Victor Davis Hanson, historian of war
"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
"It's not that history repeats itself, it that sometimes she screams "Won't you ever listen to what I'm trying to tell you?" - and lets fly with a club."
John W. Campbell
I hope by now that y'all have some trust in my recommendations of thinkers and writers worth listening to, because I have another one I consider very important.
Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian, and oddly enough a grape farmer in California. He publishes in a lot of places, but if you go to his personal website here http://www.victorhanson.com/ most of his stuff gets posted there eventually.
If you are a history buff, his books are both informative and readable. His latest is A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponesian War. I personally recommend Carnage and Culture to begin with.
If you go here http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_military_history.html you'll find his latest article Why Study War? a justification for military history studies, now almost vanished from American academics, to what may be our lasting regret in the future.
If you like it, you'll want to follow the link to The Peace Racket (by Bruce Bawer.)
Dr. Hanson is a supporter of the Iraq war and President Bush - and a registered Democrat. Now semi-retired from teaching, he's managing his family farm and writing.
Unlike many academics who consider unreadable prose a sign of sophistication, Hanson writes with directness and clarity.
"For the cold war’s real lesson is the same one that Sun Tzu and Vegetius taught: conflict happens; power matters. It’s better to be strong than to be weak; you’re safer if others know that you’re ready to stand up for yourself than if you’re proudly outspoken about your defenselessness or your unwillingness to fight. There’s nothing mysterious about this truth. Yet it’s denied not only by the (Oslo Nobel) Peace Center film but also by the fast-growing, troubling movement that the center symbolizes and promotes."
To those of us who have worked with our hands running the gritty infrastructure of civilization*, this seems to be a self-evident truth of human nature. Yet we are daily confronted with the obvious fact that to many of the most affluent and well-educated members of our civilization it is not evident at all.
George Orwell would have understood the attraction of privileged young people to the Peace Racket. “Turn-the-other-cheek pacifism,” he observed in 1941, “only flourishes among the more prosperous classes, or among workers who have in some way escaped from their own class. The real working class . . . are never really pacifist, because their life teaches them something different. To abjure violence it is necessary to have no experience of it.”
Bruce Bawer http://www.brucebawer.com/
Like other philosophical farmers such as Hesiod or Robert Burns, his works may outlast his civilization. And if enough of our people read, discuss and debate what he has to say, we may get to keep our civilization a while longer.
* I spent a total of six years working as a garbageman, another half-dozen as a sewage treatment plant worker. I've also bucked hay in harvest season and worked in construction (semi-skilled jobs). And though it's a common stereotype it's a valid one, if you really want insights into people try being a bartender.