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
Being a natural germaphobe, and renowned for it at work, I knew all along that the usual precautions which have I taken for years were all I could do to prevent contaminating myself and others. Therefore I did not have to alter my behaviour through this ordeal. However, face masks, “social distancing”, over use and hoarding of germicides and cleaners seemed silly and useless to me. I found these behaviours sometimes annoying, sometimes downright rude and insulting, sometimes hilarious, as I’m sure we all did. It was disheartening to see otherwise intelligent and sensible people fall for it all and begin to talk like the usual single-issue obsessed nuts one may encounter in normally abnormal times.
Concerning the co-option of Christianity, this is a stark contrast to the way in which, over time, the Graeco-Roman world and the classical tradition absorbed Christianity and were absorbed by it, creating something which was, at the same time, new, but also a continuity, something genuine and good, and not at all a break with the past. The modern world could never do this.
The most interesting response to the hysteria was among the extreme far right, who at first bought into it all, and thought that the effects of the “epidemic” would help advance their agenda by cutting the rug out from under the globalist establishment, but then turned around and began to doubt that there was really a “pandemic” after all, and began to take the opposite, anti-establishment tack. At least they showed some sense in the end, even if it took them a while to get there.
These podcasts keep getting better and better and in my opinion were good from the beginning. Rex is priceless, creative and humble to the point of real humor ( the opening hymn (I mean song)of modernity was vintage Rex ) while Tom is Dr Johnson in full dress. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Thank you Mr. Reavis. You are too kind.
The podcast is on point.
Hi Tom, the podcast has many reasonable points, to think about…
I liked your closing comment with a quote from Shakespeare and
wish you would repeat it; please write it down for me. Incidentally,
this corona virus does NOT cause diarrhea in most cases, so why
all the rush and purchase of toilet paper? 😉 Regardless of wierd
behavior the CORONA VIRUS is a killer, and I will do whatever seems necessary not to get it. A friend of ours has it and an otherwise healthy 50 year old man is still very weak and sick for
6 weeks… This PLAGUE is going to be around until we get a vaccine,
so be careful! Take care.
It’s been interesting watching the Tech Companies seize this moment, too. Numerous videos and pictures have been posted on YouTube and on Twitter . . .etc. of people who work in hospitals showing how the hospital is practically empty and the staff is sitting around bored. Even in some New York hospitals. However, since this doesn’t jive with the panic narrative, those videos and tweets are very aggressively removed and blocked. Meanwhile Tim Cook and the Google guy are chumming up with Trump, despite their strong political leanings, so that they’re first in line when it comes to “digital tracking” solutions. On the other side is Kermit the Frog’s sleazy older brother, Bill Gates, warbling on and on about vaccines, something in which he laughingly refers to as a great financial investment with fantastic returns, and despite previous W.H.O. directors decrying his risky and unaccountable pushing of unsafe and untested vaccines on third world countries, I’m willing to bet the current W.H.O. will gladly endorse his Corona Vaccine (as will Dr. Fauci, who has strong ties with Gates and keeps poo-pooing the cheap and generic Hydroxychloroquine). Some states have already said they’ll be on lockdown until there is a vaccine ready, and I’m sure there will be a “vaccinate or your fired” order if at all possible. But it all happens because people let it happen. It’s like Lord Sumption said in a recent interview; the government rarely takes freedom from the people in overt acts of tyranny because the people usually hand their freedoms over to the government willingly and peaceably and even gladly.
Thanks for mentioning Crisis And Leviathan by Robert Higgs, one of the better sort of libertarians. This a good solid historical source on the government ratchet effect, i.e., government expands in a crisis and never returns to pre-crisis level when it’s over. A fundamental text. I read it years before Rahm Emmanuel uttered his famous line about never wanting a good crisis go to waste. When I heard that, I thought he was (as they say in the South) jacking with us, bating the people who’d read that book. Turns out, that’s exactly the way these people think. The difference these days is that Emmanuel and his ilk can come right out and tell us what they’re going to do to us. In an earlier age, he would have been discreet about who he said that to.
Ms Brickman, I agree with you on the absurdity of all the toilet paper purchases, but it seems to be a hot button item in times of “crisis.” Here in Atlanta, we get an ice storm every two to three years, that paralyzes the city for a day or two. At the onset of these storms, the supermarkets are filled with frantic shoppers stocking up on TP, bread, and milk, for some reason, enough for weeks. Talk about anticipating a world-historical event.