The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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The Left’s Jihad Against the South, Conclusion On the House

This multi-cultural hatred of the West was, of course, anticipated in the Communist Manifesto; indeed, it can be traced back through the Enlightenment all the way to Michel de Montaigne in his “Essay on the Cannibals.”  However, Western self-hatred reached a new level of coherence in France after WW I.  When Paul Claudel, Catholic poet, patriot, and diplomat, spoke of preserving the religious and cultural traditions of the West, a coalition of Communists and surrealists denounced him for defending a civilization which the surrealists derided as inferior to all the cultures of the world, high and low.  If the classical...

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The Left’s Jihad Against the South, Part III

The History of the Revolution in Three Easy Lessons Lesson One: The revolution began during the Renaissance.  The very name “Renaissance” (or Renascence) suggests that mankind had gone through a long dark age, beginning roughly with the triumph of Christianity in the Age of Constantine.  The early proponents of this movement—classical humanists such as Petrarch and Boccaccio—had honorable goals: They wanted to restore classical Latin, recover ancient manuscripts that lay buried in monastic libraries, and acquire a knowledge of Greek. Like every other movement, however, the Renascence rapidly acquired other objectives;  some of them worthy, such as the civic humanist’s...

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The Left’s Jihad Against the South, Part II

Radicalizing Anti-Southern Bigotry The Adamses and their ilk represented the conservative/Old Yankee view of the South.  There was a more radical position before the War, that slavery was a moral evil of so black a color that slaveholders and those who defended them had to be eliminated.   This was the view of John Brown, Wendell Phillips and other radical abolitionists, whose Old Testament ferocity was all the more intense among Unitarians and atheists who had lost every other shred of religion and clung only to their millenarian fantasies of a New Jerusalem, wiped clean of sin, history, and human...

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The Left’s Jihad Against the South, Part I On the House

This is the slightly revised and expanded text of a lecture given in March at the Abbeville Institute’s program in Charleston. I Preface My title may strike readers as a bit alarmist.  The word “Jihad” conjures up images of unwashed religious fanatics in a terrorist campaign to eliminate any religious or cultural tradition they find alien.  One thinks immediately of the Taliban wrecking Buddhist shrines, of ISIS strapping their victims to the columns of an ancient temple in Palmyra before blowing both temple and victims to  smithereens.  By contrast, the campaign to eliminate the Southern Identity is being waged by...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Hilarity of Evil

I loathe photography on principle, along with all the other abominations of the Edwardian era which presage the ethical phantasmagoria of our times – notably women in trousers and a music-hall view of everything east of Brighton – yet there are moments when I wish we could publish photographs here.  With today’s post, I would have the gentle reader scrutinizing a snapshot of a young lady by the name of Valeria Rytvina.  Blond, not bad looking, she’s the very picture of what most people would call a normal girl. Last year, a woman in Yekaterinburg – a city in the...

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Properties of Blood I.4: Friendship, Part B

Greek Lessons in Friendships Friendship is not a simple phenomenon.  On the contrary, in every society there are varieties of attachments we should acknowledge as some form or another of friendship, and, if we go from culture to culture, we shall find as many variations on the theme of “friends” as on “spouses,” “priests,” and “rulers.”  Nonetheless, just as in the case of marriage, religion, and politics, there are fundamental similarities that override distinctions in language and social structure.  Nations and individuals are certainly not any more identical in their moral traditions than in their physical appearance, and yet it...

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Ransom Notes March 5–On the House

Ransom Notes  March 2 2016 Q: Several people have asked me about the Uzbek nanny in Russia who decapitated the child she was minding.  Some news stories have reported that she was distraught because her husband back in Uzbekistan had decided to take a second wife.  Other reports indicated that she was psychotic.  What really was her motivation? TJF: The answer should obvious to anyone familiar with the old Flip Wilson routine whose signature was “the devil made me do it.”  In this case the Uzbek nanny claims allah—which amounts to more or less the same thing—told her to murder...

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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...