The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

0

The New Index: Adam Smith, Part 4

Individualism Smith derived his much of his approach to moral questions from his teacher Hutcheson, but he also broke with his mentor on a central point.  Hutcheson had grounded the moral sense exclusively on benevolence, which promoted the greatest happiness of the greatest number (He appears to have been the first to formulate the utilitarian calculus), and he regarded self-love or, as we should say now, concern for self interest or self esteem as contaminating any virtuous motive. Smith, by contrast, thought this left too little room for the power of self-love: “Regard to our own private happiness and interest,...

11

No Liberty for the Latinless: Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 9

By

In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Dr. Fleming makes the case that a basic working knowledge of Latin should be a basic requirement for those involved in government, and should even be considered essential for those who wish to speak English well. Original Air Date: January 4, 2018 Show Run Time: 42 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 2018. All Rights are Reserved.

0

Trump Trolls ‘Climate Change’ Fanatics

If you don’t know the term, “trolling” on the Internet means “sowing discord… with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.” President Trump long has been the master of it. One of his latest is a special New Year’s End gift to us, on Twitter: “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!” Obviously, one day of record cold temperatures doesn’t tell the...

0

Wednesday’s Child: The Coffee Mill

Like many great men, Signor Baldo, whose skills with the ancient San Marco espresso machine recall the illustrious surgeons or perhaps even the famous generals of history, is used to adulation.  The morning bar crowd here is what in marketing is called a quality-conscious clientele, and these people are cognizant and appreciative of the fact that the machine is entirely manual, with nobody but its operator to be either blamed or applauded for the result.  None of that press-the-button stuff for Signor Baldo’s customers. Once in a while a tourist wanders in, and though I can see that the coffee...

2

The New Index: Adam Smith, Part 3–Impartiality (On the House: Free to Subscribers)

(Much of what is in these paragraphs has been lifted from The Morality of Everyday Life.) Although he is held up as an exemplar of the Scottish Enlightenment that is supposedly in conflict with the French Enlightenment, Smith was profoundly influenced, not only by the economic ideas of the Physiocrats, but also by the Philosophes’  attack on tradition, religion, and conventional morality.  While not an immoralist, so far as I know, Smith’s contribution to moral philosophy would not have offended his French colleagues. His Theory of Moral Sentiments begins with the common-sense observation that morality is not invented by isolated...

2

Media Misread Trump Foreign Policy Moves

A good example of how the media are misreading President Trump’s foreign policy comes from the Los Angeles Times. Headlined in the Dec. 26 print edition of the paper, “Trump claims he’s boosting U.S. influence, but many foreign leaders see America in retreat” was pecked out by no less than three top-flight Timesies: Tracy Wilkinson, Alexandra Zavis and Shashank Bengali. This really isn’t “news,” but an opinion piece masquerading as reporting. It gets wrong just about every policy, beginning, “China has now assumed the mantle of fighting climate change, a global crusade that the United States once led. Russia has...

0

The New Index: Adam Smith, Part 2

Adam Smith Adam Smith, perhaps the most influential political thinker produced by Britain in modern times, was born in 1722, a posthumous child of a customs collector from Aberdeenshire.  Smith’s interests in his early years were largely literary and classical, and his family had destined him for the Anglican clergy, though at some point he gave up both the career and religion of a Christian minister. He studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow University and came strongly under the spell of Hutcheson’s anti-rationalist common sense philosophy that emphasized benevolence. He proceeded from Glasgow to Balliol College, Oxford, where...

0

The New Index: Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments

This series, in its unrevised form, was posted in Summer  2005.  I thought it was lost forever, but Allen Wilson has been kind enough to send me dozens of old pieces that have disappeared from the old website. Part One:  Capitalism 1776, the year of the Declaration of Independence, was marked also by the publication of Adam Smith’s path-breaking book on economics, The Wealth of Nations. This is no accident, according to a familiar myth put out by American classical liberals who call themselves conservatives, because America is a land of individualists who came to a New World seeking freedom...

0

Divorce and Remarriage: Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 20

By

This episode of Christianity and Classical Culture, our final for this season, completes the discussion began by Dr. Fleming in the previous episode about marriage within Classical times and after Christianity’s influence by looking at divorce and remarriage. Part 1: Marriage: Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 19 Original Air Date: December 28, 2017 Show Run Time: 1 hour Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Gold subscribers and higher.   Christianity and Classical Culture℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved and any duplication without explicit written permission...

1

Marriage: Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 19

By

In this episode of Christianity and Classical Culture, Dr. Fleming discusses Classical and Jewish views on marriage and how Christianity built upon superstructures of monogamy towards a self-sacrificing sacrament. Original Air Date: December 27, 2017 Show Run Time: 59 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner This Podcast is available for Gold subscribers and higher.   Christianity and Classical Culture℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved and any duplication without explicit written permission is forbidden.