The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


I Promessi Sposi, Part II: Alessandro Manzoni

Manzoni This, then, is a bit of the world in which Manzoni lived and played a prominent part.  He was born  in Milan.  His father Pietro Manzoni came from a decayed feudal family and had  had married Giulia, the daughter of the liberal legal reformer Cesare Beccaria, whose tissue of cliches on punishment continue to undermine law and order throughout the developed world. .  Her father’s daughter, Giulia ran away from Pietro with her lover in 1792 and went to live in Paris among a circle of liberal and enlightened intellectuals.  Manzoni’s early life was lived in Lombardia–in Lecco (not...


Wednesday’s Child: Jury Box Blues (FREE TO THE UNIVERSE)

I feel I ought to persist in last week’s line of argument, because judging by one or two readers’ responses I did not make my point very clearly.  Clarity in general, as even my most ardent well wishers may have observed by now, is not my strong suit.  There are reasons for this, quite apart from innate indolence and acquired dependence on French brandy. Russia, it may be remembered, never developed a school of formal philosophy, nor did it ever boast a system of jurisprudence even remotely rivaling the continental European, to say nothing of the Anglo-Saxon.  Our insight in...


Net Neutrality Isn’t (FREE TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS)

Donald Trump isn’t the only one who can come up with catchy phrases. The Silicon Valley Sultans long have been brilliant marketers, beginning with the late Steve Jobs, who radiated what was called a “reality distortion field.” That’s how they came up with Net “Neutrality,” even though what they want is not “neutrality” on the Internet, but freeloading control by them. There really aren’t any Good Guys here as both sides involve the biggest corporations in the country, all involved one way or another in attacking our freedoms and basic decency. But here’s what’s going on. In the past three...


The Pope’s Temptation

Is anyone old enough to remember when it was not quite respectable to be in the news?   Of course, the doings of the great and the wise would have to be recorded—the birth of an heir, the discovery of a planet—but, otherwise, it  was better not to be noticed by the newspapers, which have always been properly regarded as scandal sheets.  And, of all classes of men who had to avoid notoriety, the clergy were at the top, and of all the Christian clergy, the Pope was chief among those who were wise enough to stay out of the...


Perhaps the Greatest Novel Ever Published: I promessi sposi

The French Revolution was a source of great evil. It not only spawned the leftist revolutionary movements that dominated the past two centuries but it also gave birth to the reactionary and rightwing movements that responded to the Revolution.  Most of these responses were imperfect, corrupted either by revolutionary ideas or suffering from the temptation to run blindly in the opposite direction.  If reason misapplied is dangerous, irrationality is equally dangerous; if globalism is a menace, so is blind nationalism; if atheism and anti-Christian  bigotry have deformed the character and values of modern men and women, Catholic obscurantism and fanaticism...


Wednesday’s Child: Fire in the Reichstag

A black pimp in a red velour hat by the name of Ben Okri – black is a statement of fact, pimp is an expression of opinion, conjunction of the two is my constitutional right, and the red velour hat, I admit, is only there for literary verisimilitude – has written a poem for a new art museum called the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opens next week.  “A great story unites us all,” writes Okri, actually a British writer born in Nigeria who has won many literary prizes for his absurd twaddle, “beyond colour and creed and gender. / The...


Umbria: The Best Revenge, Episode 13


In this episode of The Best Revenge, Thomas and Garret Fleming, joined by Rex Scott, eat their way through Umbria. Original Air Date: December 4, 2017 Show Run Time: 39 minutes Show Guest(s): Garret Fleming Show Host(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming, Rex Scott The Best Revenge is available for Gold subscribers and higher.   The Best Revenge℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved and any duplication without explicit written permission is forbidden.


The Law’s A Ass: Part 3 of Chapter 2 of Properties of Blood (OTH–Free to All Subscribers)

A very brief passage on “permanency” as an essential quality of marriage, followed by a longer passage that begins the discussion of the Christian Marriage Revolution Permanency Almost as familiar is our Lord’s clarification of what Adam’s declaration means: “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  Moses, he explained to his Jewish audience, had permitted divorce “because of the hardness of your hearts, but from the beginning it was not so.”  Divorce, in other words, had not been permitted to Adam and Even and their descendants.  It...


Progress: Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 8


In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Dr. Fleming continues on the theme of “Progress” recently discussed in 2 episodes of Christianity and Classical Culture. Dr. Fleming makes the case that, contrary to popular belief, technological and medical progress have NOT been unqualified benefits to the human race. Original Air Date: December 2, 2017 Show Run Time: 49 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Silver subscribers and higher.   Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All Rights are...


Niki Haley–Trump’s Worst Mistake

Niki Haley is a disaster as foreign policy mouthpiece.  One might use of her what Mencken unfairly said of Bryan:  “a zany without sense or dignity.”  Of course she is a good deal more virile than South Carolina’s distinguished Senator Lindsay Graham, but that can be said of Chelsea Manning.  Butching it up for the press in difficult matters of war and peace is exactly what the United States does not need, and her recent ridiculous tirade gave the Russians one more opportunity to ridicule the cynicism–and amateurism–of the US foreign policy establishment. Serious nations do not act like North...