The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Munich

I am writing this from Munich, a place known universally since September 30, 1938, for democracy’s sacrifice of strategic interest — or honor, for that is what strategic interest is in the life of individual or nation — to tactical advantage. The advantage, during the next few weeks or months, would benefit a politician, Chamberlain, and his party; the sacrifice, in the course of the century, would mean the death of hundreds of millions and half of Europe in chains. Before going any further, however, I should like to apologize for this choice of subject.  I had been hoping that...


FF Podcast, Episode 1: The Paris Bombings


On this maiden voyage of the Fleming Foundation into podcasting, Dr. Thomas Fleming and Dr. Srdja Trifkovic discuss the recent bombings in Paris from both an American and a European perspective. Please enjoy and feel free to give feedback and ask questions. This is a work in progress so please be gentle on us!   Original Air Date: November 18, 2015 Show Run Time: 54 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming, Dr. Srdja Trifkovic Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner Podcast Player – Click the Cloud to Download Episode   The Fleming Foundation Podcast℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright...


Branding Disaster

Earlier this year, after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, I reflected on the conversations that may or may not ensue from the changing of a facebook profile picture.  As my facebook news feed in the last few days has changed into a wash of the modern French flag (the tricolor) I’ve reflected further on our need, as a consumer-driven culture, to “brand” disaster. Clearly the French didn’t start the #prayforparis trend – as it’s an English phrase.  #jesuischarlie started up so quickly because the attack was directed at a specific target for a specific reason.  The French reacted, in their own...


How Correct Are You? By Diogenes the Dissident

Answer these questions honestly.  If you score zero, you are rightwing; 5-10 makes you a conservative liberal, while a score of 15 tells you that you have reached the highest plateau of political correctness. 1. I have a nice Muslim friend; therefore ISIS is not Islamic. 2. The vast majority of the world’s “1.6 billion Muslims” are not part of ISIS or al-Qaeda; therefore ISIS and al-Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam. 3. The presence of large Islamic populations in Europe and North America is culturally enriching and intellectually invigorating. 4. Christianity and the Catholic Church have historically suppressed...


Huis Clos (No Exit) from Terrorism

If you listen to the official press or even look at comments on news websites, Islamic terrorism is some sort of natural disaster caused by sun spots, global warming, or the political equivalent of fracking.  One comment on the Washington Post summed up the popular despair.  The commenter wanted to know why our government could not stop these attacks, but added he had no idea of how it could be done. On leftist news sites,  a favorite talking point is to blame religion in general.  Yes, those vicious Buddhists, Confucianists, and Neo-Platonists, for centuries they have been waging war on...


Cicero III: Great Caesar’s Ghost

Caesar’s family, though they traced their ancestry back to Aeneas and to Venus, had not amounted to much in generations until his aunt Julia married Marius.   Julius was on Sulla’s list to be executed, but he was begged off by friends.  Sulla is said to have warned, “There are many Mariuses in this one man.”   Already identified with the popular party, Julius married the daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna, one of Sulla’s radical enemies, and he refused to put away Cornelia at Sulla’s request, though Pompey complied with similar order.  Already he was showing his independence. Julius went...


More Second Thoughts, Round Three

At first glance, President Obama’s selection of this years’s winners of “The Presidential Medal of Freedom” seems bizarre.  Lee Hamilton, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Mikulski, music entrepreneur Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Indian activist Billy Frank, Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, James Taylor,  and Jap rights activist Minoru Yasui.  Gee, what is warhawk Lee Hamilton doing with these freaks?  The only other straight white  male with a name ending in a consonant, James Taylor, is a drug-using  mental patient. On second thought, perhaps it is perfect.   This is the face of the new America–‘athaletes,’ entertainers,...


Paris: The Day After

The greatest generation was able to say, “This isn’t my first battle, sonny.”  Is it odd that at under-40 I can say, “This isn’t my first terrorist attack”? On September 11, 2001, I was heading to Kansas City after a short trip to Texas.  Sometime that morning two planes flew into buildings in NYC.  Our plane, like every other plane in the air, was forced to land at the closest possible airport.  I spent the next 3 days with strangers, and our first hours together were spent in front of a television, watching the towers come down over and over...



President Obama has informed African American voters that he will take it as a personal affront to his “legacy” if they do not rush out to support Hillary Clinton.  Rumor has it that he has also threatened to declare himself officially “White” and to  produce his authentic Kenyan birth certificate to prove that while he may be African, he is decidedly not American.  Stay tuned for this developing story.


The Art of Degradation, Part I

It is a good thing that rhetoric is a lost art, because anyone with the most elementary knowledge of rhetoric would be sticking blunt objects into his ears to keep from hearing not just the politicians’ speeches but, even more, the pundit’s comments and questions. I am not referring to the bad grammar and mispronunciation of NPR newsreaders who cannot pronounce words like “tour” but invariably say “tore” or even to the effeminate and uncontrolled sing-song chanting of the announcers.  Delivery is a part of oratory but only a part.  From the rhetor’s perspective of 2500 years or so, political...