Victor Davis Hanson Doubleheader


2024: The Year Of Our Reckoning


e should remember the now modern proverb of Nixon-era economic advisor Herb Stein to the effect that what cannot go on (without destroying the nation), simply will not go on.

In some sense, the country for recent years has been cruising on the fumes from prior and likely better wiser generations and institutions. In 2024, the tab for our current apathy, toxic politics and incompetence will come due.

So next year we will likely see the climax to a number of current dangerous ideas, events, and forces, which finally will either overwhelm us or be addressed and remedied. We live in a Neroesque age but can recover if we first understand how we got here and the nature of the suicide we are committing.

In 2023, it became clear, to even the most loyal supporters of the Biden Administration, that the U.S. has simply lost or indeed forfeited American deterrence abroad. Our enemies do not fear us; our friends do not trust us; and neutrals do not care either way.

After the 2021 Kabul debacle, the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 2023 brazen Chinese spy balloon’s uncontested trajectory over the United States, the recent Hamas invasion of Israel, the serial Iranian-fueled terrorist attacks on U.S. installations in the Middle East and the terrorist Houthis’ veritable absorption of the Red Sea, many of America’s opportunistic enemies drew conclusions and adopted strategies that would have been previously unthinkable.

Either adversaries will be so emboldened to start regional wars—an impotent Iran now brags it will block the entire Mediterranean—or a United States will be shocked into action and have to deter Iran, the Houthis, and Islamic terrorism, while dealing with an opportunistic China eager to annex Taiwan and Russia determined to finish off Ukraine.

Those challenges will force the military to staunch its recruitment hemorrhaging, rectify low morale and rearm. Such rebooting in turn will require discarding the woke agenda, stopping the DEI proselytizing and virtue signaling and returning to a meritocracy focused on military preparedness and battlefield efficacy.

Since January 2021, the Biden Administration has flagrantly and unapologeticaly dismantled federal immigration law. It has destroyed the border as we once knew it. It has already greenlit more than 8 million illegal entrants—with another quarter-million entering each month.

No one in government has offered any projected costs to states and federal agencies of offering health, food, housing, legal and education subsidies to millions—who broke the law by entering the U.S. and continue to do violate it while residing unlawfully here. Is that the sign of a promising American citizen—that the first thing he does upon entering America is to break his host’s law?

Incredibly, no one has even explained to Americans why millions of illegal aliens are exempt from the vaccine mandates, background checks and adherence to the law that is demanded of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. We will soon demand “real” IDs of American citizen airline travelers, while we fly illegal aliens all over the states without any identification?

In fact, those who blew up the border can’t honestly even explain to the American people why they did so. Was it to ensure future (or even present) political constituents? Cheap labor? To ensure higher taxes to pay for more government services and to “spread the wealth?” Obeyence to the diversity/equity/inclusion lobbies? To make up for fleeing blue-state population?

The United States has now exceeded, both in real numbers and in percentages, all past numbers of non-native born American residents—at a time when civic education, the idea of the melting pot and adherence to assimilation have never been more under assault.

In 2024, either the border will close, or the United States will suffer radical political realignments, sheer chaos in our major cities, protests from Americans furious over the complete flaunting of federal law by their own elected officials, and a likely impeachment of Joe Biden for deliberately forsaking his oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.”

The October 7 Hamas invasion of Israel and the premodern massacre of nearly 1,200 Jews—and the virulent anti-Semitism that swept our elite campuses and big cities even before the October 27 Israeli Defense Forces’ retaliatory invasion of Gaza—was a wakeup call about the racialized hatred and anti-Semitism now endemic on the Left.

Campus protestors dropped the prior protestations that they were not anti-Semitic in their hatred of Israel. Instead, they now call out Jews by name. They disrupt their homes and businesses, regardless of their views on Zionism. Pro-Hamas protestors feel free to harass Jews, and with impunity and arrogance chant genocidal chants promising the destruction of Israel and its Jewish population.

The main campus culprits for these sudden unabashed hatreds are tripartite. First, wealthy, mostly white leftist students—increasingly as ignorant of history as they are arrogant in their zealotry—feel it pays psychological and careerist dividends on campus to mouth orthodoxies of hating Israel and de facto siding with the Hamas killers.

Most have no idea of the Hamas charter, where flows the Jordan River, or what the British Mandate for Palestine or the Balfour Declaration were. Few of the loudest could never even find Jordan, Israel, the West Bank or Gaza on a map. No matter: being heard and seen on campus hating Israel is considered a necessary fad like 1970s bellbottoms or pet rocks.

Second, huge numbers of full-tuition-paying Middle-Eastern visiting students and green-card holders, along with Gulf-fueled and endowed faculty, assume that they are exempt from any legal consequences. So they often deface the federal monuments of their hosts, shut down traffic, swarm Jews on campus and in the street, break the law and battle with police—with absolute impunity.

Third, just as startling are the undisguised hatreds emanating from radical diversity/equity/inclusion students and faculty. As the declared oppressed, they too feel exempt from any charge that they are mouthing racist and anti-Semitic venom, as they conflate Israel with the now maligned stereotyped “white” people.

The apogee of such extremism was evident in the congressional testimony of  three ethically challenged Ivy-League presidents. They reminded the nation that no campus president would unequivocally condemn, much less punish, any anti-Semites on a campus, who openly called for the destruction of Israel and its Jewish population. And they lied about “free speech” constraints on their punishment of mainstreaming anti-Semitic and genocidal threats—given they routinely expel, censure, and variously punish all sorts of “hate speech,” but only if it is directed against their own DEI constituencies.

All this is not tenable.

Our top universities are facing a perfect storm. Declining pools of students, crushing student loan debt, spiraling tuition and room and board costs, administrative bloat, defecting donors and the public’s distrust of such people being entrusted with their children’s higher education, will all soon lead to a general reexamination of the very need of these universities in the first place, at least as they are presently constituted.

Their racialist admissions, hiring, retention and promotion protocols are destroying meritocracy. Their mediocre curricula, grade inflation, and campus polarization have convinced the public that they are no longer deserving of the many taxpayer indulgences that shield campuses from market realities—such as massive federal research grants and subsidies, tax-free billions of dollars in private donations, tax-free endowment income in the tens of billions of dollars, and taxpayer subsidized $2 trillion in student loans.

So insulated are these atolls of privilege that they cannot recognize growing public anger over the damage they are doing to the country. Iconic Harvard University cannot even fire its DEI president Claudine Gay, despite serial instances in her own past of plagiarism (which prompted Harvard’s sycophantic board to defend her by embracing a new euphemism— “duplicative language” as if to signify the tiny clerical lapse of stealing the ideas and prose of others).

In 2024, radical changes in university administration and values will begin to be made, or higher education will face a reckoning from the public and a newly elected government.

Currently, Colorado has tentatively removed Donald Trump from its 2024 ballot on the specious grounds that he is an “insurrectionist.” Thus, the state insists that he is subject to the 14th Amendment, Section 3 clause of 1868, that calls for the disbarment from future government employment or service those former federal officials and employees who had joined the Confederacy.

Aside from the misapplication of the spirit and letter of that post-Civil War legislation, those responsible for erasing Trump know that he has never been charged with, much less convicted of “insurrection.” And he never will be.

They understand that half the country knows the January 6 “riot” was the work of unarmed, overzealous, and buffoonish protestors, who broke the law by entering the Capitol, but otherwise had no master insurrection plan. And the majority surrounding the Capitol did in fact obey the president’s call to protest “peacefully” and “patriotically.”

The Left privately understands that their latest weaponization of government follows their “Russian collusion hoax,” their “laptop disinformation” farce, their two politicized impeachments, their performance-art Mar-a-Lago documents raid, and thus are all part of a systematic degradation of our campaigns, elections and political customs, tradition, and discourse.

A jaded public knows too well that such punitive measures never applied to the 2016 Hillary Clinton crimes of destroying subpoenaed emails and devices, or the FBI’s illegal alteration of FISA documents or its contracting out social media to suppress news stories, or its hiring of a foreign national Christopher Steele, who compiled a fake “dossier” to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump.

A majority of Americans further know that had Donald Trump not chosen to run for office in 2024, state and federal prosecutors such as the publicity-seeking and partisan Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, Jack Smith, and Fani Willis would never have indicted him.

All privately know that the entire Biden family, including the President, could just as easily be indicted on state and local felonies, but the Biden consortium finds itself exempt both for its leftist ideology and its current control of the Department of Justice. What then do the campaign and election of 2024 foreordain?

We will be in entirely new and completely dangerous territory. The likely Republican nominee who currently leads incumbent president Joe Biden will be for most of 2024 the constant target of a coordinated state and local Soviet-like effort to destroy his candidacy before the voters can even vote for or against him in the November election.

The United States 2023 annual budget deficit is about $1.7 trillion; the nation is burdened by a $34 trillion national debt—even though the federal government since 2021 has raised all sorts of new income and excise taxes.

The era of printing money, zero interest rates, “modern monetary theory,” and spending wildly is drawing to a close. The mounting interest on the national debt is now crowding out optional but soon essential annual federal spending. At some point soon, one generation of Americans is going to have to exercise spending restraint or accept a continuing decline in its living standards.

In sum, in 2024, we will either see the destruction of presidential electoral politics as we have known them or a complete repudiation of lawfare. The current new normal that the party in power indicts the leading candidate of the opposition is not sustainable or compatible with the idea of America.

Either the military will have to deter dramatically our growing number of opportunistic enemies, or it will descend into something like the French army between the world wars—plagued by ideology, ossified brass, corruption, mediocrity, misplaced investments and bankrupt strategies.

If there are not radical changes in higher education, our Ivy League and self-identified elite campuses will go the way of Bud-Light, Disney and Target—once premier brands reduced to red ink and laughing-stock caricatures.

The United States is cracking under 8 million illegal entries; it cannot sustain another year and 2 million more illegal entrants—or a total of 55-60 million foreign-born residents, with no idea of how many are U.S. citizens, illegal aliens, or green card holders–or how many are employable, or free of criminal records or in need of massive federal and state subsidies.

In 2024, the U.S. will begin to see that to meet its spiraling debt, it will either keep inflating its currency, or slash spending, or raise even further taxes to the degree that even the lower middle class will have to pay 50 percent of their income in state and federal taxes, or renounce its debt and thus go full-Third World.

Will we meet these challenges or ensure the ongoing decline?

If what we saw after October 7, or the wild and out-of-control reign of weaponized local and state prosecutors, or what we watch nightly on television at the border, or the paralyses we witness abroad of our military, or the breezy way in which our officials promise groups here and abroad billions of dollars in easy money, continues into 2024, then the country as we knew it will become unrecognizable. ✪


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t is now “Trump Will Destroy Democracy” season again. And predictably the Left has gone hysterical, after experiencing a trifecta of frightening 2024 news.

One, current polls in the primaries and in a general election for now show that Trump would win.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s popularity dives below 40 percent. His policies on the economy, abroad, at the border, concerning crime and about energy poll even more feebly. Never has an American president utterly and deliberately destroyed immigration law for the sole purpose of inviting in millions of illegal aliens, to establish political constituencies supportive of agendas that otherwise have scant public support.

Two, unequivocal evidence is mounting that the Bidens are one of the most corrupt political families in American presidential history. Hunter, the Leona Helmsley of our times, is now indicted for massive tax evasion, despite his earlier, government-aided efforts of running out the statute of limitations on the full array of his crimes.

When asked about his grifting, Biden angrily denies the undeniable. He can only become animated these days, when asked to square his denials about knowing what Hunter was up to with a multitude of facts and data to the contrary. And so in exasperation he shouts, “Lies!, Lies!,” and “Lies!”

There is now conclusive proof that Biden himself lied repeatedly when he swore that he knew nothing about his wayward son Hunter’s grifting business. He used several aliases to communicate directly with his son’s grifting and quid pro quo partners.

Canceled checks show the president was paid substantial sums by family members after they received money from foreign governments—for nothing other than being related to the future president. The pay-offs were hidden by “loan repayment” lies; no one expects ever to find any such evidence that there were formal loan documents or agreements between Biden and his family.

Former Hunter Biden associates, explicit messaging on his laptop, IRS whistleblowers, and bank records all explain why an opulent Joe Biden enjoyed a lifestyle impossible on either a senator’s or Vice President’s salary. While Biden toured the country sermonizing that the rich must “pay their fair share,” it is increasingly likely that he had received huge amounts from foreign governments eager to purchase him as an influencer—and never paid taxes on such occult income.

Three, Joe Biden’s cognitive decline and feebleness have reached a point where he is one fall, one bad cold, or one long brain-freeze away from incapacity. He clearly is not running the country. How could he be, when he cannot finish a sentence without mangling the syntax, slurring the vocabulary and confusing his listeners?

So Biden’s blank stares lengthen. His disorientation and uncertainty where to enter and exit occur hourly. And his bizarre, repulsive fixation with young girls, and his desire to call them out, hug them, breathe on their hair, or nuzzle their necks become all the more embarrassing. Had a U.S. senator engaged in such reprehensible behavior he would long ago have been censored.

Add all this news up that Biden is fading, Trump apparently is out polling him; and suddenly the Left has rebooted the tired “Trump will destroy democracy” boilerplate.

Almost nightly now TV anchors warn of a dictatorship. Columnists predict the “end of democracy.” Essayists vie to see who can become the most absurd in predicting Trump’s planned takeover America.

There are several considerations, however, about these bankrupt and discredited Nostradamuses that the American people should note—aside from the fact the “democracy will die” mob is the same herd that assured us of Russian collusion, laptop disinformation, and the integrity of the Biden family.

First, ex-president Trump is now a known quantity. A comparison of his four years with the first three years of Biden’s tenure is instructive. Biden’s border is nonexistent–and by design.

Eight-million illegal aliens—un-audited & unvetted from all over the world, the vast majority without legality, diversity, English, or skill sets—have swarmed the country to the extent that even swamped leftwing blue-state governors and mayors are opposed to the Biden nihilism.

Biden stopped catch-and-release, and phony refugee statuses, and pressured Mexico to patrol their side of the border. He destroyed the immigration laws as we knew them.

Biden’s flight from Afghanistan was the greatest foreign policy humiliation in modern American history. It destroyed U.S. deterrence and green-lighted Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine, Hamas to craft an intricate plan of slaughtering Israeli civilians, Iran to arm to the teeth its terrorist surrogates, and China to send a spy balloon over the U.S. and serially to threaten Taiwan. The common denominator abroad was a correct appraisal that Biden’s controllers would talk tough, but always equivocate.

There was zero inflation before Biden; 30-year mortgages were less than 2 percent. Now prices for staples like gas, food, power, health care and housing have spiked well over 30 percent since Biden took office. Mortgages are hitting 7 percent and the housing market is comatose. Real wages have eroded.

It seems hard to accuse Trump of being a dangerous demagogue when his four years saw effective government action on the economy, foreign policy, energy and crime.

Afterall, was the Trump Middle-East Policy (e.g., branding Houthis as terrorists, the Abraham Accords, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, a non-negotiable Israeli Golan Heights, cutting off aid to Hamas, junking the Iran deal, slapping sanctions on Iranian oil, eliminating Soleimani, etc.) or Biden’s antithesis (sending money to Hamas, lifting sanctions on Iran, begging to reenter the Iran Deal, freeing the Houthis from their terrorist classification, cutting back on oil production, maligning/then courting Saudi Arabia, distancing from Israel, etc.) the more beneficial to the U.S. and the Middle East at large?

Two, who exactly has weaponized the government in dictatorial fashion? Who by fiat pandered illegally to cancel student loans before a midterm, or suddenly drained the strategic petroleum reserve to lower gas prices before an election?

What do former FBI directors, former “intelligence authorities” and the former Directors of National Intelligence and the CIA all have in common? They lied, often under oath, and always in service of weaponizing the government for political agendas.

Who hired a foreign national Christopher Steele to concoct a silly file of lies to destroy a political rival? Why did the FBI sequester the Hunter laptop for a year? Who subcontracted out Twitter for $3 million to suppress information deemed harmful to the Biden campaign? Who squashed an IRS investigation of the Biden family?

It was not the would-be dictator Donald Trump who secretly routed money to the Wuhan virology lab, and who then manipulated government agencies to hide that fact—at the expense of the welfare of the American people.

Who called up a former CIA director to round up 51 intelligence retirees to lie to sabotage an election? Did not the current national security advisor Jake Sullivan try to concoct the Alfa Bank ping ruse to destroy the Trump campaign and administration?

When a former Pentagon lawyer and military officers called for a military coup to remove Trump, for which political agenda were they working?

Did Trump prompt the acting Attorney General and FBI Director to consider in secret wearing a wire to entrap and remove a president through the 25th Amendment?

What was “Anonymous” about—if not to destroy an administration from within through use of the deep state bureaucracy?

Who coordinated Pfizer executives to delay announcement of the vaccine rollout until after the election to ensure Trump’s Operation Warp Speed received no pre-election credit?

Liberal journalist Molly Ball, in her notorious Time essay, outlined what she called a “cabal” and “conspiracy” to destroy the 2020 Trump re-election campaign and indeed his presidency, through modulating Antifa/BLM protests, suppression of the news, and huge infusions of corporate money to augment or indeed absorb the work of the registrars in key states.

Who exactly cooked up the phony Letitia James suit? Or the Alvin Bragg joke of an indictment? Or the weaponized Fani Wallis vendetta? Or the partisan and asymmetrical hunt of Jack Smith? Who impeached a president twice and tried him as a private citizen, without a report of a special counsel? Who revived the ossified Logan Act to destroy General Michael Flynn?

And who is trying to strip Trump’s name off the 2024 ballot, convinced that such a Third-world dictatorial effort can alone stop dictatorship?

In contrast, the supposed “dictator” Trump appointed a special counsel, Comey pal and insider Robert Mueller, to run a witch hunt against him for 22 months.

He did not fire Anthony Fauci who worked to undermine Trump at every turn, and used government monies to fund gain-of-function, dangerous viral research in China, while spending most of the Trump administration covering that fact up, most often by serially lying.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley despised Donald Trump to such an extent that he called his Chinese communist counterpart to advise him that he, Milley himself, would not follow a Trump order, should he deem it too dangerous, without warning the Chinese in advance. Milley faced no repercussions.

Nor did Trump fire immediately Comey when many called on him to go, given Comey’s effort to use the FBI in the 2016 election to undermine the Trump campaign and sabotage a FISA court.

Why did retired generals and admirals with impunity violate Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice by smearing their Command-in-Chief as a liar, Mussolini, Hitler-like, and deserving of early removal? Were any even reminded that they were in violation of statutes? Is it a dangerous thing for the U.S. military to attack their civilian overseers and in private to negotiate with the communist Chinese military?

Most of the Russian collusion hoax was discussed in the waning days of the Obama administration inside the Oval Office, as Obama green-lighted illegal CIA and FBI involvements.

Who cooked up the idea that Mark Zuckerberg could infuse $419 million to warp balloting in key swing states?

What did Lois Lerner do as an IRS adjudicator, as the 2012 Obama reelection loomed?

Trump may well have at times trolled the Left wildly, but the Left seriously sought to undermine the government, cancel existing laws, lie under oath, deceive a federal judge, and enlist the FBI and CIA to conspire to destroy a presidential campaign. All that seems a bit dictatorial.

Three, after nearly nine years of Trump demonization—celebrities vying publicly with each to dream up ways of killing Trump (incineration, decapitation, shooting, stabbing, dismemberment, explosives, etc), lawfare used to deny the American public the right to vote for or against Trump, a deranged media shouting pseudo-conspiracies of “collusion” and “disinformation” for years, and billionaires spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure Trump was never elected or reelected or even on the ballot—why have the American people still not bought into the “dictator” Trump meme?

Is it because they have enough common sense to grasp that those who protest too much, do so for obvious reasons?

In sum, we have seen a 24/7 effort of leftwing presidents, deep-state bureaucrats, and the media to break the law and weaponize the government. The only rationale for such illegality has been the sick notion that the ends of destroying the supposed “dictator” Trump justified any dictatorial means necessary to achieve them.

So what else is behind the latest epidemic of DNC talking points that spin Trump as an existential threat to democracy?

The Left knows that in dictatorial fashion it has turned a federal republic into a government run wild, lawless, and in service to partisan agendas. It again talks of what Trump will supposedly do only because the Left surely would do exactly what it accuses Trump of planning to do if it were Trump.

In other words, the Left projects itself onto Trump, and understandably finds itself all too terrifying. ✪


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