Bruce Thornton
Expertise: 

Bruce Thornton

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Bruce S. Thornton, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, grew up on a cattle ranch in Fresno County, California. He received his BA in Latin from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1975, as well as his PhD in comparative literature–Greek, Latin, and English–in 1983. Thornton is currently a professor of classics and humanities at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of nine books on a variety of topics, including Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization; Searching for Joaquin: Myth, Murieta, and History in California; with Victor Davis Hanson, Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age; Decline and Fall: Europe’s Slow-Motion Suicide; and most recently The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama's America. His numerous essays and reviews on Greek culture and civilization and their influence on Western civilization, as well as on other contemporary political and educational issues, have appeared in both scholarly journals and magazines such as the New Criterion, Commentary, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Claremont Review of Books. Thornton is also a regular contributor to online magazines such as City Journal and Advancing a Free Society. He has lectured at many colleges and universities and at venues such as the Smithsonian Institute, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Army War College, and the Air Force Academy; he has also appeared on television on the History Channel and ABC’s Politically Incorrect. His next book, to be released in July 2014 by the Hoover Institution Press, is titled Democracy's Dangers and Discontents: The Tyranny of the Majority from the Greeks to Obama.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

The NeverTrump Bitter-Enders

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Thursday, March 14, 2019

As Trump enters his third year of office, some Republican NeverTrumpers have gotten control of the symptoms of Trumpophobia, and have settled for the occasional snarky asides to maintain their anti-Trump bona fides while they write about serious issues rather than Trump’s alleged crypto-fascist assault on “democratic norms.”

Analysis and Commentary

Why Do Progressives Reject Policies That Would Achieve Their Aims?

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Sesame Street) has delivered yet another statement that bespeaks the progressives’ chronic myopia. This time she’s pondering the dilemma about whether or not it’s “still okay to have children,” given the apocalyptic future being created by climate change. The point has nothing to do with demography, as birth-rates in the U.S. are already starting to decline.

Analysis and Commentary

The Democrats’ Dangerous Gong Show

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The dire risks of absurdity in politics.

Analysis and Commentary

The Moral Idiocy Of Our Times

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

One of the foundational myths of modernity holds that the progress of scientific knowledge and technology has been accompanied by moral progress. As wealth and knowledge increase, the old impediments to moral improvement such as poverty, religious superstition, and ignorance are being swept away, resulting in a kinder, gentler, and more pacific human nature.

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Analysis and Commentary

The Republicans’ Preemptive Cringe

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Recently two events occurred that illustrate the Republican bad habit of ceding to progressives a whole set of questionable assumptions. Whether out of sincere but misguided belief or fear of political cost, this anxious and cringing validation of progressive ideas and the double-standards that follow empowers the Democrats and weakens the GOP.

Analysis and Commentary

Bad Ideas Are Born In Bad Universities

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Monday, January 28, 2019

In 1726 Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels gave us a brilliant satire of the folly of research divorced from common sense, practicality, and reality. When Gulliver visits the Grand Academy of Lagado, he finds “Projectors” busy with research projects like extracting sunbeams from cucumbers, building houses from the roof down, and converting excrement back to food.

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A Case for Ridicule

by Bruce Thorntonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2019

Reason is wasted on the unreasonable.

Analysis and Commentary

Money Doesn’t Stink

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In his biographies of the Roman emperors, Suetonius describes a conversation between Vespasian and his son Titus, who disapproved of his father taxing the urine that tanners and other industries collected from public restrooms: “When Titus found fault with him for contriving a tax upon public conveniences, [Vespasian] held a piece of money from the first payment to his son’s nose, asking whether its odor was offensive to him. When Titus said ‘No,’ he replied, ‘Yet it comes from urine.’”

Analysis and Commentary

The Anatomy Of Trumpophobia

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Mitt Romney launched a gratuitous attack on Donald Trump. Like his earlier criticisms, there’s not much of substance in this latest complaint, just recycled bromides typical of NeverTrumpRepublicans’ (NTR) obsession with style, optics, and “character.” As such, however, Romney’s screed is useful for analyzing the disgruntled elitism that explains not just Trumpophobia, but also the reasons for establishment Republicans’ alienation of millions of voters whose natural political home should be the Republican Party.

Analysis and Commentary

Syria And Our Foreign Policy Muddle

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Thursday, January 3, 2019

Donald Trump’s decision to pull ground troops out of Syria, followed hard by Defense Secretary Mattis’ resignation effective January 1, has sparked the usual complaints about the unpredictable, shoot-from-the-hip president. And as usual, the most important issue underlying the debate over his decision is ignored––our failure to settle on a coherent, long-term foreign policy strategy.

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