Monthly Archive: May 2016

4

Properties of Blood I:8, Spouses and Heirs Part D

In Celtic and Anglo-Saxon England, inheritance rules were fairly loose, and fathers could and did divide their property among their children.  The Norman Conquest changed the situation and first sons came to be privileged, not because the invading Normans had a long tradition of primogeniture: In much of Normandy, they did not.  It was largely the circumstances of the Conquest itself and William’s policy that caused the feudal revolution in England.  (On the continent, at almost the same time, longstanding feudal traditions were being stiffened and organized by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.)  To oversimplify a complicated legal evolution, the Normans in...

7

Triumph of Democracy, the Movie

It is a warm morning, that July 4, 1826, in Charlottesville.   As the opening credits roll, we hear the soft strains of “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” which are transformed, as the camera closes in on the face of the sleeping statesman, to “Hail to the Chief” in a minor key.  Thomas Jefferson is feverish: The ex-President had a bad night, tormented by frightening visions of the future, and he wants to share the revelations with his old friend and nemesis, John Adams.  There are no telephone or telegraph lines, but the clever Jefferson had recently invented the...

9

Wednesday’s Child: Invitation to a Beheading

Readers may recall how, in a post at the beginning of March, I unveiled before them a portrait of absolute evil in the shape of a voluble blonde.  My model for the portrait was Russian, which is hardly surprising, as ours is the land of the Great Purge and, years before that, of atrocities against humankind that make present-day savagery in Syria and Iraq seem like postprandial deliberations in the House of Lords.  Beheading is execution; stuffing mouths with shards of broken glass, as the Bolsheviks liked doing in the Crimea in 1919, is gratuitous cruelty; and between the two...

0

From Under the Rubble, Episode 5: Libertarianism

By

In today’s episode of From Under the Rubble Dr. Fleming takes a hard look at Libertarianism – its theories, its adherents, and its positive – and negative aspects. Is there such a thing as a Christian Libertarian? What were the lessons learned from the Buchanan insurgency? What is the future of libertarian/conservative working groups? Host Stephen Heiner also questions Dr. Fleming about the characters in and around the Libertarian movement over the last half century, like Murray Rothbard, Hans Hermann Hoppe, Lew Rockwell, and the like. Original Air Date: May 25, 2016 Show Run Time: 55 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr....

6

A Chump for Trump: What’s Really Behind #NeverTrump

I predicted that Donald Trump was going to win the GOP nomination before the Iowa caucus. I even predicted that he might run the table. While he didn’t run the table as I overly enthusiastically suggested at one point, he came closer to running the table than he did to imploding as all the smarts were predicting. The reason I was confident Trump was going to win the nomination was because he had been leading in the primary polls since shortly after he announced, and that support, while it trended up and down somewhat, was relatively stable and seemingly impervious...

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Properties of Blood I.8: Spouses and Heirs, Part C

Roman Succession Strategies Athenians were by no means an unusual people in viewing kinship through the lens of inheritance.  The Romans were, if anything, even more narrowly focussed on what one scholar has termed “succession strategies.”  In the case of Athens, we were dealing with a fairly limited period of time and with evidence from primarily the late 5th and early 4th centuries.  In the case of Rome, historians are more fortunate: Romans displayed, throughout a millennium  of documented history, an inexhaustible interest in property and inheritance.  The fact that we have so much evidence makes it a bit risky...

7

Wednesday’s Child: What is to be Done

  We are in full bloom of summer here, with the vendor on the corner of our street and the Vucciria market detonating bunches of flowers on the sidewalk like fireworks over the Thames.  The first peaches are out, too.  The spring’s pent up heat explodes so violently in Sicily, as if to bust the dams of summertime in an act of solar sabotage, that it creates an anomaly, whereby the first fruit and vegetables of every season taste best – unlike the more northern parts of Italy, to say nothing of the rest of Europe, where their flavor comes...

4

Arm the Kurds? Are They Kidding?

On Thursday May 19, I’ll be giving a lecture at the Irish Rose.  In putting the finishing touches on the talk, I decided to see if there had been any major candidates in the presidential race who had not succumbed to the insanity of wanting to arm the Kurds.  “Not one, no no, not one!”  Here is a little extract of the talk. In the nearly 1400 years since Mohammed began persecuting and massacring Jews and Christians, this pattern of Muslim behavior has not changed. Flash forward to end of 19th century, as Ottoman Turks were being driven out of the...

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Properties of Blood I:8, Kith and Kin, II: Spouses and Heirs, B

Inheritance Complex and far-reaching rules on marriage and inheritance presuppose the recognition of kinship beyond the level of the immediate family.   How far beyond can vary greatly, and the breadth or narrowness of kin-recognition is a defining element in any social system.  Some suburban Californians can barely stay in contact with their siblings, while in some parts of the American South, much time is still spent calculating possible kinship with new acquaintances.  Pitt-Rivers noted that in Andalusia, “People are seldom able to give a comprehensive account of their families beyond first cousins,” and first-cousinhood was largely a matter of sentiment.  Even first...

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Aristotle’s Politics, Book II, i-iii

In the second book of the Politics, Aristotle takes up, classifies, and analyzes the variety of political systems, both real and theoretical.  His initial point of departure is sharing or having in common (koinonein):  Do the citizens of a commonwealth have all things, some things, or no things in common?  Both extremes are absurd, both Plato’s communism and some imaginary form of libertarianism.  He decries the notion of a completely unified state in terms that inevitably point the way to something like the national family that liberal Democrats in America were talking about not long ago, or Mrs. Clinton’s village...