The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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Trump Begins New Phase of Campaign

Donald Trump’s easy victory in his home state of New York rockets him into the next phase of his campaign: The long march taken by the Okies to California. Albeit in a custom-built 747. Some pundits have criticized Trump for not having a “ground game” and not “knowing the rules” of the nominating process, especially in Colorado. But the process was rigged from the beginning against somebody like him – somebody like Ron Paul, whose 2008 campaign sparked GOP convention rules that prevented his name being put in nomination at the 2012 convention. If the rules are rigged, why play...

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Live Until You Die (on the house)

This is an improved version of an essay first published in 1999 “I grow old learning many things,” said Solon, a poet well-known for his wisdom and for his longevity: He lived to be almost 80.  Although, as my old teacher Douglas Young pointed out, Solon’s statement might be interpreted to mean “too much education makes one prematurely old,” the point is clear enough and as true today as it was 2400 years ago when the Athenian poet-statesman lived long enough to see his beloved city acquiesce in the rule of a tyrant: A wise man never ceases to learn new...

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Properties of Blood I.7: Kith and Kin, Part B

Athens: A Commonwealth of Blood and Its Enemies In modern Europe and North America, where kinship ties are weak and families scattered across a continent like so many handfuls of breadcrumbs flung out to the birds, it is hard to form a mental picture of how the obligations of kinship can hold a community together.  It is easier to appreciate the importance of kinship by looking at pre-modern societies, such as the cities of Medieval Tuscany or the wandering children of Israel.  A good place to start is classical Athens, a city often held up as an example of enlightened...

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Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 4: Sophocles Part I

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This month our exploration into the links between Christianity and Classical culture take us into the world of Greek tragedy, specifically the world of Sophocles. Dr. Thomas Fleming explains how Greek tragedy was delivered and acted, how it was composed, and how the seven plays we do have of Sophocles may have managed to survive for 2,500 years. In the second half of the episode we explore Oedipus Rex, the first in the cycle of the Theban plays. How do the Greeks view this tension between free will and divine foreknowledge? How can we compare the Greek view to the...

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The Best Revenge, Episode 3: Why Poetry Matters Part I

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In this episode of our regular series, The Best Revenge, Dr. Fleming makes the case for poetry. Not just the “poetry” that is the affectation of the dirty hippie, but the poetry that yearns to breathe deep within our souls. Dr. Fleming prescribes poetry as a “mental health remedy” and points out that there is indeed such a thing as “good poetry” that goes beyond a matter of subjective taste. If you are what you eat, so too poetry can enrich the rational animal that we are. Listen too if you wish to hear one of the rare times that...

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Aristotle III: Ethics, the Foundation of Politics

Aristotle’s most important observations on human life are found in his Eudemian and Nicomachean Ethics, the Politics and Constitution of Athens, the Rhetoric, and the Poetics.  Because ethics, politics, rhetoric, and poetry are all concerned with human behavior (ethos), he seems to have lumped them together generically as ethica.  In all these works, Aristotle says many invaluably true things about human behavior, politics, and art, but what is essential is not the specific truths or even his system itself, which may strike us moderns as entirely too teleological (that is, predicated on the assumption that all natural processes have a...

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Book Review: Return to Order

Part of restoring the best of what has passed is understanding where we came from.  Only then can we start to put together commonsense solutions for how to go forward.  Few books in today’s publishing world do this better than John Horvat II’s Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I only read this book recently, even though it has been in print since 2013.  The impetus?  I recently traveled to the United States to visit my parents and there were two books they had bought and sent me since...

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Wednesday’s Child: Just Don’t Call It Praetorian

A physiognomic peculiarity of Viktor Zolotov, who until last week and for the past 13 years had been head of Russia’s presidential bodyguard, is that he is a Doppelgänger of the man he was charged with protecting from enemies foreign and domestic.  Dogs sometimes grow to look like their owners, and evidently this applies not only to old ladies’ poodles, but to guard dogs as well.  The German word I’m using, incidentally, meaning a body double, is not so much pretentiousness on my part as consciousness of an historical rhyme. If Zolotov is a Putin clone, what used to be...

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Palio

On an intercontinental flight these days one has dozens of options.  Not only do they have the most recent movies available for your enjoyment, but classics as well.  They even have classic television.  I pulled up an episode from the original Man from U.N.C.L.E. (I gave it at least 15 minutes of my time). There was a documentary section that offered a film that I was particularly interested in: Palio.  It’s shot mostly in Italian (with subtitles, of course) and is about the annual horse races that occur in Siena during July and August.  It’s beautifully filmed and follows two different riders...

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Why you should go to South Carolina this summer

I recently described  Dr. Clyde Wilson as one of the most important figures in my intellectual formation about true American history.  While I met him first at a Rockford Institute event, it was at four different Abbeville Institute events that I got to hear his lectures and have many more conversations and meals with him and other unrepentant unreconstructeds.  I think you might enjoy not just his company, but that of our namesake, Dr. Thomas Fleming, this summer in South Carolina. Dr. Donald Livingston, the creator and driving force  behind the Abbeville Institute, has put together a great series of talks this year,...