The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


Wednesday’s Child: A Metaphorical Addiction

Last week a reader complimented my parody of “preternaturally American” English, a patois favored not only by gum-chewing schoolgirls and their future husbands, but also by demagogues of every persuasion, notably Russian propagandists broadcasting to the West.  A key element of its sentence structure is the word “like,” at times roughly equivalent to the traditional locution “that is to say,” but most often an interjection signaling approximation, relation, or equivalence. It occurs to me that the almost universal acceptance of this word in its neologistic role has a significance that runs deeper than mere misuse of language.  It is to...


McCain vs. Trump (Free to Everyone)

  There have been two times when I though a presidential nominee by one of the two major parties was so hawkish America could be pushed into a war of annihilation with Russia. One was last fall with Hillary Clinton, who by all accounts was the most hawkish member of the Obama administration, plumping hard for the Afghan “surge,” the 2011 attack on Libya that destroyed that country and sent millions of refugees streaming into Europe, the destabilization of Syria, etc. The other was in 2008 with John McCain, a man obsessed with pushing wars almost everywhere, in particular in...


The Nature of the Beast: Simple Simon’s Political Lexicon, “Conservatism” Part III

Most political/ideological movements are defined more by what the movement opposes than by what it supports.  Jacobins were a bit fuzzy about their Golden Age vision of a restored Roman Republic, but they were pretty clear about whom they wanted to kill.    (By the way, one easy way of distinguishing a wholesome religion or religious movement from a mere sect is that sectarians tend to define and name themselves according to their leaders and spend an enormous amount of time destroying what previous generations have created.  Iconoclasts and progressives  act more or less like ISIS and the Communist Party.) Conservatives...


Season 1, Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 5: Hurricanes and You


In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Dr. Fleming discusses what role, if any, the Federal Government should have in disaster relief. Dr. Fleming approaches the question from the moral, pragmatic, and constitutional viewpoints, and also takes a moment to address the issues of people having the legal ability to live on uninsurable land on the coasts and price gouging. Original Air Date: September 1, 2017 Show Run Time: 53 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?℗...


Season 1, Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 15: Aeneid Book I


In this episode of Christianity and Classical Culture, Dr. Fleming gives our listeners a broad overview of Book I of the Aeneid – he discusses themes, alludes to what will come in later books, and, as always, examines events or plot lines in relation to Christian thought. Original Air Date: August 31, 2017 Show Run Time: 55 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...


What is Truth? Part II of Simple Simon’s Definition of Conservatism (Free to Subscribers)

What is truth, asked jesting Thomas, who stayed for an answer. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that it is possible to tease out some fundamental principles that undergird all or most conservative movements and sentiments.  Let us further suppose that the most basic principles are not specifically American, Anglo-American, or even Christian-European but could be revealed not only in Sophocles, Aristotle, and Cicero but, perhaps, even in Confucius and/or Lao Tsu.  Once the more general principles were established, we could then see how they develop more particular attributes and requirements as part of Christendom and even Anglo-American...


Wednesday’s Child: A Virtual Mess

A couple of weeks ago, in Moscow, about a thousand people gathered in Pushkin Square to demonstrate against internet censorship.  Conceptually, of course, I saw their action as flawed, if only because, given the internet’s intangible and mercurial nature, it would have been truer to genre if they had marched only virtually, made virtually inflammatory speeches, and in the end got themselves virtually arrested by the virtually secret police. A less spurious reason why that march was misconceived is that, as the Russian proverb goes, “having lost the head, no sense crying about the hair.”  The proverb is wise in...


Cultural Genocide: I swear I’m not making this stuff up!

Jim Easton asked me yesterday when the UN is going to be summoned to punish Americans engaging in cultural genocide by vandalizing and tearing down historical monuments and engaging in an endless damnatio memoriae.  Every week, it seems, we witness a new reductio ad absurdum.  The recent winners are the not the  Jews of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center who went to tear down the statue of the “anti-Semitic” Peter Stuyvesant in New York,  and recommends “replacing all traces of his name with that of Asher  Levy, one of the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam.”  No, as hilarious as their proposal is,...


What’s the Good and the Bad of Trump in Afghanistan and Venezuela?

The past week saw President Trump step even farther away from his campaign pledge of America First, of getting involved less in foreign quarrels. But how far? His actions took off the front page the bad press he keeps getting from his response to the death and disaster of the Charlottesville protest. Probably anything he said would have been blasted by the fake-news media. The New York Times’ op-ed page has been even more apoplectic than usual. In Venezuela, Trump’s sanctions make no sense at all. The White House Reads blog for Aug. 25 began with this: “The Miami Herald reports the...


Season 1, The Best Revenge, Episode 10: The Finer Things


In this episode of The Best Revenge, Dr. Fleming and Stephen discuss how “the experts” can ruin basic enjoyment of wine, beer, spirits, tobacco, food, and pretty much anything pleasurable. Original Air Date: August 26, 2017 Show Run Time: 50 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner The Best Revenge is available for Gold subscribers and higher.   The Best Revenge℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved and any duplication without explicit written permission is forbidden.