Category: Fleming

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Properties of Blood I.8: Spouses and Heirs, Part E

From Kith to Kin to Commonwealth If there is one commonplace that is shared by political theorists who view human societies not as a set of abstractions but as an organism or ecosystem it is that the commonwealth is an outgrowth of the household or family.  Wherever we turn—to Aristotle or Cicero, St. Thomas or Althusius, Sir Robert Filmer or French counter-revolutionaries—we find the family at the foundation of the evolving social order. The steps of this theoretical social evolution usually echo Aristotle’s account that traces the coalescence of households into a village and villages into a city or commonwealth. ...

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Autodidact: Readings for June

By popular demand (at least three requests uttered in a diffident tone of voice), I am reintroducing some discussions of lighter works–in addition to the ongoing Aristotle–and a poem of the week. For the next few weeks, I propose to discuss three works by R.L. Stevenson:  The Wrong Box, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Dynamiter. I have been mostly absent from this site for over two weeks.  For more than a week, while I was in South Carolina attending the Abbeville Institute’s Summer School, my MacBook Air refused to turn on, and when, every few...

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Diary of a Peripheral Male, Part Three of Three

PARIS I boarded the plane in Pisa and joined the flight full of North Africans going home to Paris.  It is hard to get a waitress–I mean, professional flight attendant on board for the passengers’ safety–because one Moroccan mother seems completely unable to deal with the logistics of traveling with a baby.  It is a nice enough baby, and the mother is sweet, though her French is even less comprehensible than my own.  Not so long ago, a man’s level civilization could be measured, almost literally, by the size of his French vocabulary (never by his accent, since a good...

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Travel Diary of a Peripheral Male 1999, Part Two of Three

MILAN It is small wonder if European conservatives hate the United States.  My room at the Hotel Granduca di York is cramped, too small to fit in a practical writing desk but big enough to hold an American window on the world–a TV set.  Next door is the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, which holds a priceless collection of manuscripts, rare books, and paintings, but here in my room I have everything an American could need: CNN, 24 hours a day, as well as a variety of channels–Italian, French, German–all replaying episodes of Hunter, Friends, or Mad About You (that’s Dingue de Toi...

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Aristotle, Politics II.4-7

These four chapters of Book II take up consideration of four model commonwealths, two of them fictional and two based on the reality of Sparta and Crete.  Readers should be warned at the outset, though, that since Greeks typically idealized or demonized Sparta (and to a lesser extent the cities of Crete), these two constitutions have to be viewed partly as historical reality and partly as representatives of a political ideology, in much the same way that Fascist Italy or Communist Russia have been treated. The first system under review  was drawn up by Phaleas of Chalcedon, of whom next to...

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1999 Travel Diary of a Peripheral Male, Part One of Three

An On The House Reprint from 1999 Midtlantic It has been a long day for this straight white European male.  O’Hare Airport is a sort of decompression chamber between Middle America and the rest of the world: rude United clerks who act as if they own the airline, the gauntlet of guards at the x-ray machines none of whom is able to speak English, and everywhere the stench of the Disneyworld cuisine: pizza, hotdogs, and every few feet a McDonald’s, whose unique blend of grease, sugar, and msg is the olfactory signature tune of the New World Order. If they...

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Triumph of Democracy, the Movie

It is a warm morning, that July 4, 1826, in Charlottesville.   As the opening credits roll, we hear the soft strains of “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” which are transformed, as the camera closes in on the face of the sleeping statesman, to “Hail to the Chief” in a minor key.  Thomas Jefferson is feverish: The ex-President had a bad night, tormented by frightening visions of the future, and he wants to share the revelations with his old friend and nemesis, John Adams.  There are no telephone or telegraph lines, but the clever Jefferson had recently invented the...

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Arm the Kurds? Are They Kidding?

On Thursday May 19, I’ll be giving a lecture at the Irish Rose.  In putting the finishing touches on the talk, I decided to see if there had been any major candidates in the presidential race who had not succumbed to the insanity of wanting to arm the Kurds.  “Not one, no no, not one!”  Here is a little extract of the talk. In the nearly 1400 years since Mohammed began persecuting and massacring Jews and Christians, this pattern of Muslim behavior has not changed. Flash forward to end of 19th century, as Ottoman Turks were being driven out of the...

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How Conservatives Lost the Bathroom War

WARNING:  This piece includes revolting arguments, albeit expressed delicately, but revolting nonetheless. If you have ever wondered why American “Conservatives” lose virtually ever battle in which they engage, all you have to do is to listen to them attacking the presidential decree banning toilet discrimination.  I listened for a few minutes to an NPR left-right debate on the subject.  The leftist was E.J. Dionne—the broken record of the Washington Post.  I was sautéing morels and shallots for a pasta course, when I heard him announced.  It occurred to me immediately that I should have put on an old Gunsmoke radio...

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Ransom Notes, Cinco de Mayo Plus One: GOP Deserters

Why are so many Republicans shying away from Trump and promising to boycott the convention? Whatever the answer is, we know it has nothing to do with principles, because they don’t have any.  What they do have are paymasters. In picking a side, e.g., the global war machine to which Maddog John McCain bends the knee, or the Megachurch pseudo-Christian pastors bloated on greed and ignorance that Ted Cruz adores, or the transnational business interests that force the Republican Party to stiff the American people by bringing in cheap labor and shipping jobs off to Chinese slave-masters.  Even the hint...