Yesterday, Today and ?

, Ethan Gaitz, 1 Comment

Finding academics and intellectuals who are critical of the current White House has almost amounted to trying to find a needle in a haystack. Yet, for those who have been looking for such a mythical figure, the search can stop (or at least come to a temporary break).

Victor Davis Hanson, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, despite receiving his graduate training in classics, has become an unparalleled authority on a number of topics ranging from “ancient Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture.”

In a recent discussion with Ginni Thomas of the Daily Caller, Hanson was asked a series of questions all relating to what he thinks are some of the greatest challenges that America faces today, both within a domestic and foreign context. Hanson brilliantly managed to link America’s current domestic ailments with a more conceptualized perception of how policy at home has affected American stature in the world.

And while this short article won’t go into every detail of the chat between Thomas and Hanson, it is strongly encouraged that all who are interested in hearing Hanson’s comments for themselves, view the talk in its entirety.

In it, Hanson remarks on the current state of American youth, which he interestingly points out is becoming more “Europeanized.” Rather than engage in dynamic, innovative enterprise that would enhance wealth and economic growth, Hanson spoke of a dejected millennial generation, caught in a psychological malaise. With such an incredible amount of outstanding student debt ($1.11 trillion) and with little hope of an improving economy, some kids have simply given up.

Hanson alsocommented how liberal academics are perpetuating the continual failure of American students. Those select few who have lived and worked within the cozy confines of a university lounge, often fail to recognize that students who are the supposed beneficiaries of such “sage” advice are in fact worse off because of it. It is the university officials that“don’t suffer the ramifications of their own ideology,” who have the luxury of encouraging people to pursue areas of study that neither prepare students for the competitive marketplace nor ensure that students begin a path after college that will fulfill their debt obligations within a reasonable timeframe.

Historical inquiry led by figures such as Hanson is perhaps one of the most valuable tools American society (and those who espouse principles of liberty) have in combating a statist ideology that historically has evolved into socialism and communism. And all one need do to see how those experiments went is study the failed Soviet Union and communist China.

Keep in mind that history for all of its subtle nuances and small variations does not always provide a perfect roadmap of the path to success. And yet, when it is clear from the historical what not to do, (such as implement a centrally controlled economy) Europe and the U.S. seem intent on doing so anyway.

China, on the other hand, with the first-hand knowledge of just how destructive a Maoist style system can be, has renounced a command structure in favor of afree-market based economy.

There is a “history of America to study” Hanson notes, and it would be wise for all Americans but especially for policy makers to heed the following admonition: “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” And if Churchill were alive today, the current predicament in the western world would come as no surprise to him given that few today in positions of great power are willing to rigorously engage the past in a manner befitting their station.

How about something like this? Few today in positions of great power are willing to learn from past mistakes in order not to repeat them in the future.