Monthly Archive: March 2017


Wednesday’s Child: The Old and the Reckless

Last week I mentioned Lampedusa.  Scion of a princely family who wrote his only book aged 58 and did not live to see it published or declared a masterwork of world literature, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa would have inherited his ancestral palazzo in Palermo – about a hundred yards from my house – had it not been for an Allied bomb that leveled it.  Later he moved to another splendid palazzo nearby, because, as the Serbs say, “caviar is eaten not by those who can afford it, but by those who are used to it,” a wise adage that I...


Can Trump Repeal and Replace Obamacare? (FREE)

Obamacare is giving us the worst of both systems: The expense of capitalism and the deadly incompetence of socialism. President Trump’s attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare – made during the election at every rally before voters – has descended into Cheyne-Stokes. Here’s a reality check. We’ll now see how good President Trump’s deal-making prowess really is. He’s attempting something Republicans never have been able to do: repeal, or at least sharply scale back, an entitlement, in this case Obamacare. The general history of Republicans long was to be the “adult in the room,” paying...


Samuel Johnson, Our Greatest Moralist, Part C

To understand what Johnson was doing in his moral essays, we have to know something of the revolution he was opposing: the philosophies of abstraction that were taking hold in his lifetime.  Since the 18th century at least, we have been asked to identify ourselves and our duty with all of humanity and its needs, and to take a dim view of any lesser loyalties to kith and kin, religion and country.  Although these ideas of universal charity and duty are usually identified with Christianity, they derive not from the Bible directly or from Christian theology, but from the attempts...


Samuel Johnson, Our Greatest Moralist,Part B

In recent times, Samuel Johnson is remembered primarily for his quips, retorts, and for Boswell’s portrayal of his ferocious character.  Johnson’s prose style and flashes of brilliance are enough to win over most readers who take any pleasure in English literature.  My own particular interest, however, is in this moral philosophy, which can be traced in essays that appeared in The Rambler, The Idler, his review of Soame Jennyings, and in his one novel, Rasselas.  To anticipate my general conclusion, I should say at the beginning that, although he developed his ethical thought in occasional essays and fiction,  he was...


Samuel Johnson, Our Greatest Moralist, Part A

The modern tradition of thought–whether expressed in verse or history or philosophy–has been essentially liberal and anti-Christian.  So much so that we take it for granted and are grateful when we can find some particle of decency and sense in writers like Hemingway or John Updike.  Anti-Christian liberalism was not always so dominant.  England and France were largely Christian nations down to early 18th century, and the Enlightenment only reached its position of supremacy, in the years leading up to the French Revolution, in the works of Diderot, Rousseau, and above all Voltaire.  But it is not difficult to find...


Wednesday’s Child: A Magic Mountain

Our precious Mount Etna, which happens to be the tallest volcano in Europe, has been exploding, with streams of molten lava descending into the Valle del Bove from elevations of some three kilometers at the crater’s rim.  A BBC team of reporters nearly didn’t make it down, which showed them that nature could be as violent as the teenage drug lords and tattooed single mothers they had been used to interviewing in their line of duty. ‘“a Muntagna,” the locals call it in dialect – the Mountain with a capital M – as attested by a man named Gaetano Perricone,...


Season 1, From Under the Rubble, Episode 10: I Hate the Constitution


In this episode of From Under the Rubble, Dr. Fleming examines the idea of “Hating the Constitution” via the well-known song, “I’m a good ol’ Rebel.” What does it mean to love and worship and protect the Constitution? Is this something that traditionalists and conservatives should be engaged in? Original Air Date: March 22, 2017 Show Run Time: 37 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner   From Under the Rubble℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All Rights are Reserved.


The Shaming of Shame, Conclusion

I can already hear the catcalls from the feminist bleachers: Propriety, indeed! Propriety would have us back in menstrual huts for a week out of every month. Propriety is just a polite taboo. I am woman! I bleed. Get used to it…. So the chant resounds. But propriety is more than “keeping up appearances.” It is, as Edmund Burke once said, “the soft collar of social esteem” – a necessary act of repression that makes civilized life possible; it is the expression – often hypocritical, no doubt – of a moral and aesthetic order which we discard at our peril....


Down With “the Arts”!

Art is a noble human attempt to make beauty and sense out of human experience.  “The Arts” are an ignoble scam by which no-talent bums force the taxpayers to subsidize their indolence.  I received an email today from a friend who has done good work in one of the more popular arts.  He is an enthusiastic Trump supporter, but he was calling upon his friends to “do what we can to reverse this ill advised decision before it is too late.” My distinguished friend’s argument is that the Trump administration will be “throwing away an opportunity to move the culture and...


The Modern Constitution–Blueprint for Revolution

I hates the Constitution, This Great Republic too “That’s unconstitutional!”  Hardly a day goes by that we do not hear some proposal of the Trump administration denounced as a violation of the Constitution.  It is beginning to appear that NPR and other organs of the revolutionary left cannot invoke Trump’s name without throwing in “unconstitutional,” something in the way that “swift-footed” always precedes Achilles. A good example of this rhetorical tactic is the headline Unamericans for Disunity (or is it Americans United ?) put on their latest propaganda screed: “AU Continues The Legal Fight Against President Trump’s Unconstitutional Muslim Ban.”  Counting...