The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Visit Sicily in January

  Dear Friends, Fellow Travelers, Subscribers, Casual Browsers: Mark your calendars for the second week in January 2019.  The Fleming Foundation is finalizing plans for our second voyage of exploration.  This time we are going to Sicily. Many of you are aware that since 2000, I have been taking small groups to Europe.  Although we have done programs in Scotland, France, and Serbia-Montenegro, we have concentrated mainly on the two homes of our civilization, Greece and Italy.  In 2019, we shall probably be going to the South of France, but I wanted to make what I hope will not be...


About that New York Times Fake Op-Ed

By now you might know who supposedly wrote the fake op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”  Subhead: “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” My guess it’s a couple of mid-level, semi-literate staffers. I’ve written a couple thousand op-eds, and edited many thousands more, and it just doesn’t read right. Consider the first sentence: “President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.” Worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis? Or Reagan facing...


Tech Left Monolith: Brittle and Breaking

I look differently on the Tech Left’s “deplatforming” of Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes and others. It’s not a show of strength, but a symptom of weakness.  The whole point of the Internet is it’s dispersed. It’s not true it was created to survive a nuclear war, although it was created by the Defense Department in the late 1960s as a dispersed system, “The idea being that defence projects being carried out at universities and research labs could communicate with each other, without worrying about the unreliable network links of the late 1960s.” Those earlier links depended on central areas that...


Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Livorno

 The more I travel in Italy, the more often I think that my original choice of cloister – Palermo – may have been the outcome of a rushed decision, like getting married to the girl next door with whose father you liked going fishing.  The Sicilian capital has nearly a million inhabitants, and the fact is that cities all over the world do not get better when they get bigger. Admittedly, Italian social organization provides an antidote to urban sprawl which is not found elsewhere, in that within every city, even one as large as Rome, there are dozens, sometimes...


Sweatshops of the Mind: The Rise of Bureaucracy

Community control of schools run by dedicated teachers who looked after each child individually runs counter to the modern assumption that every human endeavor can be turned into a science.  Every real “science” requires a theoretical framework, hence the need in educationism for theories of cognitive development and child psychology.   Even the acts of learning and teaching must be analyzed, broken down into their components, tested, measured, and graphed with all sorts of coefficients and Greek letters that really mean very little more than up and down, more and less.   In the years when I was reading grant proposals...


The Wilsonian Empire

The empire of our good friend Clyde Wilson is spreading.  Not only does it encompass Shotwell Publishing but it now includes Reckonin, a Southern political website developed by his daughter, which just put up a revised and expanded version of  my off-the-cuff piece, “What is To Be Done?”