The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Wednesday’s Child: Rotten to the Core

A good case can be made for the futility of all arguments, starting with the domestic kind and ascending to the theological, but if one finds oneself debating the color of the sunset – which one’s opponent sees as mauve while it’s obviously purple – I suppose that’s life and no harm done.  It’s different when the subject is politics, something I haven’t argued about since university.  To be sure, I’ve made my views known in writing and in conversation, but a proper argument depends less on exposition than on rebuttals, which are used to corner the opponent and, if...

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The Road to Damascus II: Before the Schism, Part A

The Road to Damascus The Intelligent Christian’s Guide to the Schism Pt. 2: Roman Christianity before the East-West Schism Let us not deceive ourselves.  There was never an era of Christian history completely innocent of schism.  Indeed, the believer should not be scandalized to see dissension and quarreling in the very pages of his New Testament—among the disciples of Jesus contending with each other for the seat at His right hand in the Coming Age (cf. Matt. 20:20-28 and Lk. 22:24-27); between Paul, felled by the voice of Christ on the road to Damascus, and Peter, to whom Christ entrusted...

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from London

“I’ll have an espresso. No garlic, please.” What, does the gentle reader think that this is a foolish thing to add?  That it’s absurd and unnecessary?  Not in London it isn’t, because here anything’s possible.  I mean, the people here have invented something called a “double espresso,” which has no greater right to existence than a double car, a double umbrella or a double wife.  In Italy, if you want another coffee, you may ask for it, but the whole existential machinery of the thing is set up in such a way that a “double espresso” is patently a nonsense...

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Visit Sicily in January

  Dear Friends, Fellow Travelers, Subscribers, Casual Browsers: Mark your calendars for the second week in January 2019.  The Fleming Foundation is finalizing plans for our second voyage of exploration.  This time we are going to Sicily. Many of you are aware that since 2000, I have been taking small groups to Europe.  Although we have done programs in Scotland, France, and Serbia-Montenegro, we have concentrated mainly on the two homes of our civilization, Greece and Italy.  In 2019, we shall probably be going to the South of France, but I wanted to make what I hope will not be...

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About that New York Times Fake Op-Ed

By now you might know who supposedly wrote the fake op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”  Subhead: “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” My guess it’s a couple of mid-level, semi-literate staffers. I’ve written a couple thousand op-eds, and edited many thousands more, and it just doesn’t read right. Consider the first sentence: “President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.” Worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis? Or Reagan facing...

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Tech Left Monolith: Brittle and Breaking

I look differently on the Tech Left’s “deplatforming” of Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes and others. It’s not a show of strength, but a symptom of weakness.  The whole point of the Internet is it’s dispersed. It’s not true it was created to survive a nuclear war, although it was created by the Defense Department in the late 1960s as a dispersed system, “The idea being that defence projects being carried out at universities and research labs could communicate with each other, without worrying about the unreliable network links of the late 1960s.” Those earlier links depended on central areas that...

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Livorno

 The more I travel in Italy, the more often I think that my original choice of cloister – Palermo – may have been the outcome of a rushed decision, like getting married to the girl next door with whose father you liked going fishing.  The Sicilian capital has nearly a million inhabitants, and the fact is that cities all over the world do not get better when they get bigger. Admittedly, Italian social organization provides an antidote to urban sprawl which is not found elsewhere, in that within every city, even one as large as Rome, there are dozens, sometimes...