Thursday, February 15, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson

I had the distinct pleasure of hearing one of my favorite authors speak tonight at a guest lecture sponsored by the University of Texas Liberal Arts College Western Civilization Program. Of course, that was Dr. Victor Davis Hanson.

The lecture and Q & A were taped for podcast and as soon as I find out where, I'll post a link.

The subject was "The Ancient Greeks & Western Civilization: Then and Now." Dr. Hanson was very engaging (much more so than on the radio). He certainly was unafraid of sticking his neck out in what he clearly believed could be a somewhat hostile environment. When asked about what could be done about the "clash of civilizations," he said, "I suppose I'm the only person in the room who believes the only solution is to bring transparent, representative government to the Middle East." I paraphrase but that was the gist...the Bush Doctrine or at least part of it.

I'm not sure I heard anything new in the lecture (except for his sense of humor) that I hadn't already read in his columns and books. He touched on Xerxes and Cortes and Alexander and Socrates and Phillip and Penelope. He discussed property rights and freedom of speech. Capitalism, Communism, Fascism, Democracies, Oligarchies, Theocracies all made the discussion. Heck, even female circumcision found its way in. Again, nothing he's not written about before.

In many ways the stereotypical professor. Balding and bespectacled, he was disheveled and his coat was missing a button. The tan (from his farming?) was a bit out of place.

I'm glad I didn't miss a minute.

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