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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

14 Responses

  1. Allen Wilson says:

    I agree entirely. The “system” will likely be ignored out of existence.

    I have heard that he last king of Babylon lost his kingdom to the Persians because he had waged war against the religion of his people and so they simply would not fight for him. Then there is the case of the Baltic states, where dictates from Moscow were simply ignored or even nullified by the provincial governments for the last several years before the Soviet Union collapsed.

    We already have Texas and Florida for all intents and purposes nullifying some mandates over Covid, and like the USSR, the Federal government is bankrupt and in massive debt. The writing on the wall is there. The Federal union may well simply fade away.

    I wonder haw many people in Italy paid that much attention to the overthrow of Romulus Agustulus? The empire disappeared just the same.

  2. Allen Wilson says:

    For our “system” the end may well come when enough people finally say, “we will no longer use your money” This is almost guaranteed by inflation.

  3. Michael Strenk says:

    I could not possibly improve on the conclusions reached in this discussion. Dr. Fleming’s prediction that many will simply refuse to engage and cooperate with the system has already slowly been building for years and will continue to grow. Many of us have already been tossed aside, but refuse to dignify their disregard with suicidal despair. There are a great many legal and peaceful ways in which we can all refuse their systems, thereby starving them, without malice or violent action and, in the process, build the basis for a better future society in the aftermath of the inevitable collapse.

  4. theAlabamian says:

    I loved this podcast, so much more thorough an examination than the title would imply on our “American” society, discussion of the Republicans who focus on the economy to win, and are really willful participants in cultural genocide. The imperialism that sucks up our tax dollars and feeds off of our blood of Americans unnecessarily, while making corporations/contractors even wealthier has used patriotic working-class people to achieve its goals, but after years of the government doing so, we have to admit some willful blindness on the part of the people doing the mercenary work as they are often in it just as much for the money and lifestyle. They are huge government dependents. In opposition to my support for seccession (although that’s only part of the battle if possible), as one man told me on a facebook group page he could not support seccession because he wants his federal pension. These people are bought out for now, and culture, people don’t matter just as it does not matter for the Republican party. I really enjoyed the podcast, thank you Dr. Fleming and Rex.

  5. theAlabamian says:

    typo *secession

  6. William Shofner says:

    “Then out spake brave Horatius,
    The Captain of the Gate:
    To every man upon this earth
    Death cometh soon or late.
    And how can man die better
    Than facing fearful odds,
    For the ashes of his fathers,
    And the temples of his gods.”

    Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59), “Horatius at the Bridge”

    Is it time to gather on the Bridge? …. Or is it too late?

  7. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Michael Strenk is exactly right. The best resistance is a cheerful heart. At the end of “Camp of the Saints,” Jean Raspail portrays the little group of defenders as laughing their way into death. Although that bit is terribly overdone in the film “The Wild Bunch,” there is a heroism that refuses to despair. I sometimes think that one of the writers we most need to rediscover for our time is the poet Horace. He lived through a terrible period in Roman history. As a child, he lived through the great Civil War. He was 21 when Julius Caesar was assassinated. He joined the losing side and backed Brutus. He surrendered only to live in poverty until his poetry was admired by Maecenas and Augustus. A staunch republican, he stayed out of politics and lived a cheerful life of ease, promoting the virtues that were possible under the Augustuan regime. Once upon a time every schoolboy knew at least the beginning of the third ode of his second book:

    Aequam memento rebus in arduis
    servare mentem, non secus in bonis
    ab insolenti temperatam
    laetitia, moriture Delli…

  8. Michael Strenk says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spend every moment of every day in cheerful disregard of all that they do. The systems under which we live increasingly remind me of what I experienced and my wife grew up under in communist Europe (she says that over the thirty years that she has spent here she has felt increasingly at home in a very bad way). Everything seems, and may be, designed to frustrate and to create despair. I have my moments, like yesterday when I received my mortgage bill finding that they added over $10,ooo to my principle and claimed that I hadn’t paid since January with all of the added penalties and fees. This was all incorrect, of course, but I still had to spend the time and emotional energy in calling them only to find out that the problem is systemic and they are working on resolving it. Whatever that means, I will still have to check their math. However, we must be engaged in hopeful, constructive activity (like participating on the Fleming Foundation website) to stay sane, in spite of all of the time and energy and treasure that they waste for us.

  9. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Exactly. We cannot ignore what they are doing or pretend it is not happening–that would be tantamount to the sin of tacitly encouraging vice, but we must recall that most of these people are pathetic–what else do we learn from the press?–and it distracts us from the business of living to pay them the attention they don’t merit.

  10. Allen Wilson says:

    I once listened to a tape of a man giving a talk in which he said that anyone who really wants to improve his life should throw out all the popular books and magazines he may have – this was before the internet took over everything – and cancel all his subscriptions, except for People magazine. “You can read ‘People’, at least for a few months anyway”, he said, “because if you read ‘People’ and read between the lines, you’ll see how people really are, how messed up the ‘successful’ people are, how messed up all the celebrities are, you’ll see that none of them are really happy,”, etc. All this was said in a context in which it was understood that he was also talking about politicians and government and business ‘leaders’, including those who run the world.

    He was serious, and more profoundly right than I realized at the time.

  11. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    From a recently deceased folk poet:

    “Blow up your TV
    Throw away your paper
    Go to the country
    Build you a home
    Plant a little garden
    Eat a lot of peaches
    Try an’ find Jesus on your own”

  12. Gregory Fogg says:


  13. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Yes, indeed. When friends back in the eagerly 80’s tried to interest me in John Prine, I resisted, but later found I could not hold out.

  14. William Shofner says:

    As one who has lived in Nashville for decades, I once sat right next to a fellow, just out of pure randomness, at a hibachi restaurant many years ago. He was quite unassuming, somewhat diffident and but insightful. From our conversation, he appeared to have been someone who could have blown up his TV and thrown away his paper. After we finished our meal, a lady came up to me and ask me if I knew who that fellow was. I told her that I didn’t have a clue. She said it was John Prine.