The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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A Capital Crime? Trump and Jerusalem

“Trump has sold us out!” ”It’s all the fault of that Jewish son-in-law of his!” “This sets back the Middle East peace process by decades!” These are just a few of the more moderate exclamations I have heard in condemnation of the President’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and to relocate the embassy. Perhaps they are all right, but I doubt it.  While Trump’s manifest trust in his children is a source of possible weakness, it is also one of his strongest qualities.  Jared and Ivanka Kushner have certainly played a major role in this administration, but whether...

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Perhaps the Greatest Novel Ever Published: I promessi sposi

The French Revolution was a source of great evil. It not only spawned the leftist revolutionary movements that dominated the past two centuries but it also gave birth to the reactionary and rightwing movements that responded to the Revolution.  Most of these responses were imperfect, corrupted either by revolutionary ideas or suffering from the temptation to run blindly in the opposite direction.  If reason misapplied is dangerous, irrationality is equally dangerous; if globalism is a menace, so is blind nationalism; if atheism and anti-Christian  bigotry have deformed the character and values of modern men and women, Catholic obscurantism and fanaticism...

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Wednesday’s Child: Fire in the Reichstag

A black pimp in a red velour hat by the name of Ben Okri – black is a statement of fact, pimp is an expression of opinion, conjunction of the two is my constitutional right, and the red velour hat, I admit, is only there for literary verisimilitude – has written a poem for a new art museum called the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opens next week.  “A great story unites us all,” writes Okri, actually a British writer born in Nigeria who has won many literary prizes for his absurd twaddle, “beyond colour and creed and gender. / The...

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Umbria: The Best Revenge, Episode 13

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In this episode of The Best Revenge, Thomas and Garret Fleming, joined by Rex Scott, eat their way through Umbria. Original Air Date: December 4, 2017 Show Run Time: 39 minutes Show Guest(s): Garret Fleming Show Host(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming, Rex Scott 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.

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Progress: Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 8

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In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Dr. Fleming continues on the theme of “Progress” recently discussed in 2 episodes of Christianity and Classical Culture. Dr. Fleming makes the case that, contrary to popular belief, technological and medical progress have NOT been unqualified benefits to the human race. Original Air Date: December 2, 2017 Show Run Time: 49 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Silver subscribers and higher.   Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All Rights are...

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Niki Haley–Trump’s Worst Mistake

Niki Haley is a disaster as foreign policy mouthpiece.  One might use of her what Mencken unfairly said of Bryan:  “a zany without sense or dignity.”  Of course she is a good deal more virile than South Carolina’s distinguished Senator Lindsay Graham, but that can be said of Chelsea Manning.  Butching it up for the press in difficult matters of war and peace is exactly what the United States does not need, and her recent ridiculous tirade gave the Russians one more opportunity to ridicule the cynicism–and amateurism–of the US foreign policy establishment. Serious nations do not act like North...

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The Myth of Progress, Part 2: Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 18

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Continuing on the themes from the previous episode, Dr. Fleming goes on to discuss the role of a wall in a city – how does it restrict “progress”? How did Rome, Athens, Paris, and even NYC and Chicago deal with “borders”? What about monuments – and the tearing-down of them – is this “progress”? Is this simply at attack on Christianity? Part 1: The Myth of Progress, Part 1: Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 17 Original Air Date: December 1, 2017 Show Run Time: 50 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Gold subscribers...

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Stupid Thoughts

This is a country where Joe Scarborough, who is so fake he has to lie about his Thanksgiving day, is accusing Donald Trump of insanity.  If it hadn’t been Morning Joe, it might have been Matt Laurer.  What a country. The only clever thing I have ever heard from John Podhoretz (Full disclosure: I have never met the pizza man though I did have dealings with his parents) is his remark that Trump should be impeached for forcing on our attention the moronic Lavar  Ball, who single-handedly has done more to explode the idea of racial equality than anyone since...

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City-State Rights, Part II: Conclusion

The city-state is the seed-bed of civilization, but the concept seems alien to the American tradition.  Nonetheless, our cities once did possess, at least before the revolution, many of the same chartered rights enjoyed by English and European burgs.  In the Anglo-American world, the liberties of cities was defined by the charters they received either from the Crown itself or from the Royal Governor and legislature: Williamsburg, for example, was chartered in 1695, Wilmington in 1763.  Many of the older cities and towns of the Eastern Seaboard had been chartered municipal corporations, though in the decades following the revolution, the...

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Wednesday’s Child: Home Sweet Home

My wife used to say that coming from Palermo to London is like falling from the calyx of a flower onto a bed of metal shavings, and with every passing year I marvel more and more at the accuracy of that description.  In reverse the shock of the change does not work as powerfully, probably because the brain, like eyes after a spell in darkness, needs time to adjust and take it all in – the sunlight, the smells and the smiles.  Each time I return, I can almost literally feel the mind thawing out as I hand to Mimmo,...