February 25, 2004

LA Times profiles Victor Davis Hanson

Charles at L.G.F. points to a great writeup on a favorite author of mine -- Victor Davis Hanson. From the LA Times: bq. For Hanson, ancient reports on the Peloponnesian War are just as relevant today as recent Fox network newscasts on a suicide bombing of a Baghdad hotel. Both, Hanson believes, portray a do-or-die "referendum" on clashing cultures: the democratic republicanism of Athens versus the martial oligarchy of Sparta; the secular, "consensual" democracy of the West versus the theocratic dictatorship of militant Islam. And more: bq. "We haven't had enemies this antithetical to the United States in a long, long time," Hanson said several days later over coffee in San Francisco, where he was a guest speaker at the Commonwealth Club. "Take your pick of the Western agenda. Women's rights? They want to go back to the Dark Ages. Homosexual rights? They want to kill them. Democracy? They don't believe in it. Religious tolerance? You're dead if you're not a Muslim. Technology? They don't like it." And more: bq. For a while, Hanson, his wife, Cara, and their three children, now ages 22, 21 and 17, supplemented the family's meager income by selling fruit from a van at street markets in Monterey and Carmel. "One time, the van broke down and we had to drive for six hours in first gear," Hanson said. The couple made all their own preserves and ate only the food they grew or traded for with other farmers. bq. Nearly broke, and deaf in one ear from operating heavy farm equipment, Hanson took jobs tutoring Latin and finally, in 1985, convinced the Cal State Fresno administration to create a classics department. After making less than $6,000 a year as a raisin farmer, Hanson saw his fortunes, supplemented by revenue from his books and frequent paid speaking dates, slowly grow while the family farmers' did not. bq. "I was in the richest agricultural area in the world, and I was going broke farming," Hanson recalled. "And I was in the most intellectually arid place and made money from classicism. So weird." Great profile of a great author. An archive of his Friday National Review articles can be found here. It's worth checking out. Posted by DaveH at February 25, 2004 12:48 PM