Category: Fleming

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Join the Counter-Revolution Against 500 Years of Treason

Revolution & Resistance   Dear Friend and Fellow-Reader: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”   Sir Edward Grey’s famous remark was inspired by the outbreak of World War I, the European civil war that was the beginning of the end of our civilization.  Now that we are closer to the end than to the beginning of our descent into the abyss, it is more vitally important than ever to understand what has happened, or rather, what we have done to ourselves.   At our first Summer School, we...

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The Return of the Alien, Finale.

The alien found the good old rebels still making merry in the Elbo Room, and, for the sake of health and sanity, they ordered a pizza.  Nursing their drinks as they waited for their food, they listened to the thunder overhead and watched the people, giggling and wet to the skin, bustling in for dinner.  More rain meant high water and bad fishing, but it had also broken the back of the heatwave.  They repeated the Finlander jokes they had heard, and then moved on to Polish jokes and redneck jokes.  Mississippi did  not blink at the usual changes rung...

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The Return of the Alien, Part C

He leaves the two storytellers drinking their lunch and walks five blocks up Tower Avenue to the offices of the Tyomies Society.  He had written to a dozen newspapers in Northern Wisconsin and received only two responses: one, from Joan Melchild who writes for the paper in Shell Lake (population 1300), and one from the Finnish American Reporter, published by the socialist/communist Tyomies Society. The history of Tyomies is an American saga.  The newspaper, which was founded in Massachusetts in 1903, and moved first to Hancock, Michigan, and then in 1913 to Superior, was generally known as the second largest...

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Return of the Alien, Part B

In the morning they headed toward the Brule to check out the water, which was very high.  It was also very hot, especially once he had got into his neoprene waders.   He was still hot, walking waist deep against the strong current that sweeps past Winneboujou landing.  There was no sign of a tricho hatch that morning; nothing broke the water’s surface.  He tied on a nymph and cast out the line, watching it collapse helplessly in wrinkled coils.  It had been two years since he had waded a stream, and subsequent casts were hardly better than the first. ...

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A Life in Shreds and Pages: Excursus, “The Return of the Alien,” Part A (FREE)

This is a slightly revised version of a Perspective published in 1999.   John Lukacs was kind enough to send me a note complimenting the prose. His father used to say that the country was good; it was the people that made it intolerable.  Now his father’s son was headed up to that North country, where he had not lived for forty years.  He had been back, several times over the years, fishing for trout on the Brule River or trolling for walleye on the Chippewa Flowage.  He had visited the desolate city of his birth several times, and once...

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Properties of Blood II.1, Part C: The Family as a Little Commonwealth

Economic Autonomy Thus far we have been looking at the family as an expression of blood-ties and the affections they engender.  In a broader sense, however, the household is a model for the commonwealth..  As an economic institution, the household combined both production and consumption functions.  Food was grown, stored, and prepared on the home place, and items for exchange or sale were produced by family members working at home.  Some of the household’s economic tasks, obviously, had to be performed outside the home: Men and boys worked the fields or tended the cattle, and in their free time hunted...

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An Ancient Ploughman’s Breakfast

Here is a description of a hungry farmer who has to grind his own flour to make bread and then slathers it with a pungent cheese spread. ….Then immediately He piles it on a board that’s smooth, and pours Upon it tepid water, now he brought Together flour and fluid intermixed, With hardened hand he turns it o’er and o’er And having worked the liquid in, the heap He in the meantime strews with salt, and now His kneaded work he lifts, and flattens it With palms of hand to rounded cake, and it With squares at equal distance pressed...

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Samuel Johnson, Our Greatest Moralist: Conclusion

In his moral writings, Dr. Johnson showed himself a devotee to  duty almost on the level with Robert E. Lee’s, who described it as “the sublimest word in the English language, adding,  “You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.”   The concept of duty has been somewhat tarnished by Victorian moralists who too often seem to be advocating the virtue of prigs, and, worse, by  philosophers who, since the 18th century,  have got into the habit of regarding all duties as abstract, universal, and rational. A locus classicus for this approach...

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Trump–Chump or Caesar?

The Russians have rightly condemned the US missile attack on Syria as a criminal act of aggression against a sovereign state.  I italicized the last phrase because it indicates a certain mental clarity on the part of Putin and his advisors:  Their own acts of criminal aggression are justifiable, apparently, so long as they are not directed against a state that holds undisputed sovereignty over a country or region.  John Seiler has made an excellent case that this may be the beginning of the end of the Trump administration.  He is probably right, but as a lifelong contrarian, I am going...

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Mat Rarey, RIP

I learned today, from several sources, that my former assistant Matthew Rarey has died.  Mat was still a young man.  I have no idea, at this point, what happened, but he had been very troubled in recent years. He yearned for the best, and if he often fell short, he was hardly different from the rest of us.  I’ll write more later, perhaps, since Mat kept in constant touch with me.