The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


What is Truth? Part II of Simple Simon’s Definition of Conservatism (Free to Subscribers)

What is truth, asked jesting Thomas, who stayed for an answer. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that it is possible to tease out some fundamental principles that undergird all or most conservative movements and sentiments.  Let us further suppose that the most basic principles are not specifically American, Anglo-American, or even Christian-European but could be revealed not only in Sophocles, Aristotle, and Cicero but, perhaps, even in Confucius and/or Lao Tsu.  Once the more general principles were established, we could then see how they develop more particular attributes and requirements as part of Christendom and even Anglo-American...


Wednesday’s Child: A Virtual Mess

A couple of weeks ago, in Moscow, about a thousand people gathered in Pushkin Square to demonstrate against internet censorship.  Conceptually, of course, I saw their action as flawed, if only because, given the internet’s intangible and mercurial nature, it would have been truer to genre if they had marched only virtually, made virtually inflammatory speeches, and in the end got themselves virtually arrested by the virtually secret police. A less spurious reason why that march was misconceived is that, as the Russian proverb goes, “having lost the head, no sense crying about the hair.”  The proverb is wise in...


Cultural Genocide: I swear I’m not making this stuff up!

Jim Easton asked me yesterday when the UN is going to be summoned to punish Americans engaging in cultural genocide by vandalizing and tearing down historical monuments and engaging in an endless damnatio memoriae.  Every week, it seems, we witness a new reductio ad absurdum.  The recent winners are the not the  Jews of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center who went to tear down the statue of the “anti-Semitic” Peter Stuyvesant in New York,  and recommends “replacing all traces of his name with that of Asher  Levy, one of the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam.”  No, as hilarious as their proposal is,...


What’s the Good and the Bad of Trump in Afghanistan and Venezuela?

The past week saw President Trump step even farther away from his campaign pledge of America First, of getting involved less in foreign quarrels. But how far? His actions took off the front page the bad press he keeps getting from his response to the death and disaster of the Charlottesville protest. Probably anything he said would have been blasted by the fake-news media. The New York Times’ op-ed page has been even more apoplectic than usual. In Venezuela, Trump’s sanctions make no sense at all. The White House Reads blog for Aug. 25 began with this: “The Miami Herald reports the...


Season 1, The Best Revenge, Episode 10: The Finer Things


In this episode of The Best Revenge, Dr. Fleming and Stephen discuss how “the experts” can ruin basic enjoyment of wine, beer, spirits, tobacco, food, and pretty much anything pleasurable. Original Air Date: August 26, 2017 Show Run Time: 50 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner The Best Revenge is available for Gold subscribers and higher.   The Best Revenge℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved and any duplication without explicit written permission is forbidden.


Simple Simon’s Political Lexicon: Conservative, Part I

As preface to discussing Conservative, I begin with a few more words on Liberal (which I have inserted into the previous article.) The term “Liberal” is simple in conception but obscured by confusion and deliberate misrepresentation.  After all, it comes from liber, the Latin word for “free” and was used to translate the Greek eleutheros, which had secondary senses that range from humane to noble to generous.  We still speak of “the liberal arts” and of people who are liberal in making gifts or doing favors.  It is quite proper to speak of non-political liberalism as a peculiarly western form...


Chesterton Conclusion–Go Back to Being Roman

But Rome endures in more places than the seven hills on the Tiber.  The civilization of Europe and its colonies is only an extension of the Roman world, from which we have never been really cut off. Where world- historians such as Spengler have seen ages and cycles severed from each other by cataclysmic events, Chesterton sees continuity. We do not understand, to be sure, the few monuments left by our distant neolithic ancestors; but the Greek gods have never died in that fashion; and the Roman empire has never died at all. Of the most modem industrial cities in...


The Counter-Revolution–Back to Square One (Conclusion)

Then what are we to do with the Great Books of the revolutionary tradition?  They are to a great extent a poisoned chalice which is fatal to those who drink from it.  There is a sense in which the system of American education is taking care of at least some of the problem.  Apart from Great Books colleges and Western Civ courses, no one actually reads Montaigne or Voltaire.  They are simply dead white males that only a conservative fuddy-duddy would read. But suppose we confine the question only to people we care about, our children and students.  Do we...


Wednesday’s Child: A Fair Name

In Italy, a sagra is a local fair, festival, or fête, usually – oh, but let us be truthful, invariably – dedicated to food, and sometimes accompanied by a historical pageant, a sporting event, a marionette show, or some other spectacle that may aid digestion. There is a Frog Festival at Casteldilago near Arrone, an Onion Festival at Cannara, a Stuffed Eggplant Festival in Savona, a Lattarino Festival on Lake Bolsena, in homage to a local fish by that name and now in its forty-second year, a Frico Festival in Friuli, involving an italianized cheese-and-potato rösti, and an almost infinite...


Ask the Autodidact:  “How Bad are the Harry Potter Books?”

After having read or listened to so many of the books on your Auto-Didact list, my daughter Annie has grown to trust my literary judgment.  If Dad says a book is worth reading, it is.  If Dad says it isn’t, it isn’t. Well, my daughter is of an age where all her peers have read or are reading the Harry Potter books.  I’ve told her the Harry Potter books aren’t worth her time.  While that answer is good enough for Annie, many of her friends and classmates press Annie to explain why her dad––who is also the pastor of the...