Sadly, it appears that Harry Truman's famous aphorism has to be applied to Victor Davis Hanson, the classicist and Iraq war cheerleader. Hanson has just realized that not all the attention he has been getting is the credulously sycophantic fawning he appears to expect. He has responded with a bad-tempered omnibus tirade which reveals with depressing clarity the type of intellect with which we are expected to be dazzled.
The Paranoid Style | Iraq:Where socialists and anarchists join in with racialists and paleocons [NRO, August 26 2005] begins with a denunciation of Cindy Sheehan for asking the crucial question about the US Middle East venture: in whose national interest is this policy being prosecuted? (Her answer was of course widely reported around the part of the world not under the sway of the U.S .MSM; within that domain it was systematically censored: try a Google News Search.)
Hanson's powerfully reasoned refutation:
Her antiwar venom could easily come right out of the mouth of a more calculating David Duke. Perhaps that's why he lauded her anti-Semitism.
The technically rigorous military analyses of The Exile's Gary Brecher (whose affiliation is incorrectly named by Hanson) are sidestepped by wrenching out of context Brecher's evaluation of the WTC bombers' achievement.
one F. Roger Devlin writes in something called The Occidental Quarterly
is dealt with simply by stating a version of his thesis:
Only those who don't understand racial superiority would attempt such a fool's errand at [sic] promoting democracy abroad
In an online magazine called LewRockwell.com ...one Gene Callahan
is given more extended attention - but only to assert repeatedly that the unconditional surrender of an opponent is preferable to a more limited victory. This of course is obvious but evades the issue Callahan raises: what is the cost associated with this objective?
("an online magazine called LewRockwell.com" actually generates much the same traffic, according to the Alexa traffic ranking website, as the entire National Review website, despite posting far fewer articles.)
So here we have the ammunition of choice used by National Review's house scholar. Smear. Sneer. Denounce as taboo. Indulge in displays of pomposity and emotion. Forget about the virtues for which political discourse in Ancient Greece is revered: fortitude - stoicism - the priority given to reasoned argument.
Behavior like this would have gotten Hanson laughed out of the Agora.
Too bad. Victor Davis Hanson is sometimes capable of better things, as both F. Roger Devlin and Peter Brimelow have acknowledged.