On Wednesday Victor Davis Hanson responded to Richard Rodriguez’s Monday article Mexicans in America. Here is a teaser of what his response contained:
At this point the only thing missing was the tired La Raza mythologizing about “Gringos” who “stole” Mexican land—and, then, of course it too appeared, sort of at least. But if it is to be a question of theft rather than tragedy, Mexico took the American Southwest from Spain, who lifted it from Indians, and so on back to Neanderthal times—as is the way with most of the history of our aggressive species.
Yet what is odd, from a military and historical view, about the Mexican War and its aftermath, is not that conquering armies the world over regrettably annex land, but that after invading and occupying central Mexico, the United States wanted little of it, acquired only a small sparsely populated part of its northern territory, tried to legalize the transaction, and then had a fierce national debate over the morality of it all. If he wishes to return to the 19th century, Rodriquez could do better by exploring its ironic legacy: recent polls of Mexicans revealed two contradictory sentiments: most expressed a desire to leave and emigrate to the United States, but a near majority also thought that our Southwest does—and should—belong to Mexico. An Orwellian corollary then follows: should El Norte return to Mexico, then many Mexicans would not wish to escape to El Norte?
Personally, I don’t really like the ‘U.S. stole Mexican land’ argument, I expect that sort of thing from the average Chicano Studies student because, after all, they are always trying to be the poor victim in all disputes, but not from Richard Rodriguez. He always seemed, to me atleast, to be above those childish statements. Needless to say, I was happy to see Hanson respond so forcefully to that argument.
All in all, a great back and forth. I still think that Richard Rodriguez made some really good arguments and Victor Davis Hanson responded charitably. Either way, it’s a must read discussion about a topic that often times never happens or when it does, it gets far too heated and partisan to be of any use. Victor Davis Hanson’s response can be found here.