Letters to the Editor

Oct. 11, 2010, 12:15 a.m.

Ed. note: In response to the Oct. 7 editorial “Hoover Institution should renounce Hanson’s racist remarks,” Victor Davis Hanson Ph.D. ’80 posted a response on his blog and The Daily received dozens of critical letters. A sample of those letters is below. Unsigned editorials, as always, represent the views of the editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily staff. Learn more.

Dear Editor,

Your caustic screed against Victor Hanson is a routine embarrassment to Stanford University, your apparent intellectual inbreeding leading to unwarranted overconfidence producing sanctimonious posturing which so gaudily illustrates the “one size fits all” cognition of America’s future thought police officer corps. If only there were substantive intellectual diversity in your environs, you’d have realized before humiliating yourselves that Hanson’s comments are at once more substantive and more restrained than your putative critique, and your efforts to demand intellectual compliance — so characteristic of race/gender/class ideologues — will, in a free-thinking world, carry only as much weight as their underlying arguments will sustain, which is to say, a featherweight, in orbit.

John Rylander

Dear Editor,

That editorial was sophomoric, at best, but then, I suppose some of the staff are, indeed, sophomores. In fact, after reading both the editorial and the article it was unhappy with (in both incarnations), I find that the editorialists quite obviously misunderstood the arguments of Hanson (either deliberately or not) and then wrote an editorial in the very vein for which they (incorrectly) attacked Hanson. Is your answer for him to just shut up? Or might you consider making counter-arguments instead of calling names.

Actually, I now see I was wrong. This piece was not sophomoric, at least in the sense of college sophomores, it has much more in common with the behaviors more commonly found in junior high schools.

James Ivers

Dear Editor,

Your claims are baseless, unsupported by fact and McCarthyite in implication.  This is regardless of my level of agreement with Mr. Hansen’s opinions.

Sadly it is this precious sophomoric pedantry that I’ve come to expect from our so-called elite institutions. I used to run recruiting for a global consulting company, we prized Stanford graduates.

I for one repent of the regard I once held for the Leland Stanford Junior University.

Bill Reeves

Dear Editor,

Brown Shirts…all of you. To take the words of an intellect like Victor. D. Hanson…and twist those words into racial slurs when they are anything but…and then to demand that he be silenced by his colleagues in a setting and organization that is supposed to breed dialogue and viewpoints from many directions and perspectives?

You are Brown Shirts.

If you wonder why the Tea Party exists…It is in response to three decades of fascist idiots like you.

Brian C. Kuhn

Dear Editor,

Your editorial written against Victor Davis Hanson is the most cowardly, ill-advised  screed I have ever seen in a paper associated with an institute of higher learning. Bar none.

You and you institution have a lot to answer for. That you are charged with teaching the youth of our country makes me literally sick to my stomach.

Jeanne Patterson

Dear Editor,

I am appalled by your editorial. That kind of knee jerk demonization of anyone who questions race-conscious resource allocation by powerful institutions is daily becoming less and less convincing. Time to stop playing the race card and start making real arguments.

Jonathan Ashley

Dear Editor,

I personally challenge your editorial on the material written by Victor Davis Hanson. Your editorial was grossly based, and grossly biased, and you have shown yourselves to be bigots completely equal to those of the Joe McCarthy times. You provided NO SPECIFICS, and it is ironic that you would say, “Thus, we issue this editorial as an open challenge to the Hoover Institution. If you find fault with Hanson’s grossly generalizing remarks and wish to be a leader in the discussion of modern American universities, then please: let us know.”

I ask you all, were your remarks not grossly generalizing? You provided no proof, but instead went on to smear as Joe McCarthy smeared in the 1950s.

As Edward R. Murrow stated, Have You No Shame? You must apologize. Post haste. Or we will know full well the depth of your hypocrisy, indeed understand, that you have no morals or values not easily overturn.

Stone Wells

Boulder, Colo.

Dear Editor,

This e-mail is written in support of Dr. Hanson.

T.E. Bailes

Dear Editor,

Your recent attack on David Hanson is a disgraceful screed that reflects badly on you and Stanford University.

Instead of addressing Prof. Hanson’s arguments you merely use invective.  You fail to disprove anything that Hanson wrote.

Few these days are impressed by the kinds of arguments you used.  The validity and potency of the race card has been lost.

It is time to justify the special privileges and preferences that certain ethnic groups receive with logic and facts. It is time to treat people as individuals and not as members of identity groups.   It is time at last for fairness.

Roderic Fabian
Houston, Texas

Dear Editor,

I guess your war cry works on a California college campus but your hit piece on VDH was just silly. Hanson is a respected academic and engages in straightforward talk. Your editorial/opinion piece used all the trite words normally reserved for right-of-center attacks…

…vitrolic ignorance….check….

…toxic assumptions…check….


….shrill and callous…check…

Your editorial team talks about “welcoming a discussion on role of race in higher education” but before you get him to the table you start that discussion you were so eager to have, you begin talking about revoking his association with the university and kicking him out of the Hoover Institution. That’s a good way to open debate, try to get people fired or revoke their credentials for political reasons. Yes that is very productive. Transparent and without a bit of the irony necessary to be effective, your editorial argument is broken from the start. It’s a shame taxpayer dollars are being spent subsidizing this tripe. If there were any real justice in the world, you’d be looking for jobs peddling the same politics you preach. If people had to buy the ideas you have to sell, you’d be dirt poor.

Scott Douglas

Houston, Texas

Dear Editor,

I would ask if you have no shame, but your unsigned editorial clearly indicates that both shame and honest debate are not among your institutional virtues.

Rodney G. Graves

Dear Editor,

Dr Hanson has challenged you to defend your shamefully dishonest editorial and I cannot add a single thing to his reply. The ball is in your court, you dishonest hacks!

Bob Swartwout

Dear Editor,

I found your recent editorial about Dr. Hanson to be completely irresponsible journalism. You made no attempt to re-butt his points but instead simply accused him of racism. Instead of attacking him please explain to the readers why the children of a recent college educated immigrant from Nigeria should get preference over the children of low income Asian. Many readers would also like to know the meaning of the term Hispanic and exactly why this “group” is receiving any preference. Is it just because they speak Spanish? Does it make any sense to give preference to ethnic Germans from Argentina? Affirmative action is nothing but reverse discrimination against Asians and every high school student is well aware of the complete unfairness of this policy.

Stuart Young

Dear Editor,

Your editorial against Professor Hanson was despicable McCarthyism.  He made specific criticisms about how ill defined, and arbitrary, affirmative action programs can often be in academia. You, then, leveled blanket attacks against him completely without identifying what in his remarks were false, untrue, or inaccurate.  Liberal McCarthyism.  Shame on you.

Roger Sutton

Visalia, Calif.

Dear Editor,

Your castigation of Hanson in your editorial of October 7 is misplaced. In engaging in ad hominem attack and declining to meet the substance of the remarks you were criticizing (the “beyond the scope of this editorial” aside notwithstanding), you make a woefully ineffective argument. Surely, you have the resources to evaluate the truth or lack thereof of Hanson’s characterizations. One is tempted to conclude that facts underlie Hanson’s statements — facts you find inconvenient for your preferred narrative. In choosing to attack the messenger, you fool none but the witless.

Joe McDermott

Houston, Texas

Dear Editor,

Add my name to those who don’t much like your scurrious attack on Victor Davis Hanson.

As he himself says, identify yourselves and then make your argument. Don’t hide behind cowardly ad hominem attacks.

I find it hard to believe this would come from an institute of higher learning.

Gary Thomas

Dear Editor,

As a lifetime California resident, UC Santa Cruz graduate, and 25 year veteran of the US Air Force, I expected far more from Stanford University.

Ad hominem attacks unsubstantiated by any facts are beneath an institution that should lead in honest dialogue based in the reality of our actual experience.

Stephen Barron

Dear Editor,

If you truly welcome debate why don’t you invite Hanson to an open forum to exchange views with the editors?

Scott Soames

Dear Editor,

I read your editorial as well as Victor Davis Hanson’s original comments.  I only thing I found offensive and distasteful was your editorial.  There was nothing racist or insensitive in what Victor Davis Hanson wrote.  Your attack on him was clearly over the pale.  I suspect that it must have hit a little too close to home.

It has become a common tactic of the left to call anything they disagree with racist.  It’s usually a tool of the weak minded.  I suggest that you spend a little more time debating what Victor Davis Hanson has to say and a little less time writing baseless attacks.

Mark Teister

Dear Editor,

Victor Davis Hanson is among a handful of academics worth their salt these days.

Your attack on him, as documented here, was a sad little brick on a broad way, through a wide gate, that is leading to our country’s destruction.

One prays that the support Dr. Hanson receives in your inbox will lead you to reconsider, well, everything, cut the rot out of your hearts, and apologize to one of the few wise scholars actually making a difference today.

In hope of improvement,

Chris Smith

Dear Editor:

anonymous ad hominem attacks are not worthy of stanford

W. Robert Lee

Dear Editor,

I read Dr. Hanson’s response to your editorial today, and would be interested in your retort.  In particular, is there a logical basis for your advocacy of Affirmative Action for people such as Obama’s children, people who are one-eighth “minorities,” or discrimination against Punjabs, etc.?

Looking forward to your response to Dr. Hanson.

Mark Passaro

Dear Editor,

College should teach how to think, not what to think.

Maybe you ought to think about that.

Bill Hull

Dear Editor,

Come on, guys and gals. I read your editorial about VDH and it was sophomoric. Uh-oh…excuse me. You ARE sophomores. My bad. I just wanted to send you a brief note to suggest that 1) you might not know

everything you think you know; 2) many universities ARE left-leaning and monolithic in their political views; and 3) Victor Davis Hanson is a highly intelligent American of proven scholarship and accomplishments. Stanford students are certainly free to disagree with his views, but a greater degree of respect and objectivity seems appropriate to the debate.

Ron Shiffman

Dear Editor,

I realize your contributors are college students, but the Stanford name implies (perhaps the past tense is more accurate now) BRIGHT college students. Sadly, that appears not to be the case. Apparently the Daily recently published a commentary on Mr. Hanson’s recent article in the WSJ. One passage commented on was this:

“Diversity is Orwellian: the university is the most politically intolerant and monolithic institution in the country, even as it demands the continuance of tenure to protect supposedly unpopular expression. Even its emphases on racial diversity is entirely constructed and absurd: Latin Americans add an accent and a trill and they become victimized Chicanos; one-half African-Americans claim they are more people of color than much darker Punjabis; the children of Asian optometrists seek minority and victim status.”

The response of the Daily was: “…this sort of homogenous denigration is no intellectual commentary. It is at best vitriolic ignorance. Combining the toxic assumption that all members of an ethnicity group act the same way with the mocking reference to “an accent and a trill” veers dangerously into bigotry.”

It should be obvious to any reader that Mr. Hanson was using examples to paint a mental picture, not trying to say literally that all members of those specific ethnic groups all acted that way. Indeed, the implication to be drawn is that the country’s universities are engaging in this kind of identity politics, not the named groups themselves.

The article goes on to address the Hoover Institution, in effect challenging it to denounce him or be tarred with the same imaginary brush. How very Soviet of the Daily.

In defense of the writer, they did use proper grammar and nomenclature. Unfortunately, he or she thoroughly misunderstood the article on which he was commenting, and tried to threaten Mr. Hanson’s association with the University. The threat is pretty weak, true, but the implication is there — and would be worse if it were in the writer’s power.

From the writer to the Hoover Institution: “If you do not (denounce Mr. Hanson’s remarks), we hope you realize the damage you do to this university’s standing and to the well-being of higher education in America.”

The writer has already done enough damage to both. You might want to find someone able to interpret what they read to be the next editorial writer.


Dear Editor,

The unsigned editorial your newspaper published that slandered Professor Hanson was a classic piece of garbage. Why, exactly, was the editorial unsigned?  It is so easy to practice character assassination when one is unwilling to take personal responsibility. Whoever wrote the editorial has a bright future ahead in some ministry of propaganda.

Owen Johnson

Dear Editor,

Attacking those with whom you disagree with baseless attacks of racism is the last refuge of scoundrels who cannot respond with substance.

Your shooting blanks and exposing yourselves as the intellectually bankrupt cretins you are.

Michael Finn

Cheyenne, Wyo.

Dear Editor,

You morons have learned nothing at Stanford, or maybe thats all Stanford is worth anymore. Clearly you have NO education of consequence or you would have addressed an argument with reason instead of ad Hominem attacks. Your puerile insults to Prof.. Hanson aside, why can you not show some intellect and recognition of the world around you. Grow up. You have pretty much convinced me to NEVER consider hiring a Stanford grad with a degree in anything but the serious sciences.

Carl Youngstrom

Dear Editor,

In agreement with Victor Davis Hanson: “The Daily did neither.”

Ron Rodgers

I am a regular reader of Victor Davis Hanson; I have been for several years.  I find him to be smart, informed, logical and unafraid to take an unpopular stand.  But I also respect the fact that he never gets vicious in his writings. I can’t remember a time when he ever resorted to ad hominem arguments to make a point.

I’m also a regular reader of Instapundit and this evening I’m taking Glenn Reynolds’ suggestion that I contact The Stanford Daily to express my opinion of your recent editorial criticizing Hanson.

In short I agree wholeheartedly with Hanson’s response to your editorial.  If you disagree with him then please, please tell us why you disagree.  I’m open to learning new things.  Maybe I’ll agree with you when I’m done reading. But to just rant on and on with your harsh language and appealing to the Hoover Institution is just plain beneath Stanford, or any university for matter.  Actually, I expect more of high school students.

For me the most upsetting passage is:

“Thus, we issue this editorial as an open challenge to the Hoover Institution. If you find fault with Hanson’s grossly generalizing remarks and wish to be a leader in the discussion of modern American universities, then please: let us know.

If you do not, we hope you realize the damage you do to this university’s standing and to the well-being of higher education in America.”

Where’s the part about if you disagree with us, please tell us why?  Are you that sure of yourself?  There’s no possibility of a different point of view?  Why attend a university if you already know all there is to know?

In ending I’ll quote Hanson: A university newspaper that so easily casts charges of racism and wishes to silence the views of others is obligated to demonstrate why and how its allegations are true. The Daily did neither.

If there is more that your paper has to say about this story, please let me know.

David Bricker

Dear Editor,

The racist arrow, long used to wound anyone who questions affirmative action policy, has lost its’ sting.

Mr. Hanson is a serious and thoughtful man. Instead of refuting his premise you attacked him and called on the Heritage Foundation [sic] to apologize.

As I said, the racist slur has been overplayed and is now seen as what it is, a cheap attempt to shut up those who speak the truth.


Dear Editor,

Either accept Hanson’s challenge to produce a published set of logical guidelines by which Stanford bases its race-based admissions, or apologize for mischaracterizing his statements (and indeed, Hanson himself) as racist.

Oh, and be sure to do what I do below: Sign your response.

Gene Schwimmer

Dear Editor,

You’ve had your PC rant, and slandered Victor Davis Hanson. The estimable VDH has calmly responded with a challenge.

I hope you will accept, and also hope that your craven editorial writer will at least have the courage to identify himself or herself this time.

Lawrence Fossi

Houston, Texas

Dear Editor,

You have nothing remaining to add to the debate, do you? Truly, you have zero to put in, save bellowing “racism” when your lefty worldview is challenged.

Victor Hanson is most definitely not a bigot. You, on the other hand, are a small-minded race-hustler without an ounce of honor.

Patrick Duran

San Marcos, Texas

Dear Editor,

That was a cheap shot against Victor Davis Hanson.  He is not a racist.  You owe him and your readers an apology.

Dore Schupack

Dear Editor,

Your absurdly juvenile editorial about Victor Davis Hanson completely encompasses the deficits of a Stanford education–told that they are elite, the editorial board of the Stanford Daily substitute prejudice for argument, and are left unmanned when Dr. Hanson points out the emptiness of your ad hominem attack.  No wonder it is forever named the Leland Stanford Junior College.  And yes, I know its true reading, and know that you fulfill the alternate way to read the name.

You’re an ill-trained bunch of snots.

Terry Ryan

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