The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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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,...

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Tom Fleming’s Complainte On the House

This was my swan song, published last June (2015) George Garret used to tell the story of a young writer who visited him in York Harbor, Maine,  The writer, who had worked in a prison, wore a cap emblazoned with the letters SCUP, which stood for something like South Carolina Union of Prisons.  Sharing some of George’s sense of humor–which bordered on the wicked–he went through the streets of the resort town and stopped ill-dressed vacationers  and said in his most polite Southern manner, “Excuse me, sir, but I am with the South Carolina Ugly Patrol, and it is my...

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

 The Nature of Kinship And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.   [Matthew 10:21] Many things, apart from faith in Christ, divide Christians from the conservatives, liberals, and leftists who think within the revolutionary tradition.  While the children of the revolution believe firmly in a human progress that insures that every day and every way things will get better and better, Christians have been promised a day of judgment that will come in response to...

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The indefatigable Dr. Clyde Wilson

I was in my late 20s when I first met Dr. Clyde Wilson at a Rockford Institute event.  If you’ve ever had the privilege of meeting Dr. Wilson and listening to that singular gravelly voice, you’ve known learning and gentility bound together with a ready smile, no matter how curmudgeonly he might be in other fora. I remember sitting on a porch with him on Johns Island, South Carolina, at my first Abbeville Institute event (I would go on to attend four more).  I had a question related to what I then referred to as the “Battle of Antietam” (my yankee-addled...

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Merle Haggard, Requiescat in Pace by Robert Reavis

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This tribute was penned by our Okie friend Robert Reavis, who  frequently comments on this site. Country singer, song writer, and middle American poet, Merle Haggard, died at his home in California this past Wednesday at age 79.  To paraphrase one of  his acquaintances, the blind poet Ronnie Millsap,“ his life was almost like a song but not too sad to write.” In many ways Merle Haggard was an old Ghost Rider in the Sky who had roots in Oklahoma that dried up with the dust bowl that sent his mother and father to California, where Merle was born.  To be...