The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Divided America

Once upon a time, Americans occasionally united. Here are some election percentages of presidential victors: FDR 1932, 57.4%; FDR 1936, 60.8%; IKE 1952, 55.2%; IKE 1956, 57.4%; LBJ 1964, 61.1%, the most of any candidate not named George Washington; Nixon 1972, 60.7%; Reagan 1984, 58.8%. Average: 58.8% Moreover, if you look at the issues in 1960, JFK and RN held substantially the same views, differing only in nuance, style and ability to rig state elections (detailed by Roger Stone in “Nixon’s Secrets” and Robert Caro, with all the facts on how LBJ ripped off Texas for himself and JFK, in...

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Wednesday’s Child: Porky’s Revenge

To my readers it would probably come as something of a disappointment to learn that I had actually watched the film entitled The Death of Stalin before I formed an opinion of it.  Indeed, a trailer of 2 minutes and 27 seconds’ duration was more than sufficient to confirm me in that endangered species of prejudice which is born of experience. The film is advertised as a comedy, with the 1:1 proportion of swear words to cheap shots typical of the genre in its contemporary interpretation, namely, absurd slapstick made by people without a sense of humor for people without...

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How the Right Can Win Again, Part II: Exploiting Divisions

We on the right should sow discord by exploiting our enemies’ divisions. The Democratic coalition is too mixed to survive. What do a Black nationalist from Atlanta, a feminist from Minneapolis, a Mexican illegal alien from Los Angeles, and a stoner from Portland have in common, except for their hatred of the White man and love of big government? If you put two in a room together, within five minutes they will be arguing over which one has been more oppressed and who needs the most government assistance. We might not need to divide and conquer the Left, as they...

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“How the Right Can Win Again,” Part I: The Problem

Looking inwards from the outside, one might assume the American Right is winning nowadays.  On the face of it, things seem to be going our way.  The Republican Party controls the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and most state governorships and legislatures.  Any new Supreme Court justices are likely to be conservatives, meaning that even if the Left regains control of the rest of government, the Supreme Court will remain right-wing for many decades.  The Republican Party is in its best position since the 1920s.  In contrast, the Democratic Party is in disarray.  Since November 9, the American Left has...

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Marriage and Divorce in the Early Church: POB II.2

Divorce and Remarriage In the early Church, marriage was honorable, sexual relations are legitimate even when not entirely necessary for procreation, and separation or divorce  permitted when the marriage made it impossible or difficult to practice the faith.   (I say “separation or divorce,”  because early Christian writers did not use these terms with any precision. )  But were there circumstances under which a divorced person might legitimately remarry?  This was a question seriously debated in the early Church, because none of the three principal cultures that influenced the Church–Greek, Roman, Judaic–had preserved earlier prohibitions on divorce.   Ancient Jewish...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Rotten Thread

For the better part of the last ten years, in the California town of Perris – which is probably how you pronounce “Paris” if you’re a child molester, though this conjecture is, I admit, of little relevance to the larger argument here – a couple enslaved and abused thirteen persons of various ages, allegedly their own biological offspring, keeping them in chains and starving them in ways that would make Mr. Bumble take pity on poor Oliver Twist. This is all happening in America, in 2018, yet the only reaction to the madness, apart from the grinding of the wheels...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Driving Fail

If one cares to understand something about the South of Italy, I suggest spending four minutes of one’s time viewing this masterpiece of daily life on YouTube.  It has all the truthfulness, spontaneity, and absurdity of an early Chekhov story, and it explains something central about individual liberty – something missing in Burke on the right as well as in Mill on the left.  In short, it’s a good illustration of why this is still the best place to live in Europe. Neither I nor my wife drives, so we’re well placed to observe disinterestedly, without the bitter rancor that...

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A PS on Trump’s Dirty Mouth

When I posted my comments about Trump on Facebook, some “friends” seemed to think that I was endorsing or defending his language.  I added this clarification: I am far from accepting, much less endorsing, such speech. As an observer of political reality, though, I refuse to indulge in idle speculation about a world that no longer exists. I find very little in public life to be even minimally acceptable, from the poor English, incomprehensible reasoning, and indeceny in broadcasting to the filth of popular music to the pornography of movies and television. I do not go out to movies, even...

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Legacy of the Doctored King

This morning my wife, who has a bad habit of following the news,  asked me about the “legacy” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I know he plagiarized his dissertation and just about every major speech or statement he made, advised soldiers to betray their country during the Vietnam War, maintained significant contacts with Communist agents, and betrayed his wife incessantly and with teenage girls.  But, to be fair, a lot of great men have had feet of clay.  What are his positive accomplishments that would be worth celebrating?” It’s not only a fair question but a valuable one.  Before...

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Real Haitian Story: The Clintons Destroyed It in 1994

It shows the immaturity of American politics that a vulgarity a U.S. president used in private becomes a mediastorm for weeks. But let’s look at the real reasons why one country at issue, Haiti, is such a mess: Co-presidents – as they fashioned themselves – Bill and Hillary Clinton destroyed Haiti’s economy in 1994 to put back in power a communist priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been defrocked in 1990 by Pope John Paul II. That was just two more years after communism fell in the Soviet Union and the Communist Party was abolished on Christmas Day 1991, so the...