Why Study War?

War on Campus?
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson

John Leo, Editor of MindingTheCampus.com, hosts Victor Davis Hanson to discuss his most recent article from the summer issue of City Journal, “Why Study War?”. Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a City Journal Contributing Editor.

Leo: Welcome Dr. Hanson, your article “Why Study War?,” strongly criticizes the academy for its increasing neglect of military history. How do you explain this neglect?

Hanson: Mostly for three reasons. First, since the campus revolt against Vietnam, academia has associated war exclusively with amorality, forgetting, for example, that chattel slavery, Nazism, fascism, and Stalinism were ended by arms or military deterrence.

Second, multiculturalism — no culture can be any worse than the West — has redefined the history of Western arms as exclusively in the service of racism, colonialism, and imperialism that in turn were unique to the West.

And lastly, the advent of postmodernism, and indeed ‘theory’ in general, into the arts and sciences meant a general disdain for, and absence of mastery of, names, dates, personalities, facts themselves — the stuff of military history — in favor of seeing all of the past as a morality tale to be deconstructed on the basis of preconceived (and often anti-empirical) gender, class, and racial oppression.

The result is that we have self-acclaimed sophisticated graduate students and professors that know very little about what actually transpired in the past, but who fret a great deal over whether anyone can know anything about what they don’t know.

Read the rest of the interview here.
Printer version.


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