tv ISI Conservative Book of the Year - Victor Davis Hanson The Dying... CSPAN August 25, 2022 2:00pm-3:01pm EDT
invite up our keynote speaker tonight, dr. victor david hansen as the winner of this year's henry and annucci book prize. dr. hansen is a longtime friend of isi. he was a faculty associate going all the way back to the 90s as i mentioned earlier. he actually wrote an isi book in 2002 called bonfire of the humanities rescuing the classics in an impoverished age. he also has lectured to isi students on topics such as who killed homer the origins of the west and what happened to history. he is the martin and ellie anderson senior fellow at the hoover institution focusing on classics and military history. he is also the wayne and marcia buskey distinguished visiting fellow in history at hillsdale college and he combines the very
rare ability to be one of the foremost scholars in his field of classics, but also to be a popular pundant who regularly appears on fox news and rights of weekly column with national review as well as american greatness. he has received a ba in classics from university of california santa cruz. he was a fellow at the american school of classical studies in athens and received his phd from the university of stanford and his book the dying citizen how progressive elites tribalism and globalization are destroying the idea of america is this year's conservative book of the year. please join me in welcoming, dr. victor david hansen. can you hear me? okay. i might have been.
the first isi event i went to was about 20 year 20 more than 25 years ago. and that we were each assigned a student one of the isi students mine was ilya shapiro that he's been in the news lately and we've kept up over the years in fact. he thank you. he once showed up at my house my farm and said i need to be inculcated in the arts of agriculture for a month. so that was my first connection with isi. thank you very much for the award. i thought i would just speak 25 or 30 minutes about the dying citizen, but one of the things and i wrote i wrote i wrote the book before the entire george floyd in the woke movement and the covid and i added an afterward but you know. i think all of us are bewildered right now. i have been recently in downtown denver and downtown seattle.
it looks like hiroshima. it really does. nobody goes there that everything in santa monica is the same way in venice beach is i was in san francisco not long ago and a billion dollars have been invested in solving the homeless problem and it's worse than it ever has been. as i said to another group this evening. the people have signs in their cars that say nothing here or unlocked. can you ever imagine anybody would think about in the united states? when we talk about these scenes from the border, and we're going to see a lot this summer people say the border is poorest there is no border. how could it be porous when it does not exist any longer? i have to go as many of you do overseas in two weeks, and i forget my passport on the way back. i will not be able to get in this country. people go back and forth across the border as it's a birthright without a passport illegally, so
this idea that you disagree with a supreme court justice. so you show up at the person's home and scream and yell at their family. this is foreign. so you ask yourself. what do our enemies and our friends abroad think does vladimir putin look at this fang and say this is something that i can take advantage of when i go into ukraine. does china think that what do our friends say in japan or or europe. what do people say when? a saturday night in chicago is like tombstone or dodge city. what would the people who died at okinawa think about? this is what i died for at, okinawa. so how did this all happen and how did it happen so quickly? so precipitously almost so unexpectedly. maybe covid was a force multiplier sort of drove everybody crazy being locked down. i think the answer is the citizen loss control not because they were in the minority.
they're still in the majority. traditional citizens, but they lost control of the country to institutional forces. that were sort of anti-democratic but had enormous powers of influence to communications information retrieval government, and we know what they are. they're the media. professional sports hollywood entertainment silicon valley wall street wall street disney corporation american airlines pepsi corporate boardroom as i said and so all of these institutions for a variety of reasons have decided that they are going to join this minority of the population in reformulating the united states. and because there are ideologues and they're losing popular support. all ideologues would rather be
politically, correct ideologically, correct, even if that means they're going to eventually lose power and become unpopular then to adjust. adjust and be considered ideologically incorrect and be popular. and successful so the fact that all of these things i just mentioned are proof and signs and symptoms of being unsuccessful matters. nothing. there's not believe me. or delaware resident joe biden is not going to call up the democratic. and republican leaders of the congress and say you know what? the border does not work. we all have differences, but for now, let's just finish the wall and we'll discuss it. he's not going to call up and say we have discussions about energy green energy, but we can't function as a society when truckers are paying $7 for diesel fuel in, california. so let's just finish the keystone pipeline and open up anwar and encourage frackers. to get going and i'll try to make sure that the lending
institutions help them. he's not really going to do that. he's not going to call up and say. we need to stop printing money and we don't have it. so for now let's take a hiatus and interest rates are going to go up a little bit and we're going to try to break the back of what looks like a stagflation on the horizon and by christmas, he's not going to do that to the degree that he knows he what he's doing. it's not going to do that because an ideologue will not change. they will not change. it's more important to be ideologically, correct. than it is to be successful by any traditional means so we're in this situation. so how did the majority of all of the citizenry lose this power to corporations and institutions like facebook or twitter or the washington post or npr pbs or hollywood and or new york entertainment? or the people at wall street. how did that happen? and the answer i think is that gradually there have been some
ancient and modern forces that have undermined citizenship. we've got just very briefly. remember that citizenship is the aberration that's not the norm throughout civilization. the idea that individual residents of a particular state or tribe would take upon the burdens of governance is beyond the ability of most people to do. and so usually the norm of history is altocracy or dictatorship or monarchy. anything other than entrusting power to the people themselves and yet that happened in the 8th century in greece. set the foundations for a model that even though it would fade re-emerge disappear. reappear is been the cornerstone of western civilization the idea that citizens are not residents. they're not subjects or not slaves or not serfs, but they're independent autonomous powerful people that adjudicate how they are governed. and for citizenship to occur
almost in every occasion. you have to have a previous middle class or a coterminous middle class. people who are not rich and don't have the resources or the temptations to influence government by concessions, and they are different than a peasant. or impoverished clouds. it looks toward either the wealthier government for support. other words in order to be self-govern you have to be self-critical have to be empirical and to be empirical and self-critical you have to be economically autonomous. and that's been sort of the story in classical greece the yeoman farmer of greece and rome reappears in europe at various periods. and of course our country was founded on that idea that 90% of the population we're going to be freeholding small farmers. and the ideas are very skeptical. they don't really need government to give them money. they're not dependent on it like the poor. they don't seek to get concessions like the rich.
and yet when we look at almost every barometer of middle-class income purchasing power homeownership. they've all been fading. we have a a middle-class youth that are 1.7 trillion dollars in aggregate debt. and one of the one of the things the symptoms that we're seeing is what tocqueville warned about the emergence of and various circumlocution. he was describing prolonged adolescence for a long adolescence when you look at the statistics of young people today the age of marriage first time you get married has gone from 23 up to about 27 the age when people have their first child up to 33 from 28. the age when people buy their first home way up that fertility rate. has gone just in 20 years from 2.1 and 1999 down to about 1.7.
or these student deaths part of the problem living at home a symptom or causal agent. we don't know but we have a large number of people. who are not engaging in the traditional activities of marrying? raising a family having children buying a home that take attention away from the self invest it with responsibilities for other people and those are traditional catalysts of conservative thought and so when we lose that middle class. solidifying element in a society and no better example than california. it's very funny that they always quote the genie cofactor. the second worst cofactor in the united states is california. it's the most second most unequal state and the nation got the highest poverty rate. highest number of people above below the poverty rate. it has one out of every three people on assistance. by every classical definition it
is a feudal state. minorial state a state of two classes rather than three homeownership is very rare in california compared to other states. and social services are very poor. it's rated 48 by many studies in infrastructure 47th and test scores and yet it has the highest basket of gasoline property and sales tax. so it's the model that i think the united states is going to and it's feudal in nature. and you can see that with the attitude of silicon valley magnets mark zuckerberg. i'm going to put 419 million dollars in key precincts and absorb the rules and regulation responsibilities of the state registrar to influence. an election and then but we're not going to call that dark money. so it's very dangerous to have a society without a middle class. another thing. that's very peculiar is borders. i once wrote a lot of articles about what causes wars on the ancient world. i would go all over greece and rental car and i would go to these.
battlefields and they all were on borders. but they weren't near silver mines. they weren't near rich farmland. they were out in the middle of nowhere scrub. so why would thieves go to war with athens or argos go to war with sparta over nothing? and then it kind of dawned on me. they were everything because they were demarcation points. and the city-state was saying we have no arrogance noobs that we can expand this model all over greece. and the way that the meglomatic alexander the great did and destroyed hellenism and replaced it with hellenistic civilization, but they said within these confines these protocols were human we can inculcate a unique city-state. so i think that's been very important throughout western civilization that nations a nation-state says within these borders. we're going to have a moderate democracy a radical democracy a
constitution whatever system of consensual government. they wanted they thought that it was important to educate the the populace within defined borders so this was the enemy of tribalism where people came across and migrated back and forth without any identity. third thing that was absolutely critical for citizenship was the identity a shared identity. and it was not based on race or ethnic origins or tribal affiliations. they were always considered in the past as something the pre civilizational primitive primitive. through city starts his history out by saying by writing in pre-city-state people used to migrate. migrate across what is now a border in other words, they were not stationary people and they identified and they doled out favors based on blood kin. usually your first cousin. i was once trying to think.
about 15 years ago. i want to go to every middle east country. and just visit and observe and i went to almost all accept iran. and i was asking a very learned scholar i said, why does this country not work? it's got all the things in the world. he said we hire our first cousin. we hire our first cousin. by that means we trust people that are look like us are related to us. and when you start to go tribal remember it's as i said earlier to a group. it's a the latin derivative word for a three-par type 3 three tribes are ruled rome before the onset of republican government and it didn't work because people a point leaders generals bankers on the basis of their closest kintai or their superficial appearance and why and the 233rd year of our republic?
60 years after the civil rights movement martin luther king's admonition of the continent of our character rather than the color why we are reverting to a tribal society which every single historical chronicle or pass civilizations have has seen as pre-tribal and dangerous. i don't know. if you came from a planet x and you came to the united states in 1860 and you went south of the mason-dixon lines. you would say. is a very strange society they believe in a one dropped rule the racially fixated. and you might say and they they don't have a middle class. in 1860s anti-bel himself. it's just the plantationists and a slave class. there's no middle class. and there are one-party state. and they talk about succession. and they nullify federal law. they always nullifying federal law and then if you that same
person time traveled to california this year you'd see the same thing. it's a one-party state. they're already talking about blue state succession all the time. there's no middle class and they're completely fixated to the point that. people who apply to college now will sometimes send their dna voluntarily because there's no connection between your ethnic or racial status necessarily in your superficial appearance, but there is somebody somewhere otherwise people wouldn't do that. and so tribalism is on the return. these are primorial forces that have undermined the citizen and consensual government the erosion or the non-existence of a middle class the complete erasure of borders and no unique civic identity within confined spaces. and the idea that we all are going to self-select to a particular tribal group and our appearance.
will be essential whether than incidental to who we are unfortunately for us we also have i would call them not pre-modern but postmodern forces. these are more sophisticated elite efforts to undermine citizenship and consensual government as we know it from the constitution here in the united states. one, of course is the growth of what we are caricatured for saying deep state administrative state permanent state. this is the reference to sort of a versailles like government. two million people in the federal workforce 30 or 35 percent of the population working for government. and these people these people are unelected. so they outlaw their attitude in the epa or the irs if a congress person or a senator or someone wants to investigate them their attitude is these these people are transitory? we are permanent. we have such a bureaucratic labyrinth.
we know the laws they'll never have time to master the laws as we do we outlast them and live longer than they do. so it's a pure minute state. it combines the role of the legislature executive and judicial. you get you tangle with the irs you tangle with? the epa and you tangle with a pentagon you're dealing with people who will interpret a law that was made by congress in such a way that may not even resemble it. and then they will enforce it in a way and then the appeal will go to one of their own unless you want to go to a court and then they will have more resources than you do and that will be known in advance. and they ruin people's lives. they're completely exempt. from the rule of laws. we know it. and as i said to an earlier group this evening. what james comey had? and andrew mccabe james clapper and john brennan and lois
lerner, they all had one thing in common. they had enormous powers. they all lied under oath or said they could not remember and there were no punishments at all. even somebody with a sterling reputation that we all honor robert mueller. how could robert mueller run a 22 month long investigation? based on the steel dossier and its dissemination by fusion gps and testify under oath. to the house intelligence committee. when asked that he had no idea what the dossier was. he had no idea. what gps was in other words he had no idea why his committee existed his commissioned existed in the first place. and that that was 22 months post-facto. so it's very dangerous to invest and give up your constitutional rights to people who are not elected and they're growing greater and larger as the individual citizen fields. that they are losing their independence and they need someone to instruct them someone to house them someone to give
them education someone to give them legal advice for someone to protect them the more that they want protection the more that this deep state says we're here to help you. and pretty soon the state is the master and the citizen or what was the citizen as the slave there's another postmodern and it's postmodern effort to destroy citizenship and the constitution. you've seen it very frequently in the news lady. i called these the evolutionaries. these are people that think that human nature is malleable and has changed and the constitution is fixed and archaic and the amendment process doesn't keep up with changing brain chemistry, perhaps and therefore they have to change the constitution or the custom and traditions that surround it to better reflect this idea that we're really not a constitutional republic but we're radical athenian or french revolutionary democracy. in other words what 51% on any given day want should be enacted
immediately as law. and so they go after institutions the one that's been most recently in the news is is the hundred and fifty year old. nine person supreme court, not a word of this 30 years ago when we still had the dynamism of the warren court everybody thought nine justices were wonderful. remember that packing the court was a dirty word. any textbook written i know earlier than 20 years ago said that this was fdr's colossal mistake of his administration. a 1937 high on this great landslide in 1936. he tried to create a 15 justice court. so that he could ram through what had been termed on constitutional new deal protocol what is not said about it was it was pretty effective because a lot of the subsequent supreme court decisions favored fdr in fear that would always do that. so when people say they're going to pack the court as elizabeth
warren did the other day angry about the versus wade preliminary leak. what she's really saying is we're going to keep saying we're going to pack the court pack the court pack the court pack the court until justice roberts or someone else says, please don't in his mind. please don't pack the core. we'll give you a decision. that would not want you to park the court why pack the court when you can get so that's the purpose of it. we're seeing efforts to get rid of the electoral college. nobody ever says i want to get rid of the electoral college because the founders were wrong because when we get rid of the electoral college candidates will still go to rural areas and go to places besides chicago and new york and la and san francisco in houston. they'll still do that and guess what? we won't have multiple parties as they do in europe will still have basically a two-party system. and we won't have the ability to rig an entire election because
each state will be responsible for their ball. that was some of the reasons that were advanced nobody ever mentions that we have this national voting compact where you don't have to amend the constitution to get rid of the electoral college. you just need 270 votes of states legislatures and aggregates saying that our state will reflect the national vote not our state will it's unconstitutional, but we're within i think what's 60 votes now. of getting that 270 figure the 180 year filibuster 180 year old filibusters is also on the table. something that barack obama remember evoke to stop the alito nomination. 60 years of 50 states with puerto, rico and washington and instant for senators the constitution says that the federal government from time to time can come in and adjudicate. a balloting on a national level, but it was considered rare 18
year old vote women's suffrage to make it uniform but the idea you're going to have a national voting law to supersede the state's rights to set voting protocols ie. have a voter id. almost passed and so the evolutionaries are constantly trying to change the system the thing that that they're most angry about right now is the us senate and they say, why does california have 20 million people? per senator and wyoming these right-wing nuts in wyoming have 250,000. that's not fair. it has to be proportional represents with no imagination. no curiosity no interest to going back and see what the founders wrote about the roman republic or montesquieu spirit of laws or the idea of checks and balances. between a demographically apportion lower house and a state or provincial upper house there were reasons for it. but again, there's no interest in finding that. and finally, you know, this is kind of a meaningless word
globalization where everybody uses it so promiscuously, it's just a translation of a greek word cosmopolitanism. a politase the citizen of the world socrates said he was but it's this idea in the age of commercial and financial. globalization that the logical next shoot a fall would be political homeownersization. so we all like globalization. it's given, you know eyeglasses to people in mongolia. it gives antibiotics and sophisticated drugs if you're a doctor and sub-saharan africa, you can go on the internet and find the latest protocols from harvard medical school. but the idea that because you can do that. or that the idea that people in rural china now say hey guy or okay, man, or people wear levi's are sneakers in rural greece doesn't mean that. politically or ideologically you want as tony blinken does our
secretary of state the un commission. on human rights to adjudicate whether we're systemically racist. iran has no right to tell us that were we don't want the international criminal court to tell an officer in afghanistan where he whether he would be a war criminal or not to order artillery strike. there's still a treaty idea that the iran deal was not just a deal. it was a treaty it required ratification by the senate. two-thirds it didn't get it and a lot of that was the pressure from abroad. paris climate accord was a treaty. so what you're seeing is that we have two groups of. people about half the population one quarter from miami to boston. one quarter of the population from san diego to seattle one side looking out at the asian tigers and china the other on the eu.
more integrated each coast with europe and asia than it is with. i don't know dayton or bakersfield. and all of these people and all of us in this room or perhaps some of them had skills that were transferable to a market that grew from 300 million to seven billion. hit me when i wrote an article. it was about 2004 and all of a sudden people started. email i mean that had been very relatively new about article from south korea. how does somebody from south korea read somebody from selma? doesn't make any sense and then all of a sudden i started to know that when i signed a book contract something that had been irrelevant before foreign sales all of a sudden there were this edition and this edition in this edition. and so people and then finance law insurance media professional sports. look at the los angeles lakers most of their income will soon come if it doesn't already from china franchising.
and so their attitude was that we were uniquely qualified through education temperament zip code. or the professions that we are to have this market and more money came in and then anywhere in the history of civilization from 2000. to the present six trillion dollars of market capitalization in silicon valley levels if you looked at i used to go and look at the fortune for hundred thirty years ago. it was very funny. there was only one or two billionaires and most of the occupations were things like transportation construction agriculture mining oil today, you look at it, and i don't i think if you're one billion you don't get on it. but most of the professions are finance investment. insurance tech computers entertainment media really that type of thing real estate someone so it's it's winners that have been very successful in the global project. but the problem is they feel
that because they were economically so blessed. they can move on to a higher state of political unity and they it's like ruth bader ginsburg saying i think that we should look at the south african constitution for advice and help to correct the defects of our own so they look at abroad and they feel that the united states is parochial and ossified in calcified and they are citizens of the world and then they they confuse cause and effect and they look at people in the interior. these are the people who mine who farm who produce energy. to manufacture they assemble and they think well because they didn't they weren't as successful as i was and they weren't cattle brown with this ba or this jd or this phd then they're losers. and when they have a fentanyl crisis or there's a rust belt wipe out people say well, why don't they go code? they can go to the fracking fields of dakota's. so it's always cut they're
always culpable not the outsourcing or the offshoring or the idea that there has to be some type of limits to this. this vast cosmopolitanism and you can see the vocabulary that happened. just three major politicians joe biden. and hillary clinton and barack will get obama themselves gave us the vocabulary of clingers deplorables irredeemables chumps and drags. all for supposedly at the trump or even pre-trump voter. but again the idea was well, they didn't make any money and now they're taking drugs and they're kind of losers and they're in places. you'd never want to go. i'm quoting literally now from a silicon valley cos these are not places you'd want to go. and in the process we wrote off half the country. and then covid came. and the funny thing happened. did you notice that you can't eat facebook and you can't drive
twitter and you can you can't live under a google roof all of a sudden people were out there braving covid and they were the people when your dryer broke down they came up and replaced it. they were the people when your circuit breaker went out they fixed it and all of a sudden they said you know what we're in demand now and you're going to pay pay and suddenly you saw for the first time arena negotiation, and now people i've heard some very professional people say, i don't really care of my kid goes to college. they're gonna be indoctrinated. i'd rather have them be a general contractor. and so there's a there's a sense that we are starting to reevaluate the nobility of muscular labor, and we don't think that people who work with their hands or service tonight or losers. they're unique citizens. let me just finish by suggesting that. these problems that we see on the border are with the humiliating retreat from afghanistan.
are the indoctrination of our schools with critical race theory or the voluntary suspension? of natural gas or oil development or begging vladimir putin or the iranians or the venezuelans or the saudis to produce energy that we have it feel is beneath us to produce. or the crime wave in our major city. these were not the results of volcanic eruptions. more foreign wars or tsunamis or even covid although? i think it helped a little bit with the with the crazy lockdowns. they were self-created. they were self-inflicted. they were ideologically driven. there were anti-imirical. and that while it is depressing it also should be reassuring. because what we destroy ourselves, we can recreate there's still oil in the ground. there's still natural gas in the ground. there is still a physical border. there's still a sense that this is the united states the us military for all of its problems is still is the most lethal competence. we're seeing in ukraine in comparison to the russians.
we still have good teachers in the schools. it just requires a resurgence of the citizen who says to the administrative state says to the evolutionaries. says to the institutional control whether it's google or the nfl or disney not this pig. we're not we're not going to do it anymore. you can call me any name you want in the book, but i am the citizen and you work for me. i don't work for you. thank you very much. stay up 15 questions. let me make a quick announcement. thank you, victor, and thanks again to henry and anne paellucci for endowing this
award and making tonight possible. we have time for a few questions. i'm echoing here. the first question is actually going to be taken from the isi app. so it the isi community app, which you can download and we will take the first question through that app. and then that question will be sent to me victor and then after that we have microphones one microphone right there and feel free to line up for questions. are you going to send me that question? okay. second question is from the app. first one is from the mic stand. so. someone who's brave step up here we go. judy yeager. it's not so much a question. it's a comment that i asked. thank you for the.
closing we needed some of us are. early des but in your book you made a comment i went to it earlier and i'm sorry conversation with you. some of our social norms and what's considered civil have really fallen apart at the highest levels of government and in your book you made reference to military leaders. um essentially saying things that one i think are referring to the uniform code of military justice. yes. yeah, so i got severely criticized by that and i a number of generals and admirals that i admire that i'm friends with but my point was simply this that the uniform code of military justice says and has
been interpreted as such as applying to officers both serving and in retirement subject to i guess recall or pension their pension and it says very clear they shall not disparage the commander in chief. so during this woke. summer of writing and on we had a number maybe 12 or 13 of some of our most distinguished. officers who did things like the following they compared the immigration policies to auschwitz with cages. it's outrageous. there's not six million people being gassed on the border. they called donald trump analogous to mussolini. they said that he was hitler like in his all of those were clear violations of the code of military justice. and there was no consequences at all. none whatsoever. and and so many of them had security clearances so we had
many retired generals. sum i shouldn't say many but you know five or six seven who would go on television. and draw wink and nod about certain controversial issues that i either steal dossier collusion impeachment with the clear impression that they were drawing on classified information due to their retired status and the information they were giving was totally misleading them false and there was no repercussions. and then i went a little further and i said and i think this was more comfortable. i didn't mean it in an ad home on them, but to myself. if you reach a four-star status can and when you retire can you not at least have an hiatus of three or four years before you go on a corporate contractor board? why do you revolve right back into a military contractor when they are paying you? not for your expertise and business, but your knowledge of
the labyrinth the pentagon acquisitions. and i said that's not a healthy thing to do. why don't we just take a hiatus and there was another element to that argument if you have that culture now and you're going through and you're doing all these years of really selfless service for the country. going all over the world. i understand that but when you get to two and three and four star and you start eyeing the modus operandi that you're going to retire a contractor is going to pay you a huge amount of money for your expertise, but the corporate world now is woke then maybe you're going to condition your views when you're called before congress to fit what you consider as the new ethos in other words you want to be more like a mark miller or lloyd austin? and i think that's deleterious to the military as well. so the final thing was i and this series of articles suggested that we know that
mao's army for all of the left-wing adulation was not a very good army when it went into korea the united states for all being surprised and choice in. matthew ridgeway almost demolished that army with very few resources. killed over a million chinese and korea. we know that when it went into cambodia, it was not very good. we know that the soviet army was almost destroyed by the nazis and the first three weeks until the comissariate system was modified. what i'm getting at is when you have a military and the basis for merocratic advancement promotion and adjudication of whether it's successful or not or political. diversity equity inclusion etc then by knee by historical standards it's going to start to erode. and we need to stop that. it has to be a professional meritocratic force. all performance is based on criteria across the board. but now it's remember how the left used to despise the military. i shouldn't say that they were
very ambiguous about the military suddenly, they saw it as a wonderful institution because unlike the sturman drying of congress. it could fast track social changes very quickly through the chain up command and it was considered a revolutionary army. or an evolutionary and i think it's very dangerous and i think it caused the greatest military humiliation defeat. in our history may be at least since vietnam in 1975, but if we had this conversation two years ago, and i had said to you or you had said to me. we're going to leave 70 billion dollars of equipment to a large terrace organization. we're going to hand over a billion dollar embassy in a 400 million dollar refitted biggest air force base, and we're going to flee the country without notifying our nato allies and we're going to call all of that a logistical success. no one would believe it.
dr. hansen, thank you for your marks tonight. my question is, you know, you've been involved for decades in the conservative movement advancing the status quo have thought on the right. what's the thing that you have most changed to our mind about in that time that you thought were? you know indelible principles or priorities for the right of center that you've realized may be weren't so i i think what learned. is that for all of our power? and confidence. we're actually a very fragile nation. and that came to me i didn't i supported the intervention in iraq. not because i thought there were wmd there because there were 23 wrists at the us congress passed 23 of only four had to do with wmd they were things like the architects of the world trade center first bombing were in iraq abu nadal was in iraq
suicide bombers that were getting bonuses on the west bank or on iraq the marsh arabs had been almost exterminated there had been use of poisonous gas. so he had violated all of the 91 accords. so there were 23 and that was bipartisan. in fact, i think a near majority of democratic senators voted for it, but the house and the senate clearly voted for that intervention. so then it happened and of course 75% supported the war when the statue of sadama sin fell but because we really didn't know what we were doing or we decided to change the mission statement or the strategy from opposing themselves. abdom hussein and sort of letting some provisional government takeover rather than one that we wanted, but we wanted to really do the right thing. we thought in nation bill. and i went over there twice as an embedded person and when i saw the amount of carnage.
and the investment and the dissension at home. i said to myself. whatever the cause whatever the efficacy this country at this time and place is not capable of that anymore. so the next time i heard something about going into syria or going into libya, i thought no and it was tragic because the people you talked to that were fighting the war would say to you. well, we're over here we're winning. why are everybody why is everybody against it then you kind of said to them. well, there's only one thing worse than a bad war and that's losing about war. and we were going to lose that well, i don't know if we did or not. we'll see what iraq is but that made a big change in so the idea of optional middle east engagements on the ground are optional military engagements abroad this country right now is not capable of it might be if we're attacked like 9/11 again, and that was a precursor to iraq, but right now at this point we've got so many
existential problems and we're so divided. that the idea that you're going to send an air force squadron over to the skies of ukraine as some people it's absolutely lunacy. so that's a big change for me. i'm still i'm not an isolationist, but i would call myself every reluctant and very cautious international at best. thank you. mr. hanson you talked about china as our most dangerous? adversary maybe in our history and it's occurred to me that if china we're looking for a strategy to destroy a great power. they might have observed how the soviet union was destroyed without fire and shot, which is that it imploded from within. and i wonder if you think that there are people in china.
who hope that the united states will become increasingly tribal and eventually disintegrate or split as the soviet union did. and do you see any evidence that chinese are trying to encourage that how do you assess our long-term ability to avoid that fate? and how do you assess our long-term prospects and the competition with china? well, i think china. i think i don't think it's controversial now to say that there's the preponderance of evidence not conclusive evidence, but the preponderance of evidence suggests that there was a gain of function. mistake acts it's something went wrong at that laban concocted this virus. i'm kind of prejudice come speaking of someone who just got over covid kind of angry at it. wuhan laboratory but i guess
what i'm saying is that they went right to work and they immediately through the who and their commercial ties with prominent americans. we had people like bill gates saying china's doing a great job. or the who say you know that there's no way in the world this came from again a function we had the emails from collins and fauci that were i think disingenuous that from what they later said what i'm getting at is they understood how this country worked immediately. they worked the media. they pled that they were victims of traditional american asian racism. we had people saying donald trump said the wuhan virus or the china virus and the way that i think the ebola virus or the spanish flu, but this time it's racist and they really knew that. they understand the role of fentanyl in you know. coming across the border. they want an open border. they understand that major
countries in europe like china and germany can have special trade relationships that sort of distance themself and they're really working on the german. so the germans are not on board with their apprehensions about china the way that we are countries like australia and japan are and so they because they have so many students here. and there's so many people. in china and because in our arrogance, we feel that anybody who comes over to america. and sees our music or popular culture or are natural beauty or diversity? they're going to love this country and we're going to convert them and then they're going to go back and undermine china. i don't think so. i think that more likely they look at this and say this is kind of fun and i like to indulge myself, but it's a decadence. i don't believe it is but they believe that and the funny thing is in this long 20 year relationship the symbiosis had with china.
i think we become more like china than they've become more. because i i think if i said to you 20 years ago, well, we have a new relationship with china. we also have a ministry of disinformation in the united states. you sad that that is so ludicrous. i'm not going to be that's preposterous. that's beyond caricature. and yet we do and we have council culture and we we we don't quite do what mao didn't put, you know appointed cone heads on hats on people, but we do ostracize and make fun of people cancel them deep platform them docs them. and we we have this chinese trade of shaming people. the way that they used to do during the culture revolution, so i think i think that the most formidable force that the united states ever has challenged and there are great. hope is that we have natural friends australians south korea and japanese taiwanese who know the chinese even better than us the philippines now and they say to us.
if you will help us we can contain china and maybe it will have the same internal contradictions as soviet union 20 years from now. but right now we should i think follow pattern of not of intervention or confrontation but containment. just like we did with the soviet union. so what we're gonna do we're gonna take stewart's question. i am going to read the question from the app and then you can answer whatever one you want to answer. mine will hopefully be brief though. maybe require a longer answer me in part of your remarks struck me as a sense of optimism and a sense that this feeling of a drive to reclaim. the idea of citizens is a bit irresistible for many people and i think we're seeing that today and i would ask. how does that pair with your
statement that true citizenship is a rare thing, right? this this feeling that today many people want to reclaim the notion of being a citizen. how does that square with truth citizenship being rare? and how do we forge a path for ordinary men and women to reclaim that sense of being a true citizen that doesn't look like sort of elite re-education, right? so something handed down on high pressure. i didn't quite just succinct and speak up a little i didn't hear succinctly. how do we forge a path to inculcate that sense of citizenship? is it something that's going to happen on its own naturally given the reaction to today's circumstances and if it isn't what do we do to actually instill it? that doesn't look like the elites who can recognize this as a good thing handing it down. how do we react to these
challenges? and i might just add this dovetails perfectly with the question from the app, which is what can young alums in this room help to do to restore the virtue of citizenship in this country. yeah. well civic education is the most important and we have to be from k through 12 divorce it from the school of education as i said to the earlier group let people who graduate with the ba say, you know, what if you want to go through the school of education, we're not going to fight it you'd be much better off getting a master's for one year in an academic discipline. and then i think the school of education would die on the vine and we'd have much better educated teachers, but we'd have to look at the university things like tenure the taxi think stamp status of the large endowments get getting the federal government out of the student loan business and getting you know, i think we're going to have to get rid of tenure or have to replace it by five-year performance contract. that's the only basically it's the only profession. and i say that with full
knowledge that i probably would have been fired on two or three occasions. but i think those are structural we forms that would help for educational once they was a larger question. of course. what can we do politically? and jack fowler and i have talked about in a podcast a lot. there's two schools of thought i would call them old and new testament republicans. devil on one shoulder angel on the other the devil people not saying the old testament is devilish, but they're saying victor. they're never going to learn unless they receive it in kind. so we don't want to do this, but when we take the house and senate, maybe kevin mccarthy should lose this temper and tear up that state of the union address on national tv, see how joe biden likes that the way that nancy clothes he did or maybe we should have 10 to 12 investigative committees a special select committee to invade to investigate the biden family and its financial deal,
especially investigation. to look at who concocted russian collusion and who spread that lie and who who in the fbi or the cia the doj was complicit in that and we could go on and on and on and doing that and maybe we would have structural reforms to maybe some wild-eyed if they got control. listen. maybe we should have a national voting law that says you have to have a voting idea in every state something like that and then the other side the new testament say no no, no. we don't descend about level. we are sermon on the mount turn the other cheeks so we will go with an agenda. we will have an energy agenda deregulation agenda balance the budget agenda. we're just too busy to do the right thing and will be so successful that all of these old. tired acrimonies and continual fade away and then the other devilish people say i don't think so. you don't have any deterrency.
the world is run by deterrent. so that's the dilemma that we're having right now. and nobody knows what will be that white course, i just would say that when they take power i sure hope to god they have an agenda so they hit the ground running if they were to take the senate in the house and maybe even a large. i don't think note they'll get 60 seats. i doubt it, but i would like them to do that. so they have to have an agenda but at some point they have to they have to communicate to the progressive hard left that hijack the democratic party that there are consequences to what you did maybe just to finish speaker mccarthy could say to the democratic. minority leader. you know what? i hate to say this, but you guys established this principle that we you. we couldn't pick our own people to serve on committees. it's never happened. you kicked everybody off the january 6th committee. so for four or five years we're going to say that there's not going to be anybody in the squad
on any committee in congress. we don't want to do it. but they're so out of the mainstream and radical. i don't know if that would be wise or not. i don't but i do know it would get somebody's attention not to do that. and i don't know once you do it you can ever step back or just disinerates and we're gaining people on the floors of congress. so it's very tricky what to note how to do that, but there has to be some civilized message to the hard left. that what you are doing is destroying the institutions. and at some point these models and the that what you've done will be booming booming rang back on you. otherwise, i don't think they'll stop. i don't know if we have time. is that it? thank you. thank you very much, dr. hansen
welcome everybody. we're here for the j anthony lucas prize pride project ceremony will be honoring excellence in nonfiction book writing with four awards. i'm nick lemon. i'm x dean now faculty member here at columbia journalism school, and i'm especially happy to be here because i was back in 1997. i guess 25 years