Citizenship in Crisis: Re-Empowering the American Citizen with Eric Liu and Victor Davis Hanson
September 7, 2023
Power is central to the concept of citizenship, yet Americans feel increasingly powerless in the face of a dysfunctional political system, diminishing economic opportunities, and countless cultural and social challenges. The belief that the civic power of everyday Americans has been stolen or suppressed by political and economic elites has gained traction on both sides of the aisle. The Hauenstein Center welcomed civic evangelist and Citizen University CEO Eric Liu [virtual] and acclaimed historian and author Dr. Victor Davis Hanson for a bipartisan discussion about the barriers to empowered citizenship and what we must do to overcome them.
Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, which works to build a culture of powerful and responsible citizenship in the United States. He is also the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program. Liu is the author of numerous acclaimed books, including most recently You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen and Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy — a New York Times New & Notable Book. He is featured in the PBS documentary American Creed and is a contributing writer at The Atlantic.
Liu served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and as the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. He was later appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. In 2020, Liu was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he serves on its Trust and is co-chair of its Our Common Purpose commission on democratic citizenship. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, and a member of the Yale University Council. Liu and his family live in Seattle, where he has served on the boards of the Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Board of Education, and co-founded the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. His work as a civic innovator was recognized in 2020 with an Ashoka Fellowship.
Victor Davis Hanson
Dr. Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and chairs the Military History Working Group. He is an American scholar of ancient and modern warfare and has been a commentator on contemporary politics for various media outlets. He is a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno, and the annual Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Visiting Fellow in History at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and was a recipient of the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. The author of numerous books, his most recent are The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won (2017), The Case for Trump (2019), and The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America (2021).