Politics of Human Nature 30 Years Later, Part II


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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

4 Responses

  1. Allen Wilson says:

    Sherlock Holmes could not have said it better.

    Elon Musk and others like him seem to be trying to implement the mad dreams of Tim Leary and R.A. Wilson in some way.

    Has there ever been a study of what happened in Japan after we forced open their markets in the late 19th century, and the Brits taught them how to be a modern military power so as to be a counter to the Russians in east Asia, and they were forced to deal with modernization while preserving their ancient customs? As an afterthought to that, weren’t the changes we forced on them post-1945 simply destructive and evil?

    I could imagine some ancient Greeks or Romans being put on something like modern welfare, and many or most of them might do something to improve themselves because they would have the cultural background that would would encourage them to take advantage of such an opportunity in a positive way, at least until dependency corrupts them from one generation to the next, but moderns? We know better than to ask.

  2. James D. says:

    That is an interesting question about Japan. I have often wondered that myself. On one hand, they are still the most civilized culture on earth and continue to preserve many of their manners and traditions while refusing to degrade their nation with third-world immigrants. But, on the other hand, they no longer form families and have children, and, appear to be hopelessly addicted to porn, gadgets and Western time-wasting technology. On the whole, they are still probably better off than we are.

  3. Dot says:

    Do kin count so much that a sibling has no rights? He is my twin brother and only sibling. The past couple of days the wife of one kin did not answer her I-phone. She has power of attorney. The other kin lives across the country. I was taught to respect others but perhaps I’m wrong in this case. Perhaps I’m not supposed to know anything. I live 900 miles away.

  4. Thomas Fleming says:

    Dot, thanks for the comment. Family relations can often be difficult, as I think everyone knows. I am doing the final editing on the last two chapters of the first part of Properties of Blood, to which I am giving the title, “The Reign of Love.” The last two chapters take up the significance of kinship. We are kin, in common parlance, to those we are related by blood or marriage. This would thus include my brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents as well as cousins, uncles, aunts however many times removed. Anthropologists distinguish between people who live in or grew up in the same household from more distant kin, but that is a distortion of language. The general point I was making in the podcast was simply that once upon a time–not so long ago–kinfolks had rights and duties that have been absorbed by government.

    James D. I’ve never been to Japan or known many Japanese. From anything I can gather from reading, they are suffering even more than we are from the strain of modernization and Americanization. We got to where we are by a gradual process of evolution, while they have undergone two violent upheavals, the first being the “restoration” that dragged them into European, more specifically German culture, and the second being the modernization since World War II. If any of what we read is true, they are bizarre beyond belief in what they are tolerating: men in their 20’s living at home and never emerging from their rooms because they cannot face other people, businessmen who stop, on their way to work, at a vending machine and purchase a pre-teen girl’s underwear, guaranteed to have been worn at least once, and go on drinking binges at the end of which they climb into a pod that is slid into a wall. We have people like Anthony Wiener, but he is ridiculed and more or less ruined for less bizarre actions.