Category: Fleming

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Sicilian Trog

This is perhaps my sixth trip to Sicily.  I say “perhaps,” because I’m not very good about dates.  It’s not that my math skills are particularly deficient.  As a schoolboy, I always tested higher in math than in verbal skills.  It’s not even my almost complete lack of interest in mathematics, which has kept me blissfully ignorant of most higher math.  My real deficiency is something I regard as a virtue: an instinctive refusal to apply numbers to the phenomena of human life.  Aristotle did not make the mistake that has been made, over and over, by philosophers since Descartes...

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Born Out of Due Time, Chapter 14, Part Two

Smith did not mention Caruana’s investigation of possible Hamas operatives coming in from the Twins.  The Rosses looked upset, and Caterina had lost her smile.  They sat for a minute or so in silence, and Ross got up to pour more madeira.  The phone rang, and Mrs. Ross took it in the study.  They could hear her exchanging pleasantries with Ashley Borowski.  Her tone changed quickly. “Good lord, where did you see this?  On VoxPop News? You actually watch that?  I’m turning on the television right now.  We’ll get back to you.” Anterus and the others came in from the...

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Born Out of Due Time, Chapter 14 Part One

I’m not entirely sure.  Here is what I do know.  I have strange intuitions.  Maybe it comes from my Scottish ancestors.  I only recall a few things I heard as a boy, but one of them is said to have had a vision that the chiefs of his clan would come to an end, when a black swan came to join their famous flock of swans.

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Sicilian Trogs, Preface: Conclusion. Arrivederci, Roma

We had decided to stay in a little hotel in the center, the place in which we had spent a week during our first trip to Italy, 30 years ago.  I had been foolishly attracted to the Alberto Cesàri, when I discovered that Stendahl had passed a good part of his sojourn in Rome in this very place.  It was and is an unpretentious place, though about five years ago they added a rooftop bar and breakfast room.  In 1988 most of the guests were tourists like us, but this time we were the only Americans, except for a Fox...

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Sicilian Trogs, I: Preface

Speaking a different language forces the traveler to wonder how in the world foreigners manage to distort English—and vice versa.  In Italy a bar is a place to get coffee and a pastry, have a light lunch, drink a glass of wine, but it is not for serious drinkers and does exclude children. 

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The Decline of the American Empire, Part III: The Health of the State

Growing up, my only training in the martial arts was the experience of getting beaten up by older boys until I learned how to inflict pain even when losing a fight.  It was a useful lesson, and just as useful was my intuitive understanding of the basic principle of judo, which (so I have been told) is to use your enemy’s strength against him. I was forced to apply this principle more than once in college, when my athletic friends, invigorated by the joy of youth and a fifth of Jack Daniels, would suddenly realize how pleasant it would be...

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New From the Forum

A paragraph from an irresponsible rant on the murder of a Saudi journalist. …. It is quite possible that the murder took place exactly as the press, claiming the CIA as the ultimate source, has described it.  On the other hand, there is no reason to believe anyone in the media, whether Jim Acosta or Sean Hannity,  and after the past few years it is pretty clear we have no reason to believe the FBI, and if the FBI is specializing in political propaganda, can the CIA–the agency that appears to have engaged in massive drug smuggling in order to...

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The Decline of the American Empire: Recessional, Part II

First, a Digression on What The Greeks Mean To Us The ancient Greeks are among are most significant ancestors or, at least, godfathers.  They are one of those mirrors we hold up in order to contemplate our own faces, which we inevitably confuse with theirs.  Christians have often read their own darkest impulses into Greek mythology and “idolatry.” (A passing thought:  Did St. Paul or St. Jerome really believe educated Greeks worshipped statues made by human hands?)  Romantic poets found the dynamic imagination they were trying to cultivate, and since Nietzsche some have found justification for their own chaotic passions...

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The Early Church: Heretics and Puritans

In the time of Christ and his Apostles, it was enough to accept Christ–that is, the promised Messiah–and Him crucified, but it is a thoroughly human trait to draw conclusions, which are then treated as first principles.  In the Golden Age of the American republic, many, perhaps most Americans believed in liberty, both in the sense of political independence and in the sense of moral and social freedom.  If a man had a skill by which he could earn money, then–subject to legal, moral and social constraints–he could expect to practice that trade.  Then wise guys came long and raised...

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The Decline of the American Empire: Recessional I

I am revising a series of articles and lectures I wrote on American Imperialism.  In some places I have deleted political references that have lost their significance, in others I have expanded and developed an argument in light of later events and more serious consideration.   The first version of this was written in (so far as I can tell) 2002.  While the Trump administration may, viewed in retrospect, represent a lull in the imperialists’ Grand Design to wipe the old America from the face of the earth, no President willing to hire John Bolton or Nikki Haley can be regarded as a defender of the American Republic.