Category: Fleming

7

Ideology: Unreason, Antifaith, Part Two

When people vote their pocketbooks, as they often do, they are giving some color to Marx’s more down-to-earth definition of ideology as a set of ideas concocted to advance the interests of a social class.  The creed of classical liberalism—low taxes, free trade, individual liberty–is the ideology of the well-to-do bourgeoisie, while socialism is the ideology of those who expect to be dependent upon government largesse: schoolteachers, promiscuous young women, and the politicians and public servants, who have so nobly given up brilliant careers in the private sector because they wished to serve the people.  No one claims the ideal...

2

Ideology: Unreason and Anti-Faith, Part One

What the GOP needs, “Conservatives” tell us, is a sharper ideological focus that will give greater prominence to the vast reservoir of “Conservative”  “ideas.”  If only the “Conservatives” were simply joking, if only they were entirely cynical about the war of words between the two parties, one might have some hope for a restoration of political sanity in this poor country.

10

Governor Northam and His Critics

I posted this brief comment on Facebook: I have read some “conservatives” on FB calling for support or sympathy for Gov. Northam. This is almost as pathetic as the conservatives who are denouncing him for racism. Red Phillips strikes the right balance–Northam is not worthy either of defense or offense. Since when does an advocate of infanticide deserve sympathy or support from normal human beings? Of course no one in his right mind would join the pile-on (and isn’t it interesting how few conservatives these days are in their right minds!), but imagine Pol Pot or Mao were attacked for...

7

Is the Pope Catholic?

Once upon a time, the Yankees “always” won the American League pennant.  Halfway through the season, if someone foolishly asked if the Yankees were going to do it again, some wise guy would answer the foolish question by asking another, “Is the Pope Italian?”  In later years, during the unending pontificate of John Paul II, the Yankees were no longer dominating the American League, and, if anyone asked some foolish question such as, “You think Sammy Sosa is taking steroids?,”  the responding question was, “Is the Pope Catholic?”  Today, I wonder how the wise guy would respond to a question...

3

An Interview with Anthony Bukoski, Introduction

Anthony Bukoski is one of the finest living fiction writers in America.  Born and reared in Superior (Wisconsin)—a town often considered the cultural nadir of the Upper Midwest—he is the opposite of the mouse, which in the Latin tale emerged from a mountain:  He is the lion that came out of the molehill of rusting grain elevators and abandoned trainyards, the city with the greatest number of bars per capita probably in the world and a house of ill fame known across the world. He attended Superior State University (which is what everyone called it before they started putting on...

21

The Life of an Autodidact, Conclusion

Every significant literary or intellectual movement is really a little community of friends, who encourage each others’ talents and correct each others’ faults until they are thinking thoughts and writing poems they might otherwise never have attempted.  I think of the influence of Belloc on Chesterton or, better still, of the Fugitive poets whose most creative period were their years at Vanderbilt and in the few following years before the group was shattered by ambition, mistrust, and the influence of more important friends out in the Great World. The absence of such a community of colleagues and disciples is the...

0

The Life of an Autodidact, Part One of Two

This is a revised version of a piece first published in 2014. Once upon a time I decided to learn Japanese.  I had none of the usual practical reasons: no business interests that would take me to Japan nor even an academic project comparing Noh plays with Attic tragedy.  I knew next to nothing of Japan, though as a child my imagination had been stirred by the Mikado, and later, when a college friend persuaded me to read the Tale of Genjii, my mind was haunted by images of beautiful men and women spending languorous evenings composing allusive verses to...

7

Got to Laugh to Keep from Crying

Another morality play has been played out.  Catholic high school kids from Kentucky—obviously Southern bigots—harassed a Native American Marine, a Vietnam veteran, and one of the all-white adolescent louts deliberately got in his way and, with a smug grin on his face, humiliated the brave old man.  They should be expelled, cried the watchdogs in the media, their school should be humiliated.  One particularly repellant female demanded the release of their names and addresses so that outraged leftists could tar and feather them.  Another depicted the students being put–MAGA hat first–through a chipper. The best line came from the bastion...

0

Direct Election: A Grave Threat to Republics

John Seiler has posted a sensible column on why the electoral college is not going to disappear in a puff of smoke.  He points out that one of the great compromises that made the Constitution possible is an electoral system that protects the interests of smaller states without eliminating all the advantage enjoyed by larger states.  There is, however, another aspect of the electoral college that is worth looking at:  the principle of indirect election.