The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Tuscany

If ever I had the temptation to shirk my duty as the gentle reader’s clarion and dulcimer, if ever I wanted to declare myself on holiday and beg off for just a single week, if ever nature triumphed over nurture to make a child’s chore of the fast approaching Wednesday, it is now. I am in Tuscany, where the other day it actually rained – that last word describing an atmospheric condition when condensed moisture falls from the sky in drops, see also snow. In July in Palermo, where it last snowed in 1956, leaving an air conditioned house to...


Herodotus Book I, Continued: Democracy and Tyranny

By Herodotus’ time, tyranny had developed a bad name, and he his descriptions of their behavior constitutes a pragmatic manual to set beside Machiavelli’s The Prince.  Tyrants champion the poor and the weak particularly women and foreigners; they are lustful and prone to adultery and eccentricity—Periander was accused of having relations with his dead wife.  They maintain power by disarming the citizenry and oppressing anyone who is distinguished for birth, talent, virtue, or wealth.  I know, it sounds exactly like the Democratic Party today.


A Generation of Peace?

In 1970, a year in office, President Nixon gave an address to the UN titled “A Generation of Peace.” With the Cold War hot in Vietnam and elsewhere, and American campuses and cities erupting in riots, it didn’t seem peace was at hand. Yet Nixon soon went to Moscow and Beijing in his still-famous trips. “Only Nixon can go to China” has become a saying meaning someone who is strong in one area using that to work out a compromise with an enemy.  In his 1972 campaign, Nixon’s slogan was “A Generation of Peace,” and he won 49 states in...


Autodidact: Herodotus, Part I

Since the Persian Wars—like the Punic Wars, the Crusades, and the West’s ongoing struggle with Islam—serve to define who we are, perhaps it would be useful to take a brief look at the parts of Herodotus that are directly relevant to the cultural struggle between the West and its enemies.


Thomas Fleming Interviews Ched Rayson

CPR: I began to wonder if this website was a good place to launch the book.  It is not the small circulation that disturbed me, but the apparent lack of interest.  When I asked for the metrics on my chapters in comparison with other stuff, what you gave me showed a huge gap between pieces authored by you and those that had been written by others.  I began to wonder if this site was not simply, you know, some kind of ego trip for an editor who had been bounced from his job.  The idea of you getting more attention than me was pretty demoralizing.


Rending the Seamless Garment, II: Killing the Killers

I have heard liberal Catholic priests and Protestant ministers say that there is something “unchristian” about the death penalty.  I have even heard those who say that the Church has always been opposed to executions, but I challenge them to cite one passage of Scripture or one creed, one conciliar document, one encyclical that unequivocally condemns the execution of murderers.