The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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A Chump for Trump: The Circular Reasoning of NeverTrump

During the Republican primary, I generally refrained from using the electability argument. Electability is important, but the arguments often seemed to me counterproductive and almost always conveniently supported the candidate of choice of the person making it. John Kasich is the “only one” who can beat Hillary because he is a moderate and will appeal to centrists. Cruz is too conservative. Or Cruz is the “only one” who can beat Hillary because he will fire up the base and bring them to the polls.  Kasich will inspire apathy in voters as Romney did. First of all, if someone is going...

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Aristotle, Politics III.3-5

Aristotle is no egalitarian, and he does not think that poor men who work with their hands (banausoi) and thus cannot participate in political life are fully citizens.  He is thinking specifically of the formal requirements of property for holding office, but I doubt that he would be enthusiastic about the idea of factory workers or perhaps even white collar employees of a corporation as citizens, since de facto they are under the control of their bosses and have little if any time for political participation.  Whatever other virtues they might possess, employees are not free in the sense that...

4

Wednesday’s Child (on Tuesday): Albion Shrugged

It was like something out of Plutarch.  Nature and history commingled in the chronicle of an epochal event, as torrential rains over London and much of the southwest of England began in the early hours of last Thursday. I had seen it start here in Sicily the night before, a downpour so severe we kept losing power, and I waved to the thunderstorm in benediction as it rumbled off to the north, northward and westward, Albionward.  Bad weather is always good for our side when there is a close contest, because as a rule those in the right own umbrellas...

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Properties of Blood, Chapter 5: Sweet Revenge

NOTE:  I had decided to omit the following two chapters on individual violence– as well as a later chapter on blood feuds etc.–from this volume and to put them in a separate book.  As I worked on the later chapters, it became apparent to me that my initial outline was better. Sweet Revenge With base deceit you worked upon our feelings. Revenge is sweet, and flavors all our dealings.”   Revenge is sweet, whether anyone likes to admit it.  But even a hundred years ago, when people were more candid about the reality of aggression, audiences at productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s...

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Monday after Brexit: No one planned for this

It is the beginning of another work week in London, and all seems quite normal in the shops and on the high streets (though you might see some pictures like this one), despite the fact that a historic vote happened just a few days before.  What has become clear as the dust has settled is that no one planned for this outcome.  Remain had no Plan B in place, and shockingly, Leave had no Plan A.  The only thing that is clear this Monday after is that it is a very long way to Tipperary. David Cameron A visibly emotional PM who...

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The Day the Improbable Happened

In 2014 I was in Glasgow for the Scottish referendum. I had spent the day before the referendum out and about in Glasgow and the “Yes” for independence vote was out in force, and as such I got a very different impression about which way the vote might go based solely on what I saw “on the ground.” The same thing happened last night. As I observed Londoners yesterday 8 out of every 10 stickers I saw people wearing were “In,” and I told more than one friend before I went to bed that I thought the Remain camp had just...

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Brexit Wrecks It

As the days drew new for the vote on Brexit,  the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union seemed  unlikely.  It seemed too good to be true, even to Nigel Farage.  As the polls were closing, the UKIP leader was gloomily predicting a thin victory for the Remains. Later that evening, it was all over but for the whining of good old Dave Cameron in tears.  He just had to have this referendum to show that Britons were as suicidal as everyone else in the West.  “What”—as that noted political observer B. Bunny, Esq. would say, “a maroon.” The term Britons,...

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Wednesday’s Child (on Thursday): Independence Day

The more one thinks about it, the clearer it becomes that freedom in our day and age is all about saving face.  And that some people in the world, perhaps an overwhelming majority of them, just don’t give a toss about having their face saved. Freedom is an entry in a roster of intangibles, on the same page as honor, dignity, sovereignty, faith, love, respect.   Drop any one of these metaphysical substances from the roster, and you will find that the remaining ones have become more inchoate as a result.   Excise another, and you will see that, rather...

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No One Ever Expects the Spanish Inquisition

When I looked at Red Philipps’ recent piece on the NeverTrump movement, I realized how ignorant I am of the conservative zanies who populate the blogosphere.  He referred several times to one Eric Erickson.  If I had ever heard of this character, the name—so reminiscent of Swedish comic Ole Olson—had been rejected by my conscious mind as one more piece of lint it did not need.  I can already tell you who played Chester and Doc on the Gunsmoke radio  program and once read a bad book on Gandhi by another fraud of the same name.   Enough, as they...