The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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A False Flag Operation by Robert Peters

I asked Robert Peters to share his thoughts on the renewed demand to take down the Battle Flag in South Carolina.   This is his response.  TJF A False Flag Operation by Robert Peters Since the advent of abolitionism we have been plagued by a false narrative about the South and things Southern.  This narrative has ebbed and flowed throughout American history from its advent to the present.  Since the late 1960’s there has been a resurgence of the narrative, with its now being at high tide and raging.  Within that narrative, particularly since the late 1980’s, the Confederate Battle Flag or...

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Autodidact 5: Homer on Moral Values

The Code of the Aristocracy Achilles is far from being the only hero of the Iliad.  There are brilliant separate episodes involving other great heroes–Ajax, Diomedes, Odysseus, Amphilochus, Sarpedon, Aeneas, Hector, and Idomeneus, whose exploits I described in the previous section.  The name for these episodes is aristeia—from the Greek word meaning best—the moment of glory.  In these scenes we can get a glimpse of a basic principle of Greek morality that will last until the end of antiquity: the pursuit of excellence. In Book VI, as I have already mentioned, the young Lycian warrior Glaucus tells Diomedes, tells him...

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Autodidact 4: Homer on Friendship

Friendship Kinship is one key element in Greek social life, from the time of Homer down to the present.  They other is friendship, a term (as I have indicated) that includes kin-relations.  Homer’s word generally translated friendship is “philotes.”  The adjective philos means dear or one’s own and may be related to filius/filia in Latin, son and daughter.  This should give us a clue that kinship and friendship are not entirely distinct. Greek does not have a common expression like friends and family, because there is no sharp distinction.  All close members of a family are philoi, and to the...

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Reading For the Movies by Ray Olson 2

Reading After the Movies: William Wister Haines By Ray Olson Every so often, instead of reading a book before I see the movie made of it, I’ll read it afterward because I want to see whether it’s as good or better. Often the same kind of clue that gets me to read before—the writer’s reputation, the book’s, or even, in the case I’m going to present, a name—boosts my curiosity to read after. In Command Decision (1948), bomb group CO K. C. Dennis (Clark Gable) is sending his planes deep into Germany to destroy three separate facilities involved in producing jet aircraft....

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From Under the Rubble 5: The Best Party That Dollars (Canadian or Brunei) Can Buy

The Best Party That Dollars (Canadian or Brunei)  Can Buy Thomas Fleming The Best Congress Money Can Buy is divided over President Obama’s demand for “fast-track” trade authorization, which maintains presidential authority to make trade deals without interference from a reluctant Congress that might be too sensitive to the needs of the American people.  The authorization bill is so complicated that members of Congress are voting on it without knowing, much less understanding the contents.  All we really do know is that the globalists are reaching out to Europe and the Pacific Rim in order to create “a more perfect union.”...

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The Best Revenge 3: A Party for Boethius

The Best Revenge 3:  A Party for Boethius Thursday we held our first little get-together.  It was too modest to be called an “event.”  About 20 friends came for a glass or two of wine to our crumbling stuccoed shack on Highcrest Road.  We cannot afford expensive stuff for this many people, but we did serve a decent Merlot from Mirassou and a better Portuguese Douro  (Altano).   I don’t remember which pinot grigio we served, but one of the guests in a misguided gesture of friendship brought a bottle of E.B. (Ezra Brooks contribution to single barrel Bourbon).  After...

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Autodidact: Homer 3

Kith and Kin By Thomas Fleming Athena’s intervention in the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles reminds us how powerful and terrifying the gods can be.  The gods are not, however, all-powerful or all-knowing, not even Zeus.  They are subject to the usual passions–love, hatred, envy, and revenge, and when they are not making war on human beings, they are fighting with each other.  Zeus is undoubtedly wise and powerful, a god of justice, but it is all he can do to keep his wife, brother, and children in line. Here is a question that has tormented scholars: Can we find...

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From Under the Rubble 4: Washington’s Criminal Conspiracy

Washington’s Criminal Conspiracy By Thomas Fleming One way or another, the provisions of the Patriot Act will be confirmed and strengthened.  There is nothing that either libertarian Republicans (Rand Paul) or leftist civil libertarians (Bernie Sanders) can do to stop it.  Conspiring against the citizenry is the lifeblood of our government. Most of the debate on the renewal has been focussed on practical and legal matters:  Are the Feds listening to my telephone calls and monitoring my email?  Has Federal surveillance actually stopped acts of terrorism?   Does this surveillance violate the US Constitution? These are serious questions, and they are...

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From Under the Rubble 3: Hijab Rules!

Hijab Rules By Thomas Fleming In an 8-1 decision that surprised no one, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Muslim woman’s right to wear a head-scarf in defiance of an employer’s dress code.  Abercrombie and Fitch—a maker of overpriced preppy status clothing—had implemented a dress code that required sales staff to dress in in the style of A&F’s product line.  Among the prohibited items was any form of head-covering.  A Muslim  woman took the job without informing the company either of her religion or her intention to wear a head scarf.  A&F’s lawyers took the line that...

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The Autodidact: Homer 2

Man in his Place Where to begin?  If we were liberals, we would have to begin with the individual or with the Greek concept of the individual, and then we would show how the individual interfaced with the state, which either invaded or protected his rights.  Alas for the liberals, the state has not been invented yet, and the Greeks hardly even have the concept of the individual.  Our heroes do have names, of course, which implies that they could tell each other apart—and some of them seem self-willed to the point of egomaniacal.  But in addition to a regular...