Author: Thomas Fleming

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Properties of Blood, I: J

Light Unto the Nations Christians and Jews have always believed that the Jews of the Old Testament were an instrument by which salvation came to the human race.  This does not mean that gentiles and all their works were uniformly despised even in the Old Testament.  Throughout the Old Testament we meet with many decent or righteous gentiles: the pharaoh who befriended Joseph, the benevolent Persian king (Cyrus) whom some rabbis regarded as the Messiah, because he returned the Jews to the Holy Land, and Job, the man of Uz.  The gentile Job is the most righteous man of the...

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Preface to Cicero

Part I Some years ago, at a weekend meeting of The Rockford Institute’s executives, Richard Neuhaus chattered endlessly about what he called “Public Philosophy” and recommended that the Institute draw up a public philosophy of its own.  He had borrowed the phrase from  Walter Lippmann, a columnist who had spent a long career trivializing important questions.  After the meeting, John Howard asked me if I would have a crack at drawing up the TRI Public Philosophy.  This is exactly the sort of thing I hate, but I accepted the task, albeit grudgingly, and explained to John that the most successful...

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Dog Latin

Habemus Oratorum Domum? Can Paul Ryan win the support of the House Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, and the Tuesday Group? If he can, forget the speakership, let’s talk sainthood, because unifying House Republicans counts as his first miracle. E.  Christian Kopff sent me this gem, written by one Jim Geraghty from the NR website.  I don’t read National Review in any form, print, internet, or the original crayon, so I don’t know who Mr. Geraghty is or if he has a whimsical turn of mind or if he is possibly fond of ridiculing the ignorance of learned languages...

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Properties of Blood I H: Augustine at the End of an Era

When Alaric the Visigoth sacked Rome in 410, therefore, it came a as terrible shock to the world, almost inconceivable to us.  The most recent parallel is the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, but that catastrophe had been universally anticipated for decades and preceded by the Crusaders’ sack of the city in the Fourth Crusade.  The fall of Rome was inconceivable. Pagans like the poet Claudian echoed the conservative arguments of Symmachus, a Roman senator of ancient stock: In abandoning the old gods Romans had invited disaster.  Claudian gleefully mocked a Christian general, telling him to trust...

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Properties of Blood, Chapter I, Part G: Rome, Urbs Aeterna

In addressing himself to the Jews (and the stray Gentiles who may have been in the crowd), Jesus was able to take for granted certain customs and traditions of moral law, whose inner and original meaning He now revealed.  Although modern Christians make much of the Ten Commandments, the moral injunctions it contains, against blasphemy, theft, perjury, adultery, murder, and filial impiety were hardly unique in the Mediterranean world.  Such prohibitions were the common stock of ancient moral and legal traditions.  Greeks and Romans (going beyond the Egyptians and Sumerians, whose moral codes were similar to that of the Jews)...

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Interview With Polonia Christiana, Part II

PC     Do you believe the neoconservative dominance of mainstream discourse of US foreign policy is slowly coming to an end or we simply seeing a generational shift? Also, have the neoconservatives in your judgement played a role in instigating the current crisis in Ukraine? TJF    The neoconservatives in themselves are of little or no importance.  They do not formuulate policy, they merely repeat the slogans of the Cold War Democratic Party and put a slight conservative spin.  Their great success was in making an alliance with American Evangelical Zionists, who have been taught to see the world...

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Interview With Polonia Christiana, Part I

Thomas Fleming was interviewed in August by Mike Krupa of Polonia Christiana.  For readers of Polish, the inteveiw is available here.  For those less fortunate, we have posted the original exchange in English., PC  After almost 8 years of Barack Obama’s presidency, what kind of country is the United States? TJF  When Barack Obama was elected President, reaction was divided along party lines.  Democrats, especially those who belonged to ethnic minorities, expected rapid improvement in their condition and in their opportunities for advancement. They also expected a quick end to the military adventurism that had characterized his predecessor’s administrations.  Republicans, by contrast, feared...

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John Kasich’s Bible

Governor Kasich has finally got himself into the news.   Falling asleep in the debate did not work.so now he turns to that last refuge of corrupt Republican: religion.  Accused of pandering for votes by supporting socialized medicine, he offers to give his critics free copies of the Bible. Looks like this is one more cause of a good Catholic boy who has followed the papacy into  non-revolutionary socialism. This is one we cannot blame on Pope Francis or Paul VI or even on Leo XIII.  Kasich abandoned  the Catholic Church for materialist hedonism, and when he found he needed some...

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The Autodidact’s Reading List: Romans of the Golden Age

The Essential Romans In this first draft of the Roman section, I am only going to list a few indispensable works with a few suggestions on translations.  As the weeks and months go by, I’ll be updating this and other sections that are posted. The Golden Age Poetry Vergil, The Aeneid.  I prefer the the polished if far from literal translation of John Dryden, a major work of English literature.  Otherwise, any older prose translation will do.  More recent verse translations, especially those concocted after WW II, are alien in spirit and in form.  Less entertaining the Homer, Vergil is...

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Properties of Blood I F: The Heresy of Globalism

The Rights of Nations Viewing Christianity as the enemy, intellectuals have always felt justified in misrepresenting its teachings, either to make them contemptible (as Nietzsche and the neopagans have done) or to pervert them to what they saw as good use.  So-called Christian Socialists and social gospellers made it appear that “true” Christianity (as opposed to the bogus faith of the previous two millennia) would dispense with all distinctions, including national boundaries. To delegitimate the right of nations to defend their territory, leftists like to quote Paul’s statement that in baptism “There is neither Jew nor Greek,” as if Paul’s...