Thomas Fleming

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

5

Movie of the Week: Frank Capra’s Rain or Shine (1930)

Rain or Shine (1930), directed by Frank Capra, starring Joe Cook, with Dave Chasen.  This zany classic is based on a Broadway show co-written by Maurice Marks and the character actor James Gleason.  Jo Swerling adapted it for the movies; the biggest change, apparently, being elimination of the musical numbers that the cheap producer did not wish to pay for.  (Capra went along, arguing that any film with the greatest comedian in the world had to be good.)  The film has more of a premise than a plot:  Smiley Johnson, experienced circus performer and manager, is trying to save the...

1

POB II.2  “The Law’s a Ass”:  Marriage and Divorce, parts 1 and 2

 I have revised the opening and extended the discussion of marriage to include brief observations on capacity and consent.  From now on, the progress should be steady, Prologue Bumble the Beadle was a professional philanthropist, which is to say that he made a comfortable living by spending other people’s money on the poor.  As an agent for the parish, he had grown fat and vain, and he was fond of reminding the indigent of their debt of gratitude.  When the officers of the parish sell young Oliver Twist into slavery–and early death–as a chimney sweep, the Beadle admonishes the boy...

8

Judge Roy Moore: Is It Time to Go?

Judge Roy Moore is probably not going to be governor of Alabama.  The case against Moore is growing more serious with each passing day as more women come forward to charge him with indecent behavior and as people who knew him in Gadsden are backing their claims. That none of the claims is politically motivated is difficult to believe, and the justification that the accusers are Republicans who voted for Trump proves little.  Many Trump voters are not especially conservative and few, probably, would approve Judge Moore’s conflation of Scriptures and the American Constitution.  HL Mencken might have held his...

6

We’re a Lot Smarter Than We Used to Be.. (FREE)

“We’re a lot smarter than we used to be.”   I almost wish I had heard what led up to this extraordinary declaration on NPR’s Morning Edition, but I was too busy making breakfast.  Perhaps it had something to with Global Warming or lead in the water or the cholera plague brought into Haiti by the UN’s humanitarian mission.   Almost wish.  Perhaps the poor geek only meant our increased knowledge in certain technical areas enables us to screw things up more royally than in previous generations.  But it is far more likely that he seriously meant that the wisdom...

3

Simple Simon on Traditionalism, Conclusion

II From any point of view that could reasonably be described as “conservative,” respect for Tradition is incumbent on people who are not hell-bent on destroying the social order.  But, it is not just self-described conservatives and Tories who understand the importance of Tradition.  Old Whigs like Burke took their stand on what they regarded as traditional liberties, and later in the 19th century even Whig Liberals were hardly advocates of revolution.  In his political novels, Trollope lambasts Disraeli and the Tories for subverting the British constitution, and Tradition has never been better defended than by Sir Henry Sumner Maine...

2

A Belated Letter of (if not exactly from) Italy

Dear Fellow Travelers and Readers: We finally returned from Europe Monday afternoon.  The flight was uneventful and, mirabile dictu, so was our entry into the United States.  They finally have the ID processing machines in working order so all the zeks can get through the system with less trouble.  As I looked at the line, I wondered if Purgatory entailed as much rigmarole and waiting. We spent three days in Holland, in a village outside of Amsterdam, visiting our friends Michael and Koosje Guravage.  Michael, as some of you may recall, has traveled several times with us and is now...

12

Conservatism: Traditionalism

Conservatism is a very elastic term, so big that it was stretched, by rent-seeking leaders of Conservative organizations in the 1990’s, into a big tent.  There are liberal Conservatives who care only about the illusion of free markets and freedom of choice, Neoconservatives who are democratist Jacobins and soft-core Marxists, and even “traditionalist” Conservatives, who do not entirely reject the classical tradition, the works of Shakespeare and Milton, and the wisdom of the past. If the word “conservative” were to mean anything—these days, it really doesn’t—it would have to include a healthy respect for tradition. Otherwise, the accusation that Conservatives...

9

Times Out of Joint

Europe went off daylight savings time this morning, and America follows suit next week.  I suppose this means we are still trying to catch up with Old Europe. The twice a year time change inevitably unleashes a pack of feral economists snapping at the heels and howling criticisms of the inefficiency of savings times and all the hours of work lost to the plantations of international capitalism.  Being economists—or, what is almost worse, business writers—they enjoy the high privilege of always missing the point.  If  it is true that “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the...

2

Mea Culpa

I have not intentionally abandoned our readers these past few weeks, but I made the unwise decision to leave my laptop at home and rely on my wife’s iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard plus my iPhone.  The keyboard never worked, my iPhone fell to a hard floor and is worthless, and access even to the iPad has been a bit limited. We have enjoyed our week on a farm outside Spello and with Mark Beesley and our son Garret we have visited—in addition to Spello—Gubbio, Bevagna, Montefalco, Lago Trasimeno, and Spoleto.  Mark has done all the driving, which has made...

24

Rambling Thoughts

We left Friday the 29th on the next to last direct flight to Rome on United and flew without incident to Rome.  The only unpleasantness was provided by the surly waitresses–oh, excuse me, professional flight attendants who are on the plane for our safety–who slapped the unasked for stuffed noodles down on the tray, with a curt:  “We’re all out of everything else.”  Pasta? On a flight to Rome?  With green stuff?  The last time I ate cooked spinach on a United Flight I was sick for several days.  When she uttered her brusque “You’re welcome,” I made the mistake...