Victor Davis Hanson

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Victor Davis Hanson (born 1953 in Fowler, California) is a military (nominally Democratic) conservative historian, columnist, political essayist and former classics professor, best known as a scholar of ancient warfare as well as a commentator on modern warfare. He is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism.


Early life, education and today

Hanson grew up on a family farm at Selma, in the San Joaquin Valley of California. His mother was a lawyer and judge, his father an educator and college administrator. Along with his older brother and fraternal twin, he attended public schools and graduated from Selma High School. Hanson received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1975) and his Ph.D. from Stanford University (1980).

Hanson is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Fellow in California Studies at the Claremont Institute. Until recently, he was professor at California State University, Fresno, where he began teaching in 1984, having started the classics program there.

In 1991 Hanson was awarded an American Philological Association's Excellence in Teaching Award, which is awarded to undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin. He has been a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991–92), National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992–93), as well as holding the visiting Shifrin Chair of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002–03). He was a visiting professor at Hillsdale College in 2004 and 2006[1].

Hanson writes weekly columns for National Review and Tribune Media Services, and has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Heritage, City Journal, The American Spectator, Policy Review, The New Criterion, and The Weekly Standard, among others. In 2006, he started blogging at Pajamas Media.

Carnage and Culture

Dr. Hanson is most famous for his 2001 book Carnage and Culture in which he argued that the military dominance of Western Civilization, beginning with the ancient Greeks, is the result of certain fundamental aspects of Western culture. Hanson rejects racial explanations for this military preeminence. He also disagrees with environmental explanations, as put forth by authors such as Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs and Steel.[2]

According to Hanson, Western values such as political freedom, capitalism, individualism, democracy, scientific inquiry, rationalism, and open debate form an especially lethal combination when applied to warfare. Non-Western societies can win the occasional victory when warring against a society with these Western values, writes Hanson, but the "Western way of war" will prevail in the long run. Hanson emphasizes that Western warfare is not necessarily more (or less) moral than war as practiced by other cultures; his argument is simply that the "Western way of war" is unequalled in its devastation and decisiveness. </