Mexifornia: Where`s The Military Historian?
By Brenda Walker:
Banned In Lewiston? Female Genital Mutilation]
Victor Davis Hanson is known to many readers for his
weekly columns in
National Review championing martial values, in a
writing style that comfortably folds in references from
ancient sources. Hanson is an unashamed proponent of
Western civilization, of the Athenian democracy,
consensual government, free enterprise, private
property, civil liberties and free speech. He is also a
military historian and a
fifth-generation farmer in California`s Central
Valley. Hanson`s latest book,
Mexifornia, provides a nuanced and patient look
at the cultural chasm that divides our nation`s largest
state, and the
transformation of his own community, Selma, Calif.
describes the old Selma of the 1950s: about half
Hispanic half Anglo, it was a place where immigrant
children learned American language, history and values.
Today Selma is almost 90 percent Hispanic, and the
author tells how he can go into town and
never hear English.
professor of classics at
Cal State Fresno, Hanson is keenly attuned to
educational standards. Read the chapter where he
recounts his boyhood schooling, which inculcated
American values in homegrown and immigrant kids alike;
it evokes countless other classrooms of the 1950s.
Teachers, a number of whom were veterans, generally
believed in America, and wished to
assimilate immigrants into the mainstream culture.
School children learned civics,
American history and good manners, among other
Selma students of Mexican heritage or birth were not
excused from those subjects, but were instead encouraged
in the strongest terms to get with the program—to learn
unaccented English with a large vocabulary and
behave appropriately within the dominant culture. How
could they succeed any other way?
teacher of young adults, Professor Hanson espouses an
increasingly untrendy line of study—the classics. Prof.
Hanson recommends the study of such difficult
disciplines for building students` character—rather than
the fatuous feel-goodism that dominates today`s
are many barbs in this book; the toughest are aimed at
the educational establishment, which has failed
immigrant young people completely by supporting
hyphenated identities and weakened academic
standards—then dosing students with
“therapeutic” history and mythology designed to
cosset each ethnic group.
Hanson clearly believes in American culture and its
power to include. He cites the success of the mostly
Mexican-American farm hands with whom he attended
school—people who are now gainfully employed in middle
America, who don`t fly
Mexican flags on their car antennas. The grade
school young Victor attended still stands, two miles
from his farm. Once an effective institution that helped
children grow into productive citizens, the school now
has some of the state`s worst scores in literacy and
is a readable book, keeping a moderate tone.
Californians may wish to send copies to friends and
relatives who live in other states; it will explain what
happened to their home state, and what lies ahead in
Virginia and other places.
draws a sharp contrast between the old Selma and the
new. He recounts nostalgically the story of the Hispanic
girl Gracie Luna who was Selma`s spelling champ; then
notes that the
Latino homicide rate is now three times that of
non-Hispanic whites. Hanson`s patient voice is at times
hard to fathom as he relates many instances of genuinely
infuriating interactions with Mexicans—ripoffs from the
trash dumped on the farm property that requires a
monthly clearing, wild and farm animals killed for
target practice and ongoing theft of anything not nailed
has no illusions about the government of Mexico. He
notes that it has always been run by
"apparatchiks and gangsters,”
and that the current regime
encourages out-migration to the U.S. because it
means $10 billion a year in money sent home by émigrés.
If Washington tries to crack down on this system, Mexico
warns, the lost revenue could plunge our southern
neighbor into chaos. It`s extortion.
Mexicans suffer too. Professor Hanson observes that the
corrupt status quo forestalls reform in
Mexico. And while the Mexican immigrant is initially
enthralled by the opportunity of America, he realizes
over the years that his own language and lack of skills
are profoundly limiting, restricting him to manual labor
at the bottom of the social scale. His gratitude towards
America turns slowly to anger and envy.
Professor Hanson continues the myth that Mexicans do
jobs Americans won`t. In agricultural Selma, that may be
accurate; not many Americans would pick crops. But what
mechanization, arguably retarded by immigration? And
few aliens really want to stay down on the farm,
day laborers standing on thousands of street corners
across the nation every morning to hang sheet rock,
frame houses or
garden. These are jobs that once provided
middle-class livings for
American workers, until an immigrant-flooded labor
market made citizens seem too expensive.
hear from Victor Davis Hanson the farmer and the
teacher, but not from the military historian. This is a
pity, since mass immigration on such a scale as we are
enduring qualifies as an invasion. Conquering by babies
rather than bombs is a tactic as old as the hills. As
recently as the 1930s,
Lebanon was a majority Christian country; now it is
adjusting to an intolerant Muslim majority. See also
Israel`s survival as a Jewish society is threatened
by the high birth rates of Arabs within its borders.
California truly become Mexifornia by a successful
non-military invasion? Will Americans
continue to flee the increasingly
alien state for somewhere that is still recognizable
as their country? (California`s U.S.-born population
actually declined by 1.5 million people in last decade
while the overall population increased by over four
million.) This crisis calls out for an analysis from a
military expert—which Hanson strangely fails to provide.
Mexifornia lays out a dire situation in calm, almost
complacent terms. Professor Hanson believes in the power
of American civic education to shape young foreigners
into future successful citizens. But the moral certitude
of that viewpoint has been lost in the educational
system at large. Instead of getting help growing up as
Americans, Mexican children are smothered with a
future-killing concoction of
declining academic standards and self-esteem. If no
changes are made to the current immigration policies,
they can only result in endemic poverty and a