Clearing the Air….

The End-of-the Worlders are going from handwringing over a possibly stolen election--please don't tell me you know it is stolen in fact because you don't know anything of the kind--to declaring the death of the American republic. It's the worst sort of ditto-head approach to politics. It begins by saying, "Say, this is about the best damn country that has ever existed" and go on in the vein of Babbit's speech to the Zenith Booster Club.

When someone tries to talk sense on this subject, they are blasted as quietists who advocate doing nothing in the face of evil, foolish optimists who think all political activity is futile, including political activity on behalf of a just cause.

That is not the case at all. Citizens even in a phony republic like ours have a duty to do what they can, each in his own sphere, to preserve what is best in our system and to advocate the right.
Unfortunately, people with little understanding of politics or history are forever imagining they have access to a fund of knowledge or wisdom or power that they shall never attain. I've never run for office. I've never run for office since I repudiated the people who nominated me to run for Junior Class Treasurer in high school, but I have advised candidates at all levels of government and done what I could as a writer to clarify the issues that have been at stake.
If one election, stolen or not, can destroy a republic, then that republic must have been destroyed--as it certainly was--generations earlier.
It seems to me that one of the gravest struggles of the Church has been to avoid identifying the Kingdom of Heaven or righteousness itself, with a particular form of government or ideology, whether the nation-states that began to emerge in the Renaissance, feudal monarchy, or the Church's rule over the Estates of the Church aka the Patrimony of Saint Peter. Leftists, even anti-Christian leftists, appropriate Christian language and ideas in order to give a kind of divine status to their Jacobin and globalist agenda, but the Liberal Capitalists do exactly the same thing.
There is nothing sacred about the American style of liberal democracy or republicanism, a system that puts basic moral principles up to a vote among the swine we were told not to cast pearls before. If conservatives want to take politics seriously, it is time they took a good luck at their own political principles which are in most cases far closer to those of Robespierre and his disciple Lincoln than they are to the fathers of the Church or the fathers of the American republic.
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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

7 Responses

  1. Allen Wilson says:

    I can’t help but remain attached to the old American republicanism though I long for a return to feudal monarchy. That’s why I admire the Holy Roman Empire, as you could get both in one big messy package. You can never go home.

  2. theAlabamian says:

    Dr. Fleming,
    Awesome article ! and Amen ! Learning from you actually motivates me to do more in the family and on the local level, where I might actually make a difference. Your mentioning of the home in your lecture “Fiddling While Rome Burns” , and the focus on the home, what the home is supposed to be, have been in my thoughts since I was glad to say present to hear your lecture. Your attitude and understanding of where we are on the federal elections, and why you did not really expect much different out of the current politicians is helpful as well. I mention these things because in this article you wrote of the “conservatives” needing to take a good look at their own principles, their own progressive and immoral principles. I would think we have to instill these things first at the local level, and in the home, to produce the spirit of an independent (able to rule themselves/less federal involvement) and moral people again, and no federal election will fix that.
    Thank you ! Dr. Fleming.

  3. Vince Cornell says:

    I think we can, in good conscience, say it was “probably” stolen? I will say, my interest in news headlines has waned with each passing day. I know there are some conservatives out there keeping up the hope with Sidney Powell and Lin Wood and such just about to pull the rabbit out of the hat, but I’m not sure how anyone thinks any of it will make any kind of difference. It’s obvious the courts, including the Supreme one, will absolutely do nothing to help Trump. It’s likewise obvious that the various State Legislatures will not do a thing to help Trump. It’s also obvious that the Congressional Republicans won’t do a thing to actually help Trump. So, as Confucius would say, “If you have incontrovertible evidence of a stolen election, but nobody will do anything about it, does it actually matter?”

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Vince Cornell has the good sense not to be alarmed by the roundup or the usual suspects or the revelation that there is gambling going on at Rick’s. But like most people today, he cannot quite break free from the sense of being cheated. It doesn’t matter a bit, alas. If the republic was going to be saved, northerners would have streamed South to defend the Confederacy in 1861, or at least Americans would have lynched Wilson for dragging us into WW I and FDR for imposing national socialist policies whose least harmful effects were to prolong the depression. On balance, I might have preferred Bugs Moran, but when Capone’s boys wiped out the North Side Mob, it really did not matter much to the average Chicagoan buying a beer.

  5. Dot says:

    I can’t go all the way and say the election was possibly stolen. I think the country has changed and the divisions between a liberal thought and more conservative thought has taken hold – even though many have stated that Republicanism is not much different than liberal left. There has to be a division of sorts or else everything is the same – and it isn’t.
    I sometimes think the country should reinstitute the draft. That is one thing that can instill discipline in the younger generation. These demonstrations indicated a lack of discipline and demand for a radical liberal ideal. I have to wonder how many of these people were brought up in day care, were brought up in a one parent household or lived with mother for a period of time and then the father at other times. How many are getting any kind of religions education.
    Something went wrong with this election and the answers may never be conclusive. We don’t know for sure if there were some kind of shenanigans going on.

  6. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Actually, we do have enough partial evidence from some reliable witnesses as well as some puzzling numbers from Wisconsin, enough to say that almost certainly some tricks were being pulled, as they often (always?) are. What we do not have is proof that Democratic cheating changed the results. This aspect of the question is, however, a trivializing distraction for the more important questions. The crooked election of JA Adams did not destroy the republic, nor did the election of Hayes and Kennedy prove our undoing.

  7. Vince Cornell says:

    I plead guilty as charge, but only to a minor offense. Can I help it if the natural barbarian in me desires to see bad guys suffer and lose? I just want to crush my enemies before me and hear the lamentation of the people who self-identify as women. Is that so wrong? It’s not even as if we’re dealing with Robert Redford and Paul Newman pulling off a beautifully orchestrated heist – it’s more like the Bowery Boys rigged the election and there’s little style and zero competence.
    However, I haven’t lost a single wink of sleep over any of it. I’m personally much more flummoxed by the “all in” attitude of folks in my community with regard to COVID-19 restrictions. Here in my little mostly rural county, which still only has 9 “COVID related deaths” and less than a thousand cumulative cases, just about everyone is happy to “mask up” and “get tested” and “wait for the vaccine.” I just want to live my life as a normal human being, but the masks introduce unnecessary drama into just about every aspect of life. I suppose I should humble myself and just wear the stupid and completely ineffectual symbol of submission gladly, but even Jefferson Davis fought off the manacles when he knew the effort was hopeless. I guess I was just born 150 years too late. It’s not winning or losing that matter so much to me as the opportunity to at least try and fight. I have no illusions about there being any such opportunity out there now, despite what my inner barbarian keeps trying to tell me.