"The key was that the initial planting of the vineyard involved a delicate balance," wrote Victor Davis Hanson in The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization. "The farmer had to be careful not to opt for either extreme, and instead to be aware that conditions adverse to full production ironically prove hospitable. So the growing practice of viticulture in the early polis —much more so than livestock raising or grain growing — must have reordered Greek values and contributed to the peculiar Greek notion of harmony and moderation … Hard work, not natural bounty was to be lionized."
"Should be required reading for all Pauline-Kael-bubble residents, from President Obama on up or down. Somebody should make a movie of it. Get Roger L. Simon on the phone at once!!! This could be box-office gold," we wrote (only half in jest) in the comments of Victor Davis Hanson's "Obama Versus the Way of the Universe," an eye-opening "farmer's tale" of the military historian's own mugging by reality at age 26, when — in a reversal of the "How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?" narrative — the gentleman farmer realized that trying to make nice to a neighbor willing to take advantage of a young man's naiveté was a loser's game. A few snippets to whet your appetite, and then be sure to read the whole thing:
Only someone who has not been in the real world, but only marketed rhetoric without consequences (e.g., if Obama had a bad day organizing, or legislating, was he fired?) could believe such things.
In short, Obama reminds me a little of myself — at 26. I had left the farm for 9 years to get a BA in classics, PhD in classical philology, and live in Athens for two years of archaeological study — all on scholarships … I had forgotten much of the culture of the farm where I spent years 1-18.
Then after the requisite degrees I left academia, and returned to farm 180 acres with my brother and cousin — and sadly was quickly disabused of the world of the faculty lounge.
Then follows the coming-of-age drama of internalizing the tragic view of human nature and a word of warning to the starry-eyed Utopianists currently at the wheel of the ship of state:
A sojourn at an elite university, you see, can sometimes become a very dangerous thing indeed.
"This is one of your finest articles to date as it deftly sums up the incredible hubris of 'The One' and illustrates that credible deterrence — not good intentions and empty blather — indeed keeps one's 'neighbors' honest and leads to a tolerable existence," writes Scott in the first of dozens and dozens (128 as of this writing) of insightful comments to VDHs post. We'll quote a couple for you to savor and then urge you — and especially President Obama & Company! — to read 'em all:
Allison Aller: From when I first started reading your blog, it was your experience in agriculture that gave you baseline credibility to me. All your classical study was very important icing on the cake (and it sure enabled you to write well!) … but it is the dealing with the world as God made it — in nature and in human nature — that brings wisdom and perspective.
Great dramatic potential. What do you say, Roger L? Maybe self-avowed "no longer brain dead liberal" playwright David Mamet would be interested.
Update: Maggie's links.