The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Ideological Nationalism and Its Dangers

From this point of view, Sam Francis and Pat Buchanan are are not really nationalists at all; they are more like patriots, a word that misuse, in the mouths of politicians and propagandists, has rendered unpalatable and perhaps obsolete.  In general usage, patriotism signifies a person’s willingness to take risks and make sacrifices for the sake of his country and his fellow-citizens. 


Wednesday’s Child: Letter from London

A friend staked me of a drunken night at one of my erstwhile gambling haunts here, with the happy outcome that I leave London tomorrow with the guinea equivalent of half a year’s Wednesday’s Child remuneration in my pocket. Everything suddenly looks rosy, including the overhead lights in the political casino that is England at the moment. Burke wrote of John Law’s reforms that they had turned France into one giant gaming table, and looking at the morning’s newspapers an observer can hardly hide from the analogy even if he is not a casino habitué. Here are the latest odds...


Flaunting the Flag

The Fleming Foundation’s Andy Vaught’s exclusive interview with a State Department employee angry about the recent directive against flying the Rainbow Flag.


Fatal Mistakes, #1: Reproductive Health

After decades of degrading propaganda from people like Biden, the Clintons, and the Obamas,  thoughtless and feckless Americans are confused.  Many of them appear to believe, seriously, that the right to kill babies is saving the lives of millions of women.  


Wednesday’s Child:The Quietist Manifesto

I had insomnia the other night, and it so happened that my son, who leads what I suspect is a dissolutely sleepless life in London, engaged me in correspondence about a Russian poem we both knew.  He wrote that he had tried to translate it into English, but “it kept coming out as a string of banalities.”  So I spent the remaining small hours of the night trying to prove my son wrong, to succeed where, in my view, Vladimir Nabokov failed in his translation: Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal the way you dream, the things you feel. Deep...


Liberal Nationalism versus Patriotism

The words nationalism and patriotism are often confused, and even when political theorists draw a contrast, the result is often a distinction without a difference or a bizarre twist of meaning that defies everyday usage.  The modern concept of nationalism (just like the concept of internationalism) took shape during the French Revolution, which implemented Rousseau’s theory of the general will and continued the process of centralization inaugurated by the monarchy.   According to 19th century nationalists, the will of the nation, defined as an historic community of blood and tongue, had to find expression in a common and unified state. ...


Photios, the Franks, and the Filioque, Part II

Ever since Charlemagne had smashed the Avars at the eastern marches of his expanding realm, agents of the Frankish empire had begun infiltrating into the northern Balkans, including the lands inhabited by the Slavic tribe of the Moravians (the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks). Among these agents were missionaries, for the empire of Charlemagne was a Christian empire, the true Israel in the fancy of his court theologians, and the progress of the Gospel must keep pace with the expansion of boundaries into heathendom. There was bound to be a conflict then, when heathendom meant not only the Germanic...


A Restoration, perhaps?

I stopped by Notre Dame this week to find it completely encircled by high temporary construction walls.  One day it’s open for you to visit almost anytime you wish.  The next day it’s closed indefinitely, with life for the residents and businesses on Ile de la Cité altered considerably.  Yet there was good news the other day, with lawmakers pushing for a restoration “as it was” in opposition to the hubristic “architectural competition” that was to add a second torture to the loss.  No need to remake something that didn’t need to be remade.  Perhaps some may even consider the...