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

Self-Loathing And Appeasement

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Thursday, August 16, 2018

In the Thirties many in England blamed their own country for the First World War. Whether for causing the war in the first place, or imposing a “Carthaginian Peace” with “punitive reparations,” considerable numbers of British politicians and intellectuals made excuses for Germany. One Labour M.P. mourned that England had not acted “wisely,” “generously,” or “justly” towards the Germans, and bore “a heavy responsibility for the tensions and menaces of the present international situation.”

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Debased Politics, Debased Language

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ever since the ancient Athenians, the debasement of language has been a sign of political corruption. Describing the horrors of civil war in Corcyra during the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides linked them to the corruption of language: “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.” Twenty-three hundred years later, George Orwell concurred: “Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” 

Analysis and Commentary

Wise Giants And Arrogant Dwarves

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
In the 12th century Bernard of Chartres first pointed out that we have more knowledge than those who came before us not because of our greater intelligence and understanding, but because we are “dwarves sitting on the shoulders of giants,” and can see farther because of the accumulated achievements of generation after generation of intellectual pioneers who preceded us.
Featured

The Best Medicine For Political Discussion

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Friday, July 27, 2018

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley recently told a high school audience that conservatives shouldn’t delight in “owning the libs” –– i.e. triggering a progressive into a hysterical response that you proceed to make fun of. Instead, we should be “persuading” progs with reasoned argument and “bringing people around to your point of view,” as Haley said.

Analysis and Commentary

We Are Behaving Like A Silly People

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Monday, July 23, 2018

The hysterical reactions to Donald Trump’s comments in Helsinki show how we are becoming what David Lean’s T.E. Lawrence called the Arabs: “a little people, a silly people.” The difference is, we are the richest, most powerful, freest people in the history of the world, yet like children we are obsessing over words rather than paying attention to meaningful deeds.

Featured

Trump’s Blunt Talk Is Just What NATO Needs

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Monday, July 16, 2018

And what our president's quarrel with the military alliance really reveals.

Analysis and Commentary

Affirmative Action On The Ropes?

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Friday, July 13, 2018

A case is currently under litigation that however it is decided, will likely reach the Supreme Court. There the diversity industry may face a challenge that brings the institutional racism of affirmative action and its baleful effects to an end.

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Speaking Freely

by Bruce Thorntonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 9, 2018

Lose free speech, and lose our political freedom too.

Analysis and Commentary

Will Our Current Political Conflicts Turn Violent?

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Friday, July 6, 2018
President Trump’s recent string of wins ––especially the victories in the Supreme Court decisions and the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy–– has incited the Democrat “resistance” to even loonier excesses of rhetoric and rudeness.
Featured

Independence Day And The Recovery Of True Freedom

by Bruce Thorntonvia Front Page Magazine
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

We are celebrating this Independence Day in the midst of a conflict over what freedom really means. Whatever the crisis du jour that dominates the news cycle, whatever the conflicting policies and clashing ideologies, look deep enough and you’ll find the ancient war between those who believe in true freedom and citizen autonomy, and those who have reduced it to just doing what one wants subject to the intrusive power of Big Government guardians.

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