The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Wednesday’s Child:  An Awl in Sackcloth

The pantheon of Stalin’s era contained, alongside the martyr Pavlik Morozov, killed by the peasants of his village for informing the secret police that his father had hidden his own grain, two other iconic images.  One of these was Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya.  Conveniently for Stalin’s propagandists seeking to plant her story in the consciousness of the common people, Zoya’s surname came from the twin Saints, Cosmas and Damian – as prominent in the Orthodox iconography as in the Catholic one – though, unlike them, this granddaughter of a Russian priest was a member of a partisan band, specializing in reconnaissance and...

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Castroized America

Cuban exiles and other anti-communists greeted comrade Fidel Castro assuming room temperature with rum-inebriated shouts of “Viva Cuba libre!” Sorry, I can’t join the celebrations. I’m as happy as anyone that El Jefe has gone to be judged by his Maker and no longer will be tyrannizing his people. But during his 56 years in power, the United States he hated moved far more in the direction of Cuban communism than Cuba moved, even after the fall of his Soviet patrons in 1991, toward becoming a free and normal country, as the U.S. was in 1959. Some comparisons: 1. Socialized...

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A Homegrown Buckeye Terrorist

Another surprise.  The homicidal maniac who went on a rampage at Ohio State turns out to be one Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old Somali Muslim.  No one knows why he did it.  NBC has informed us that “a senior law enforcement official said authorities are a “long way” from pinpointing a motive for the Monday morning attack, which sent 11 people to the hospital.  Apparently irrelevant are the the young man’s complaints against America for the persecution of Muslims in Burma.  Yes, Burma.  Why didn’t he go to Burma to kill the enemies of his religion?  Perhaps because that would have required...

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Debunking the Sanctuary Movement, Conclusion

This is the conclusion to my piece from 1985.  The points made include:  1) There is no right of or  justification for “civil disobedience.  Crime is crime, and treason is treason.  2) So-called “liberation theology” is only Marxist revolution with a false Christian gloss, 3) our primary moral obligations to family, community, and  nation take precedence over any imagined obligations to strangers, and, finally 4) the confusion of roles–national government dictating how children are reared while individuals and cities are making foreign policy–is a sign of a profound disorder in American life. Although civil disobedients like to lump their activities...

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Properties of Blood I.10: The Demands of Blood, Part G

As an experiment, I am going to post this part in two installments of 750 words.  The subject of the conclusion is how kinship, when it is ritualized and extended through fictions, is the basis of the human political order. Even in the simplest social organizations, friendships and alliances can develop independently of blood ties or lineage systems.  If kinship is the model expression of social amity, then those who enjoy such amity begin to be regarded as something like kin.  Though kinship may seem exclusive, an iron destiny dictated by blood, there are formal mechanisms in many societies by which...

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Fidel Castro, Dead at Last

Fidel Castro is dead, and USA’s official media are are beside themselves with grief over their fallen leader.  I hate to point out the obvious, but there is virtually nothing good to say about this thug, except he was lucky enough to take over Cuba during an American power vacuum, first when an exhausted and ailing Eisenhower was losing control and, then, when he easily fought off a challenge from a feeble-minded womanizing President who could not find the will to squelch this pustulent sore 90 miles off our coastline. Pre-Castro Cuba was no paradise, but there were economic opportunities.  People could get...

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The Song of Roland – Dr. Frank Brownlow

By

  Dr. Frank Brownlow, “The Song of Roland” Fleming Foundation Summer Symposium 1000 Years of Jihad Conference Date: July 13, 2016 Location: Rockford, IL Run Time: 1 hour Guest: Dr. Frank Brownlow Original Air Date: November 23, 2016

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A Life in Shreds and Patches, Chapter I: In Search of a Vocation, Part A

In Search of a Vocation I have never felt entirely comfortable in my own time.  Most men who have passed the age of seventy, as I have, have lived long enough to seem, and not just to others, fossils from another geological age.  I have felt that way not only recently but already as a boy, and when I read Booth Tarkington, his world appeared quite normal.  It was MGM musicals, Frank Sinatra, and the YMCA that struck me as bizarre.  Even later, when I was trying my best to ape the avant-garde—reading without pleasure the artless productions of the...

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Wednesday’s Child:  Letter from London

Nobody is talking about Trump in London, I’m happy to say.  From a geopolitical perspective – provided you believe, as I do, that geopolitics is stark reality by a fancy name – this is naïve and foolish and a bit like hiding your head in the sand.  From a human perspective, however, it is immensely satisfying.  I would happily fly back to England just to escape the interminable tête-à-tête with the newsfeeds on my computer screen, where Trump has now overtaken the Kardashians as statesman and thinker. I stayed with my best friend there, the one who is getting divorced. ...