The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Wednesday’s Child: Super Wednesday

  I have not really been following the fruit salad of the American presidential election, as the only apparently human being among the Republican candidates might have bumbled, and yesterday’s Super Tuesday is no exception. So I write this through a fog of wilful ignorance, its mists made all the more impenetrable by the Atlantic’s breadth.  At times, however, such scanty impressions, gleaned almost against one’s will, have some salubrious value, as not buying a used car simply because one had taken a dislike to the peonies on the salesman’s shirt can have a salutary effect on one’s wallet. Carson,...

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Syrian Lessons

Both sides of the Washington duopoly firmly believe in the existence of moderate Islam.   I am not referring to the everyday Islam of most Indonesian or Indian Muslims talked up by Islamophiles, but to an Islam that is supposedly a moderate political force.  This theoretical Islam is nonviolent and “peace-loving”. Its adherents supposedly yearn for self-determination, elections, a “free press,” and the protection of minority rights. According to Fox News, this Islam is absolutely necessary as an “ally” against the extremists, which is why  Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is such a terrible idea. There are two problems with this moderate...

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The leaders we deserve

I’m heading back to the United States this month to spend some time with my family, and I’m headed back to an America whipped up into a political frenzy. Europeans do not mistake an accent for an ideology, but when they hear my accent these days they do want to know what I think of the Trump juggernaut. Before I focus on the electorate I should note that democracy, a form of government I’m not particularly fond of, necessarily requires a virtuous and informed electorate in order to thrive (it will survive and subsist on much less).  It’s also important...

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Properties of Blood, I.4: Friends, Part A

I had initially posted the first section of a chapter on self-defense, but, waking up in the middle of the night, I began to think about the organization of this book and concluded that the chapters on self-defense, revenge, dueling, vendetta, and capital punishment should constitute their own volume, and that this volume I should only take up the positive side of the Love/Hate dichotomy–as I had originally planned. Chapter Four:  Friends Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13 “That’s what friends are for” is something we say after...

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East is East, Part II ON THE HOUSE

If human experience were rmin glacier, slowly accreting facts, pebbles, and statistical debris in its course, some case might be made for writing impartial history, but most of what he call history is a conflict of wills, between leaders and nations.  Who could write an impartial account of the Crusades?  Not a faithful Catholic or Muslim, and certainly not an atheist who is “neutral” on the religious claims of the two parties: he, in fact, has the biggest ax to grind.  I prefer Hilaire Belloc or the Whig historians who never concealed their prejudices or their agenda. Once upon a time,...

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Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 3: Is Christianity Simply One of The “Great Monotheistic Religions”?

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What do we mean when we say “the great monotheistic religions”? Can we even grant the premise of the question? How can we reconcile admiration for classical culture, which was polytheistic, with the practice of Christianity, which is monotheistic? How did the early Christian fathers, including St. Augustine and Tertullian, examine this tension between Athens and Jerusalem? Can we argue that the timing of the Incarnation allowed for the Church to derive maximum benefit from Roman law and government and Greek philosophy? Dr. Thomas Fleming and host Stephen Heiner examine these and many other questions on this month’s episode. Original...

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The Best Revenge, Episode 2: Rome

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In this episode host Stephen Heiner and guest Dr. Thomas Fleming discuss the Eternal City: Rome. Topics covered include: What makes it “eternal”? What happened to Rome and the papal states during the so-called “unification” of Italy? Why is the Victor Emmanuel monument an eyesore? Piazza Navona: what you should know The beauty of the Baths of Caracalla and the Colosseum Some important tips for the visitor, including importantly, how to spot the best gelato and what kind of wine you might ask for The legendary museum endurance of Gail Fleming Why Rick Steves should be avoided Original Air Date:...

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On the House: East is East, and West is Wuss, Part I

This piece was published in a very slightly different form in 1999.  It is being offered free to our free subscribers, and I hope that they will enjoy it.  I also hope that they will see their way to joining us more fully by subscribing to the website. If a civilized man, as it is sometimes said, can hold two ideas in his mind at the same time; post-civilized man goes one step farther and sees nothing wrong with maintaining contradictory opinions on any subject that comes up: We say simultaneously that the Russians are animalistic drunkards with no aptitude...

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Die Götterdämmerung

Germany and the rest of Western Europe are being invaded with weaponized immigration.  It has become apparent that Germany, not to be confused with the Federal Republic of Germany which is an abstraction or a “firm” as those who still consider themselves Germans call it, has all but lost its soul.  The objective correlative with its heritage has been broken by Nazi usurpation of much that was true and good and by the very effective supersecessionist reeducation program imposed on Germany after its defeat in WWII. Western liberalism was apparently more effective than the draconian real-existierende Sozialismus of communist East...

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Vienna

“If somebody were to prove to me once and for all that Christ is not Truth, and if indeed it was so that Truth lay outside Christ,” Dostoevsky famously proclaimed, “I would still choose Christ over Truth.”  Some years after the Russian writer had sounded this chord in one of his novels, Vasily Rozanov, in some ways his only spiritual heir, came up with his own version of the credo. Rozanov was a thinker who combined the flamboyance of Oscar Wilde with the originality of Friedrich Nietzsche and the modesty of Marcus Aurelius, and I have always marvelled at the...