The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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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...

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A Chump For Trump, #1: Unsolicited Advice to the Powers-That-Be

Sessions, not Ryan, Would be the Sensible Pick of a Brokered Convention I have long believed that there is a global power elite that manipulates the political process to its advantage. This strikes me as a “no duh” assertion. What separates me from some of my more conspiratorial brethren, is that I don’t believe this power elite is omnipotent. They cannot foresee or control for every contingency. The success of Donald Trump’s campaign is one such contingency they didn’t foresee, and the rather ham-handed way they have responded to it demonstrates that the conspiracy is not all powerful. The Powers...

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Trump and Trade

A couple of days ago I briefly tuned in to Mark Levin’s radio show. He was talking about Trump and trade, making the “comparative advantage” point you might remember from Econ. 101.  That if each country makes what it can most cheaply, such as America designing iPhones and China assembling them (my examples, not his), then everybody comes off better.  But if we impose tariffs, then prices go up for everybody, most hurting the poor when they go to buy stuff. So Trump’s attacks on Ford for moving a plant to Mexico, which on April 5 he called an “absolute...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Brothers Kardashian

The fable of the grasshopper and the ant, attributed to Aesop, is seminal to Western culture with its cult of human industry.  Where a Russian or an Indian finds room and reason for relying on God or fate, an Englishman or a Frenchman hearkens to the moral of the fable, which miscasts fatalism as indolence and insouciance as folly.  Dostoevsky’s Karamazov brothers, in consequence, step aside in this culture to make room for TV’s Kardashian sisters, as even the most intimate details of one’s private life’s take on the configurations of ardent toil. The English language is largely blind to...

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Properties of Blood I.4: Friends and Neighbors, Conclusion

I realized that this chapter, as I reread and edited it,  needed more work.  I had intentionally left a hole for a brief passage discussing the conventional ancient view of friendship to be found in the Scriptures.  This is a necessary anticipation of the ending of the chapter.   First, the omitted passage, with the preceding paragraph. For ancient Greeks and Romans, then, “friendship” was a complex notion that might include kinship, an affectionate bond between men who respect each other, and a practical alliance for some agreed upon purpose.  However complicated the idea(s), these connections—and not some rational abstraction...

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Latin, Episode 3

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In this episode of our regular series, Latin, Dr. Fleming reviews the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, in Latin and examines more deeply some of its sentences by looking at how they are rendered in Latin (and originally, in Greek). He then goes on to discuss the second declension, the genitive case, and begins to look at the subjunctive. He ends the episode on a fruitful tangent by exploring true and false “restoration” when it comes to languages…and art. Original Air Date: April 6, 2016 Show Run Time: 1 hour 17 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen...

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Foreign Affairs, Episode 2

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In this episode of our occasional series, Foreign Affairs, Drs. Trifkovic and Fleming discuss the recent rulings regarding “war crimes” and “genocide” as applied to Radovan Karadzic and Vojislav Seselj. What is the significance of these verdicts both regionally and for greater Europe? We apologize for some cuts in Dr. Fleming’s audio which could not be repaired and for the occasional phone ring in the background. Dr. Trifkovic is in high demand!​ Original Air Date: April 5, 2016 Show Run Time: 52 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner   The Fleming Foundation Presents Foreign...

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We’ll Hang Donald Trump From a Sour Apple Tree

The irrepressible Donald Trump has once again embarrassed his supporters by blurting out the first silly response that floated through what passes for his mind.  When Chris Matthews asked the candidate who would be punished if abortion were recriminalized, Trump did not–as he should have–refuse to discuss any hypothetical question; he did not even use the rabbinical trick of turning the tables on Matthews, asking what the hack “thought” about the matter.  No, without giving the subject a moment’s thought, Trump blurted out the gaffe that has gone round the world.  If abortion were made a crime, then the perpetrators—including the pregnant...

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Wednesday’s Child: More Flesh by the Pound

I signed off last week’s post with the observation that rehabilitation – especially the posthumous kind – is a bribe that legality slips to justice, and since then I’ve read a little of the story of St. Joan of Arc, illustrating my point rather neatly.  It may be remembered that, a quarter of a century after they had burned her at the stake in the marketplace at Rouen, the woman in question was exonerated on appeal by the Inquisitor General.  A quarter of a century, it seems – in other words, a generation – is how long it usually takes,...

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Don’t Think: Just Feel the Bern

Political candidates who prey on anxieties have succeeded in exploiting the ignorance of all too many Americans. It is frightening that such candidates could rise to prominence in this country. We need better education to prevent the appeal of such demagogues. This is the sort of stuff we hear every day from leftist pundits who are convinced that their side has a monopoly on intelligence and education. Anyone who has been to even a halfway respectable college will become a leftist Democrat. The connection between education and leftism is something like the law of gravity. Just as we know that an...