A “Witch Hunt Trial” Is Underway in the U.S.

How does a historian, renowned for his keen eye, view the internal politics of President Biden?



Victor Davis Hanson

A senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Professor Emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of more than two dozen books, ranging in topics from ancient Greece to modern America, recently “The Case for Trump”. He lives on a farm in Selma, California.

It has been more than three months since the Biden administration took office. What are your impressions of President Biden and his administration, and what kind of change do you see in the U.S. in the future? (You pointed out that Biden is proving to be the Biden he always was—as incompetent as Jimmy Carter, without the latter’s probity. He may prove as corrupt as Bill Clinton yet without his animal energy.)

Obviously, his 2020 virtual candidacy that promised “unity” and “moderation” was, to be honest, a ruse to capture the votes of the centrist of the Democratic Party. Biden sees his last hurrah as a chance to become the most leftwing president in history, and no longer the mere understudy of Barack Obama—especially given the hard left absorption of the old Democratic Party that praises him to the skies and warns him of any apostasy from its redistributive socialism. No president in memory has been more secluded and protected. Favored media and a legion of woke activists have created a cordon sanitaire around Biden, albeit with ample input from Jill Biden and the Obamas. He simply is not physically up to meeting with real media and legislators without scripted prompts and rules of engagement, and he is not up enough on his newfound wokeist doctrine to defend things like court packing, reparations, or the Green New Deal.


Irony That Immigration Policy Becomes Discrimination

President Biden has called for “unity,” but you wrote in your April 18 article “The Joe Biden Who Never Was” in AMERICAN GREATNESS, “If unity is defined as achieving record-low minority unemployment, or enhancing the entry-level wages of working Americans by curtailing massive illegal immigration or raising middle-class incomes after years of stagnation, then Biden will not be a uniter.” What do you think about the Biden administration’s economic and immigration policies that could well divide the country?

Last month prices soared .6 percent, at annual rate of over 7 percent—and higher, given the rate of steady monthly increases in inflation so far in 2021 are themselves increasing. Gas, housing, autos, etc are climbing in the face of huge pent-up demand, and $6 trillion in printed money between 2020-1. But the talk of higher income-, capital-gains-, and estate-taxes, coupled with new regulations and energy curtailment (gas has gone up over $1 since the election) will discourage meeting the demand with enough supply. The result then of lots of easy money, of a collective desire to buy, but of shortages in meeting that demand, are creating inflation. And then either stagflation or recession over the next 18 months will follow, depending on the federal reserve. With a national debt nearing $30 trillion, huge budget deficits, and de facto zero real interest, it is hard to see how much resiliency the economy will have when it hits some rough spots.

If Biden only allowed the Trump tax and regulatory policies to remain, and did not stimulate the economy further, then we could handle the ensuing boom without inflation or insufficient production. But he’s combining the worst of all worlds. Ditto immigration: after four acrimonious years, Trump had finally closed the border, built 450 miles of a border wall ended catch and release, worked with Latin American countries to curb the influxes and left a stable system. Biden, hostage of the identity-politics Left that wants to create more future constituents, simply destroyed those protocols and the result is his self-created disaster that even the media cannot successfully hide. How ironic that those who daily damn the US as racist, nativist, and xenophobic are doing their best to empower millions of the poor and nonwhite to enter such a supposedly dreadful place.

You have bitterly criticized Wokeness as “a cult of hypocrites to reinforce their own privilege and power”. Especially under the Biden administration, anything that is labeled as “racism” is no longer allowed to be discussed in a sensible manner, and there seems to be a growing trend toward information control and suppression of speech. What are your thoughts on this point?

Anytime anywhere anyone claims their race per se deserves special exemption, then he is a threat to an always fragile multiracial democracy.

The US is the world first successful multiracial democracy; most other countries either are mostly mono-racial or mono-ethnic or have tremendous problems of tribalism.

But this current deliberate accentuation of race, following the tragic death of George Floyd, will end badly for my country. According to my observations, the BLM and Antifa movements (spearheaded by race and hostile to perceived white people) are based on 1) untruth: fundamental untruths abound about the founding and history of the US, whose entire story is one of self-critique and self-reflection and reform and debate to meet the utopian visions of our 1776 founding; 2) hypocrisy: mostly elites, both minorities and whites, are the most likely to level charges against the country and its middle classes either for careerist purposes, or out of guilt to virtue signal to square the circle of their own spectacular privilege and wealth (cf. from LeBron James to the Biden clan to the CEOs of Delta, Coke, etc.), and 3) racism: racial bias now in some government programs and universities determines everything from choosing dorm roommates and graduation ceremonies to queuing up for vaccinations and determining farm aid.


A Modern Version of the Witch Trials

The Left oddly destroyed the idea of class and instead created an artificially aggrieved new constituency in “diversity”: anyone who could claim he was not white, suddenly supposedly had common reparatory grievances, whether the multimillionaire Oprah Winfrey and Megan Markle, or wealthy Latino lawyers, or Asian-American surgeons.

None of these various ethnic and racial groups had any especially strong affinities with one another but were reclassified as nonwhite and thus supposedly kindred victims of long dead generations.

The absurdity would be as if I woke up tomorrow and announced that 75 years after World War II, my family had never recovered from the death of my namesake Cpl. Victor Hanson on Okinawa, killed by a Japanese sniper at Sugar Loaf Hill on May 19, 1945, and thus I, who never met my uncle, and had had a happy and blessed life, still was traumatized by the family loss and therefore held all present-day Japanese culpable for Pearl Harbor and what followed.

That would be absurd and of course lead to chaos. But we live now in such absurd binary and reductionist times of victims and victimizers. Our version of the Salem Witch trial madness is raging, where one group whose grandparents never experienced slavery now hold an entire other group—rich, poor, immigrants, descendants of abolitionists, etc.–as collectively guilty for the supposed sins of ancestors they never knew.

This madness, like the McCarthy period, will die out, but it will do a lot of damage before it does.

In the U.S., leftist legislators are trying to increase the number of states they control, give immigrants the right to vote, and change the number of Supreme Court justices. What do you think of these developments?

These extreme measures represent desperation, given leftists’ issues do not poll 50 percent support. They only have tenuous power (e.g., a 50/50 Senate, a thin margin in the House, an unsympathetic supreme court, and a fragile president) and are afraid that they will lose control, without structural changes in voting laws, the Electoral College, Supreme Court, filibuster, new states, etc. It is a way of changing the process rather than the policies that have no real support.

A “Witch Hunt Trial” Is Underway in the U.S.
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