1999; “California Goes Confederate,” Jewish World Review, February 9, 2017; “The Strange Case of Confederate Cool,” National Review, September 26, 2017; and “The Confederate Mind,” National Review, March 20, 2018.
His most recent anti-Confederate broadside showed up in the so-called “conservative journal of opinion,” National Review [March 20], where he made the accusation that Senator Elizabeth Warren, the extreme Left US senator from Massachusetts, was “acting like Confederates did back in 1861” and that she possessed a “Confederate Mind.” I offered a short response via my blog, part of a longer column. That column—the portion about Hanson—was picked up by my friend and columnist Ilana Mercer and published on her Barely-a-blog site.
But given Hanson’s visibility among conservatives and via “conservative” media, background and information on his consistent attacks on Southern heritage should be more widely known.
Accordingly, here is the article as it showed up on Mercer’s web site:
No Daylight Between ‘Conservatives’ & The Far Left About The South, American History & Nation’s Founding
Vaunted “conservative” Victor Davis Hanson is at it again. Hanson, it seems, possesses a fixation about the Confederacy and the Old South. The pre-War Between the States South was a region dripping with racism and bigotry, he repeatedly exclaims, that deserved its “punishment” from those Godly soldiers who went marching, burning and pillaging through to bring to the poor, unenlightened Southerners all the fruits of democracy, equality and “righteousness.”
In the past, Hanson has praised Sherman’s March as “holy work” and “actually not that hard” on Southern civilians, and called any decent or fair treatment of Confederates in cinema as glorifying “folksy racists.” Obviously John Ford, who treated Confederates with respect, if not sympathy (think here of John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards in the classic, The Searchers, or Pvt. John Smith, AKA General Rome Clay, CSA, in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, for instance), did not get the memo.
Hanson is a prominent senior contributor to the “conservative” magazine National Review, and his views are shared by its other contributors, including its editor Rich Lowry. It is a view that partakes of the very same narrative as the Marxist writers, historians and journalists on the “farther Left.” It is the same viewpoint that is now being foisted off every Sunday evening by Fox News in its televised “history” program titled, “Legends & Lies: The Civil War.” It is a theme that posits that the United States was founded specifically on an “idea,” and that “idea” was equality, which, they quickly point out, is proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.
But it is an idea that the Founders rejected and, in fact, understood was and would be the death of the American republic.
In several columns and published articles over the past few years, I have cited the twenty year correspondence and series of debates between the late Professors Mel Bradford and Harry Jaffa regarding the American Founding and the idea of “equality.” Bradford’s volume, Original Intentions, gives the lie to those who pose the ideology of equality as this nation’s founding principle. And, more recently, Professor Barry Alain Shain (Colgate University), in his mammoth study, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context: American State Papers, Petitions, Proclamations, and Letters of the Delegates to the First National Congresses (2014), provides overwhelming documentation of Bradford’s view and the ahistorical views of Hanson and those like him. An excellent, if detailed, summary can be found in Bradford’s essay in Modern Age quarterly, “The Heresy of Equality” (Winter 1976).
In short, the arguments of Hanson, Lowry, and other Neoconservatives violate the basic standards of historical investigation and writing.
There is no daylight historically between the Neocons and those now leading the establishment “conservative movement,” and the far Left Marxists when it comes to interpreting American history and our nation’s Founding. Indeed, George W. Bush’s point man and vaunted political consultant, Karl Rove, has praised anti-Southern Marxist historian Eric Foner as his “favorite historian.”
Given that fatal historical myopia, is it any wonder that “conservatism inc.” is now a miserable and losing proposition when it comes to opposing the forces of the farther Left in the battle for what remains of the American republic and our inherited culture? Needless to say, any traditional American who claims to be a real conservative and who continues to accept the tutelage of such individuals and their organs—indeed, any Southerner who continues to conflate such historical drivel with a defense of his own heritage—needs to re-examine his views and undergo a reality check.