tv Victor Davis Hanson The Dying Citizen CSPAN November 10, 2021 9:01pm-9:54pm EST
and follow along on c-span now, our new video app. >> so, good evening. i'm roger kimball, the editor and publisher of the new criterion, and i think i know most people in the audience, so i'mg not going to do anything elaborative. i'm going to take a page from that priest wh alden talks about who instructed of those who came behim for confession to brief, be blunt and be gone. [laughter] just three things. first, welcomefi to you, our friends of thefr new criterion. we wouldn't be having events like this were it not for your support. so, thank you for coming. and welcome. welcome. the reason for this event of course is besides the new criterion's 40th anniversary,
and please feel free to take a magazine, is the launch of victor davis hanson's important new book, "the dying citizen." his publisher, which to my great sorrow is not encounter books but another lesser publisher. [laughter] they looked out with this one. this might be the most important book, and you know he's written a string of important books. it's about to -- everyone thinks of the citizen as being something around forever and it'sot not true. victor has written what i think it is going to be one of the books of the year if not one of the books of this new decade. so please feel free to take a copy. remember its title and the publishers so that you can stock up for real for your holiday shopping purchases. i also want to do some thank
youse. there are several people in the room who support without would not exist. i won't embarrass you by naming you, but i want to single out the hoover institution and the robert family foundation who made of the evening itself help make the evening possible. we will be joined at any moment by megyn kelly who will do the interview. i'm delighted she can join us. she will introduce an element of candor and glamour that is foreign to the halls of any institution. the two logistical things. i mentioned the book, so feel free to go out and grab a copy ofo the book. if you have a copy that is not
assigned, you can hold on. second, i expect this interview to be entirely illuminating but it's conceivable that it will be so illuminating that there will be one or two questions that form in the mind as you are listening to things. but please don't jump up and ask the question. but i want you to snag my colleague who is here someplace or megan kelly's assistant who is also here someplace. they will make themselves known. there is isaac. they will greet you with a card and you can inscribe your question and megan will scrutinize them for pertinence and profundity. [laughter] and do the appropriate triage.
she is here someplace. [applause] thank you very much. of course i have my own but i condensed it into this new form. this is as close as i'm ever going to get into harvard. i went to the harvard of syracuse university.e. we had good times there. i read the whole book and i adore victory as i'm sure you all do and the sad thing i realized about the dying citizen is that these two, the dying country. it's one of the reasons you are soundingng the alarm i think. let's start with of the title and why you called it what you did. a. >> as i said to my friend when he asked that question, it is still dying so it is
frustrating. >> so you are saying there is a chance. >> if we had this conversation two years ago or whatever your political persuasion would be i think we could say that the border was improving and secure and you would say the middle east was much better than it is now and there was a new policy towards china and maybe youha could argue that the economy where we were spending too much money we were not grappling with deflationary future. so in the middle class there were wages in 12 years and critical race theory wasn't so and bold and as itne was in 2020 or that sort of jacobin identity politics. whatever was going on isn't as bad as it is now. the republican party was so susceptible to the character of the left. i like mitt romney.
he was decent but was caricatured as the golf course grandee. how ironic a guy that was a cross billionaire saul that this nationalist worker a populist party could be emphasizing class rather than race and we would end up with communities on the border electing republican leaders in fear of open borders into this happened in my hometown as well. i think there is a chance that there's going to be a calibration where the democratic left is going to be the party of the silicon valley elite, the very wealthy and subsidized poor and then you will have the upper middle and lower middle classes. that will be conceivable and they will be the majority of the country. i am cautiously optimistic. >> that's good. i'm feeling that already. let's start with peasantry because you talk about in the
book the subservient rural residents, the labor of inferior rank and then we sort of got the middle class and millions of americans are becoming a new version thanks to the declining wages so the new version. >> it doesn't exist in the classical latin vocabulary. the same thing is true in greek there is no word for peasant. there is agrarian, small farmers so that is a foreign experience is these classical antecedents.
then if we are going to plant a these trees and vines we want to pass on to our children. they always said at the same thing that this country was different. maybe we didn't earn it about we had all of this land and homestead acts and the idea that people could come and be autonomousnt and independent ons classical in the idea that they were going to lack the envy of the rich and the poor and maybe the dependency of the poor and they were going to be a bulwark of the left that would try to find influence and work the
government, so i'm almost quoting directly aristotle and why he says you need a middle-class that is essential to citizenship. he said one other thing that is borne out by history that unfortunately, when you have a radical democracy of landless people, it may feel that they are equal politically then they want to be equal in every other aspect of their life regardless. the independent mess they don't need to do that because they have one under their own. we've been very successful in this country of having the va bill of rights and the veterans bill and home owner fha independent truckers and small business. that is the logical, you know, the logical urban, suburban evolution of a small performing
society. 90% were agrarian when we had the constitution. now, 1.5% farm, but we still have a middle-class because that evolvedd into all of these small entrepreneurial people and they are very essential. so when you start to lose them, i talk about the way we are losing them, and one final thought, when you can see when you lose that viability, people don't have confidence to get married or have children and they don't have the confidence because they look at the statistics i was struck by the
numbers included one you just mentioned fewer and fewer people are owning their homes. three out of eight are rentals. they have a net worth of under 6,000. just over half have a net worth of less than 7,000 and half of all female have less than $2,000 net worth. so people are struggling. they don't have the property and of the land. >> i don't want to sound like a marxist, but i work on the stanford campus into schizophrenic relationship. i don't like palo alto but i don't want to pick on it and we have a hispanic middle-class in fresno county but what is so strange is i will hear stanford professors and people say it's
good that we have gas going up to five dollars because of carbon emissions. but ten cents on the gallon, my wife and i call this gas station near us the arena because when it can undercut ten cents or 20 cents, there are 50 cars outside or when it gets up to 105 which is almost every day in the summer, droves of people go into walmart, not to buy things, take apart the toyse for their kids may be and destroy but they want the free air conditioning and yet people on the coast will say why do we want this air-conditioned economy? i don't think we are aware of how thin the margin is in the middle class and how precarious people are and they fall out of it very quickly to the point they a can't afford the stuff od life. food, fuel and air conditioning.
this is the wealthiest country in the world. we have to have a middle-class. i don't think we want a an asymmetrical -- >> california takes a beating. unlike the great state of new york. [laughter] youan call it residence you talk siabout the citizens and write about how the founders envisioned unity and homogeneity and that it used to be people would emigrate to the country and within a couple of generations they were all but forgotten. we've been a melting pot and we didn't feel in any way threateneded by immigration, the fabric of the country, the patriotism that was all built
in. you capture how that's started to change and what we call boca some is ripping that apart. >> i think what happened is two things. the parties for different reasons, whatever the two parties agree, they agreed on open borders. at the right one of cheap labor was agricultural and 20% of illegal aliens if i dare to use the term work in agriculture now. a. >> in new york city there is an ordinance that is unlawful to use the term illegal immigrant done with malice. i'm pretty sure -- >> i had a war with my syndicator because i used the illegal alien and then it had to be illegal immigrant and undocumented immigrant they
didn't want to prejudice which direction a person was going when they migrated. they wanted cheap labor and the mexicanan government wanted the 30 billion and remittances. the mexican government didn't care about people and now it's 60 billion with central america included. you could argue that it was a reverse safety valve for people that march on mexico city and for the redress. let's march into the united states. so they liked it and then the left of course, the la raza, that was a funny word there was none in the chicano movement
until about 50 years ago and then people m dug up the novel n the movie and mussolini and if they found out that this blood and soil emulation that said you could be italian unless you looked an' certain way and you couldn't be spanish even if you were spaniard and even if youou were living in the peninsula. it was very anti-semitic so they cooked up these terms and then the hispanic militants took the term and reinvented for the race they's changed it now, but they wanted to change the demography. the democratic party looked at california and said we are never going to have a party of governor reagan, pete wilson, even arnold schwarzenegger again
and now there's the majority in both legislators, no statewide office held by the republican and the ninth circuit appointees is still very liberal despite the appointees and i think they felt that it could flip the electoral knowledge so they are flipped and feel the conflict florida and arizona. all these people wanted open borders into the people that didn't were the middle class that said they are lowering wages and flooding i'm not supposed to use the word they, but they are flooding to the emergency rooms. i talked too a fellow that i knw very well into selma and he said why do we want people to crowd in so my mother can get dialysis at the clinic or why would we want to go back to bilingual education given the placement, why all these people coming and
that we don't know and at c the fact that they are not vaccinated and get doctor fauci has not mentioned that even once. he will give a very eloquent diatribe abouten some poor persn in the middle west that doesn't get vaccinated but we are bringing in the anticipated to 2 million that will come across the border without a vaccination. it's almost as if the citizen is punished and the noncitizen is reworded and that transcends the travel. one of the experiences when you come in, you always see somebody that forgot their passport. they address them down and then they haven to call. they try to make a performance maof don't do that and yet when you see these people come across with no identification at all. >> so asked on cnn, what about
the illegal immigrants coming across the border that don't get the vaccine and are just lit into the country on the honor system to come back to asylum here and what have you and his response was essentially the illegal immigrants are not the cause of the pandemic. my 8-year-old is not the cause of the pandemic but he has to have a mask on his face and all three of my kids i assume we'll have to get the vaccine whether i want them to have it or not. >> and so i think when you confuse the citizens that have responsibilities he or she takes on an account then you are back to the fourth or fifth century where you have these migratory groups coming across the west 5 part of the roman empire. i'm trying to think of all the things we used to say is citizens. it was unique to the citizen. the citizen alone could goit around the country.
i think that's gone now. if you are not a citizen you go eback to mexico or central america and back without a passport. a citizen was eligible for entitlements. that's been thrown out by the courts. i know in california illegals are voting. the only thing i can think of that is citizen has the right over a resident is holding office but i think that is under question now. so, if you have just a group of people that are residents and we don't know much about them and we don'tdi know what the customs or traditions are and we are not able to assimilate or integrate them because they are so large in number, 2 million of them and they are going to go, we've done this at periods where we the host never gave up on the
melting pot. we've given a the message that your own particular culture will no longer necessarily be incidental to who you are. it will be essential. it raises the question of why are they doing this? do they want chaos, anarchy, they don't want to be around these people, so they kind of project that if someone from bakersfield but i have a nice nanny on a landscape but i don't want my kids to go to school with their kids, i don't know what it is butsc it's almost medieval. you write in the book what currently threatened to change the pattern t of mexico, latin assimilation and it isn't a sudden white racism, but the huge number of impoverished without high school diplomas that are recently crossing the border illegally and upon arrival are encouraged to emphasize there others by mostly white progressive elite.
that's the thing there's no more pressure at all in fact tribalism is encouraged and it's one of the main things that is dividing us. >> i went to grammar school and i think there were nine of us that were not mexican-american. the way they taught us and missus evans was over speech therapist and would be put in jail now. she would say we are all going to be successful and to be successful, you must know thea, english language. i mean, master. so repeat after me. i have a stick shift chevy we would all say. you have a stick shift chevy. i think i have once or twice repeated and people get appalled but that group that came out of that experience are very successful now. the city council and the principal. there was this lady and i told
20 years mostly mexican-american and southeast asian kids and the children of the diaspora. the idea was we were going to teach latin and greek because of the national aptitude of somebody in prep school then we would say you're going to go to graduate school, learn italian, french and german. i think we sent 55 to the ivy league in 21 years in classics and history and language but the biggest problem was either the liberals on campus or the la raza people and they said you are appropriate in your culture. meanwhile, the kids were in private school. i think the conservative movement can point that out. everybody says what can we do. you can tell them they are hypocritical and elite and i think a lot of it is they are not comfortable with people that don't lookom like them changingn
academia. >> beyond tribalism and the destruction of patriotism go handal in hand we talk about sot of the deep state and how administratively, the left more and more is seizing control of regulations and never mind the walls. they have far more regulations as you point out in the book 10-1. that has a way of changing the way we live and our kids live. the regulations on college campuses and the obama letter where we got rid of due process being brought back, the elimination of the process being enbrought back about administrative rules can r chane our lives and it's one of the
many areas in which the left has seized control and seeks to avoid the constitution and the laws on the book. a. >> i tried as you pointed out peasants, residents and tribes are sort of pre- civilizational forces that diminish, but more deliberate top-downhi not bottom-up, and i had the chapter on the evolutionary's into globalization but the one you're talking about, the first of the section was this administrative state and i was thinking of the other day think of some people that have been in the news lately. anthony fauci. i have no problem, he is the highest paid federal employee but the cdc in that institute of infectious diseases have even expanded the control duet adjudicate whether you can collect rent or not in other words rent agreements contractually are predicated on
whether there is a national health disaster or not and then when we look to these grandees and we are worried about whether, what the origins are, we find out that it was the lab and researchers with a military component involved in that research and it appears at least it's likely they've never found in animal that was infected. a. >> andd they tested 80,000. a. >> so it looks like it is a gain of function. then we hear that he's been adamant that this wasn't the gain of function.
usain maybe he's an exception. i was looking at the general. utmost regard for the military but suddenly we have a present it's the chairman of the joint chiefs. the chairman of the joint chiefs to the 2006 statute said it's an advisory role. he is not in the chain of command. he openlyer brags that he interrupted the chain of command andom altered the chain of commd as it applies to nuclear code and said he has to go through me. he did this because of the opposition in the house. nancy pelosi told him or said to him donald trump was crazy but then he said under oath i don't believe he was crazy. to add insult to injury he called up the counterpart to warn and it would be august of 1940 that the chief of the naval
operations at fdr are hiding his health, which they were and we've been very preemptive. think this government might want to be preemptive but i can assure you i willto warn you we are going to attack you. that would be absurd. this is something i don't understand. we the citizen make these walls to control people that are not elected. each service wouldn't be idiosyncratic. they would be on the same amanda says inar article 881, two, thre and four shall not disparage the commander-in-chief and we've heard donald trump, the commander-in-chief was hitler, mussolini, that he should be gone sooner or later and general millie calls up and tells him he believes the commander-in-chief
is a hitler figure as a violation and there is no consequence. so he's almost in emblem of all the peoplee when you combine the judicial executive and legislative branches into one bureaucratic octopus, the citizen we saw it was very chilling for me when james klapper said under oath we don't spy on anybody and then he was called ande said i gave the leat untruthful answer. none of us could do that with the irs if you said i had a call that said you didn't report it and i did i that. i t could have given the least untruthful answer. there were no consequences when john brennan said that we never have spied on the cia and the senate staff or computers. he admitted it was a lie.
we would never have collateral damage and drone operations. james comey 245 times. what were the two central, i don't know, the foundation of the whole collusion, the steele dossier. robert mueller was asked directly under oath what is your opinion and he said i don't know. a gps, steel. i thought why did you spend $40,000,000.22 months, so it's almost an insult they are saying to the citizen and we the citizens say how do we address that? who gave them so much power? we are talking about the people the conservatives support, the natural base of support of the military, the fbi, the cia. it's not the hhs that we could
go on and on. i'm kind of getting animated because the price of -- i didn't know the committee owns them whether you grew them or not to so the price of raisins was below the cost of production. so at about ten of us that were flat broke said we are not going to send themro to be sold by son maida. and we get s this letter that ss you don't own your raisins. the committee has owned them since 1937. and i said are you serious and he said yes. if you hold them back we will come and confiscate them. we are going to give them as cattle feed to keep the domestic price or we will export them overseas.
so that law is still in existence. we've created all these people who as i've said there is no citizenry dress and they get bigger and bigger. the irony is donald trump, he seemed to hate the high interest and regulators. he passed more deregulation than almost anybody and it was a band but at least it was something in the right direction. a a. >> we know that it's captured the institutions from news to sports media. but it puts meet in the bones of why do you feel this with the water rising all around us right now? you can choose not to watch the
oscars and what news you take in but there is the feeling of the water rising so for some of the reasons you are talking about, losing control of the administrative state. it isn't a deep state conspiracy or what you were just talking about. there's a great chapter on globalism. decreased wages with little money in the bank's. becoming sort of dependent even if you've tried hard. did your kid goes to college in a segregated dorm and has no rights but gets accused by somebody. all of this in a way that you start to feel a little powerless. it's more widespread than that. >> if you took -- do you
remember that life of julia commercial to pass obamacare where julia was a mythical american and from cradle to lay grave we went through her lifecycle and she was given free prenatal as a young toddler then she got into the programs into preschool and she was a single mom yet the commercial was basically saying you don't have to be independent. the state will take care of you then there was the other part he said the drink hot chocolate and vote for obamacare. there is a pathogen democracy where de tocqueville just talks about the tendency of democracies to create a prolonged adolescence. he saidd you better be careful because the state will step in and offer its services to you and it will be your own freedom and latitude and that's like the
classical siren. it's not something we fight all the time. it's more you whisper in your ear you don't need to work right now. covid has been really bad. we are going to pay you $600 each week. don't go to the port of la and left those onto the forklift. they will be fine. we are worried about you and that is how we get to where we are. >> the other day i asked about trump and he said trump was like chemotherapy. there may be an element of toxicity to it, but that's what you needed to fight and you dont turn it down. it is a bigger problem at hand that feeds and that leads me to my next audience question. >> round of applause. [applause]
should trump be active in the midterms and run for president? >> the lose lose question. i don't know how many people have asked me and you this question how many in your dark mind as you followed yourself, something like this. the agenda was very good. we can see it by the negative examples of the first. but couldn't we have somebody there would be an emissary of the agenda that would avoid the tweeting and saying that if algae throws like a girl and all that stuff? then the next thing because he's the ideal candidate might answer to them is i don't know because i thought that about scott walker, an ideal governor and yet he was a wonderful
politician but when he got up on the stage, he didn't do very well and i don't know, there's so many known, unknowns to use the rumsfeld term. has donald trump learned from his experience? what he hit the ground running with a team he wasn't able to do that before, no one could blame him. how big would the margin in the house and senate accompany him and so i don't know the answer but i don't think there's anybody on the republican side thatat can go to michigan or wisconsin and get 40,000 people out and appeal to the constituency,tu and yet i think they have to do that if they are going to win. i am neutral. if i were to criticize him very quickly, we have admitted there were mediocre candidates in georgia and there were charismatic socialists.
everybody knew that they mightn win in georgia. either trump didn't believe it or the party didn't believe it but had he gone down there and not talked about the prior election but said whatever happened to me, forget about it. go out to vote, trust and vote. we wouldn't be in this situation now where connolly harris decides we will have an electoral college or filibuster. and then had he said i am going to campaign like i never have ir the midterms. i think i've ever used that term so much. he said i might not be the person to perpetuate i created that helped everybody but i can do more for everybody.no then i think i've used that on these articles. i can be the high noon gary
cooper andic do a great service but i'm not sure that i'm going to run. it would benefit him enormously and give him more choices. d a. >> the book does a nice job concluding, about how after trup lost and everything that happened fromfo that point forwd emboldened the left. and what happened in georgia and all of it and rolled into the left and reminded me sort of of trump and now the famous or infamous question about the women of the debate. but trump was the only person to go on to pass the law. i had more than one sex trafficking victim come to me on to say he saved my life. you look at trump and say this
is the package that came and you look at the georgia situation like same package. i don't know if he is controllable. a. >> a collective amnesia if we were to say fdr, my parents and grandparents were fdr democrats but i don't think the new deal was the solution to the depression. but if we were to say why is fdr having an affair with lucy mercer, with his daughter being theng go-between, donald trump never did that with his daughter.. imagine. the special treatment he got his death we have an interconnected different culture and technology
and very empowered left and attitude about the media. i can say that about presidents whether it's jfk bedding a staffer or lbj exposing himself. i didn't quite get the idea that we focus on these negative attributes of him then we throw out this agenda that helped trafficking into the middle class so this gets back to the fundamental. he was so toxic we've never seen anybody like him so therefore we can mollify this and i don't think that was a persuasive argument. >> he said privately trump's problem is and that he lies, his problem is that he tells the truth. i didn't hear you use the word evil and referring to the deep state. or they're not instances of evil in their activities, for
example, directed by the attorney general to investigate parents that criticize criticalr race theory. a. >> that is at the heart. it's a feeling that they have such. i was a student i got so sick at uc santa cruz and all i heard is any means necessary. one day they would say malcolm x said that and they would come into a class and the distinguished art historian because they were trying to show you that his art was colonialist. across time and space that is deeply embedded with the left wing mindset so they don't feel
they have to be. when marit garlin can't tell us that he has evidence of a or racketeering ray plot to commit violence against a school board members rather than making them feel uncomfortable he is going to use the fbi because equity or antiracism is a noble goal that will justify. what he will not do is be empirical and say to intimidate as senator is a state felony in arizona to take a picture of somebody going to the stalling and putting it on the internet or it's a violation of a federal aviation code to get on and try to create a confrontation. those are federal crimes. just like he won't say they shouldn't be surroundedll and bullied after the state of the
uniont address. just like he can't be in an elevator or just as he might say senator schumer, you had a mob outside of the supreme court. you're going to pay for this, and that was and intimidation. they don't believe they have to be symmetrical because they feel they are superior. howw revealing is this long-suffering figure what he is now. a. >> he can string it together like nobody. what gives you the most hope for
the future? >> new criteria young gives me a lot of hope, but i'm prejudice. that old saying what can't go on won't go on and that is when you look at the situation we are having right now we cannot have anon asian without open borders- nation without open orders. when barack obama says this is not sustainable, that is pretty indicative. he feels they will get martha's vineyard. [laughter] [applause] when you look at the homeless situation, when my daughter that wasn't a trump supporter calls me and says i can't take my three children to this park or that park or when i go into the
doorman says did you look at the bottom of your feet when you came in? we are getting to the point when we look at the port of los ports angeles and we see the tankers the containers are not moving into this people home not working so that isn't is unsustainable. if something is going to happen. and a second, we do have a constitutional system that is durable and i feel that in this midterm if everybody gets out to vote and the republican party, if the republican party can be somewhat sensible, they can have a 1938 or 1994, 2010 correction and stop it very quickly. what makes me excited, for the first time in my life i'm excited about the party.
i look at it and i think why is my friend that is a mexican-american patrolman so eager to be a republican and why are these communities along the southern border so eager to be in for the first time in my life people of different races and ethnic backgrounds and i think they see themselves as an agreed middle class and they feel they have more in common with a child of the diaspora in bakersfield van with the elite representative studies at stanford. we are building very slowly in nationalist class that has a lot in common and it doesn't trust the open borders mentality.
it doesn't trust identity politics. it once things for the middle class and it doesn't trust the bureaucrats to be talked about and it doesn't like these academic revolutionaries that want to change the filibuster and they are not globalist. they want a place here. a people that i grew up with. they don't know anything about us. they can tell you every restaurant in london or paris but they've never been to bakersfield and they never well and don't want to. about these new middle class people want to go to palo altoo and see that world. they are much more open minded. i'm optimistic about that. how ironic that history is kind
of tragic. it's not melodramatic about we get this billionaire that has written off the most selfish person and he sees something the 16 brilliant candidates in the states didn't that you could remake the republican party and address the concerns of people in the middle east and i don't know if he knew that deliberately but that is the way that it works sometimes. that is a long-winded answer. >> let's leave it at that. [applause] please help yourself to another drink and thank you to victor and megan kelly. [applause]
on this episode of booknotes plus. everett is a historian, tour guide and author. his latest book is called the lost history of the capital. an account of many tragic and violent episodes around at the thecapital building from the founding in the city of two contemporary times. among many accomplishments, he's been a speechwriter for george herbert walker bush and a writer for the tonight show with jay