Thomas Fleming

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No News Is Good News

Why does anyone follow the news?  I am not referring to people who more or less have to know what is being said about current events.  Investors, naturally, want to know about the rumors that can drive markets up or

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The Ugly Beautiful Losers

“Beautiful losers” was the phrase Sam Francis borrowed from Leonard Cohen to sum up the failure of the American conservative movement.  Beautiful or not, American conservatives have been losers from their movement’s inception, and the same can be said for

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A Visit to Ali Pasha, Part 2

The main attraction in Ioannina is still the Kastro, the Turkish fortress that served as the Ottoman capital of the territory of Epirus, ruled for 30 years by Ali Pasha, a dashing Albanian warlord who accidentally helped to spark the

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A Visit to Ali Pasha

“Why do you go to Ioannina”?  Pronouncing the town’s name very carefully in four syllables for our benefit, our driver broke the silence of several hours on the road from Athens during which the entire conversation had been limited to

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Living With the Past

Returning from the Abbeville Institute’s conference on Confederate symbols, I began thinking of all the things I failed to say in my talk on the campaign of cultural genocide waged against the South.  I had addressed my argument to people

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America’s Best Friend, R.I.P.

A funeral can sometimes seem like a going out of business sale, an occasion for taking stock, not so much of the deceased as of your friendship with him.  It is strange that, presented with such an opportunity, pastors and

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Nuclear Baksheesh

For several months Republicans and Democrats have been jawing over the nuclear “deal” with Iran.  Unlike so many partisan debates, this one may actually involve issues of national security, but only if both sides are serious.  The Iranians have legitimate

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Mapping Verona

A map of Verona is open, the small strange city;

With its river running round and through, it is river-embraced,

And over this city for a whole long winter season,

Through streets on a map, my thoughts have hovered and

The Shape of Sicilian Water
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The Shape of Sicilian Water

When Metternich famously dismissed Italy as “a geographical expression,” the peninsula was divided into states ruled by (to name only the principals) Austrians, the Vatican, and Spanish Bourbons.  Yet even 150 years after the Kingdom of Piedmont united Italy by

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Tom Fleming’s Complainte

George Garrett 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

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Family Tradition

Michelle Parker, a young mother of two, disappeared from her Florida home in 2011 and has never been seen again.  The only suspect in her disappearance is her husband, who has left the state with the two children.  Michelle’s mother,

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Why They Fought

The late Jean-François Revel wrote a once-famous book with the title Comment les démocraties finissent.  Revel was not a stupid man, and I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon “we tired the sun with talking,” but as a political philosopher, he

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A Plague on Both Their Houses

Layze Ameeze de tayze ameeze sont mayze ameeze.”

A drunken redneck recited this at me late one night in 1965, at Andy’s Lounge.  Andy’s was one of Charleston’s last “blind tigers”—a speakeasy, complete with gambling and homely B-girls,

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A Little List, 1

  As Some day it may happen that a victim must be found
  I’ve got a little list, I’ve got a little list
  Of society offenders who might well be under ground
  And never would be missed, who never would be

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A Different Drum

You turn on the radio for the weather report: “Sunny and warm today, with a high near 80.  Light breeze out of the south at five miles per hour.  Chance of rain less than ten percent.”  Outside your window, you

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Mencken-Barnum Awards Announced

For months there have been rumors circulating about the establishment of a set of annual prizes, commemorating two great American geniuses, H.L. Mencken and P.T. Barnum. The prizes are inspired by a single sentence from each genius:

Mencken: “Nobody ever

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Welcome to the United States of George Soros

My wife keeps asking me how so many people seem to have the time to go out and demonstrate against  the brutality of “racist white cops.”  She asked a similar question, when there were regular marches against violence in the

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Political Liberty and the Classical Tradition

When people ask me, “Why study the classics?”, I give the same answer that has been given for past 2,500 years or more: So as not to end up a stupid barbarian. As G.K. Chesterton remarked nearly 100 years ago,

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Aliens and Strangers

“Pope Francis: Caring for the Poor Doesn’t Make You a Communist,” screamed the headline the day before Halloween.  Perhaps not, I thought when I read the story, but why is it that caring for the world’s poor always seems to

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An Appeal from Thomas Fleming

Your mind is a terrible thing to waste—which is what will happen if Chronicles and its web go under because of lack of support.

The election is over, and the Republicans have won their much predicted victory. It was only

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Cuber Libre

It is a good thing Cuba is so insignificant a place, because if it had any importance—apart from its faded  glories in the cigar industry—it would be an even more royal screw-up, for American foreign policy, than our disasters in

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Dante’s Path to Heaven

Dante Alighieri died here in Ravenna, a little city where any sane man or woman might well choose to live and die.  Like most people, I come here from time to time to stare stupidly at the Roman and Byzantine

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Thugs and Tarbabies

Ferguson is on fire? Blacks are looting and trashing black stores, homes, and even churches? Who could have imagined? There is really nothing to be said about such  events, as predictable as a celebrity face lift and as unsightly as

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Immigration—and the Politics of Hate

As luck would have it, we Chronicles editors were thinking about immigration, the theme of the January issue, when the President issued his marching orders on Univision. I was not especially interested in the details drawn up by the President’s

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Cos’ and Effect

The reemergence of rape accusations against Bill Cosby have divided this nation of TV-watchers. Most members of Mr. Cosby’s race and a large percentage of his fellow males have responded with a skepticism that is not entirely unjustified. It is

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This Land is My Land

I am writing a piece refuting some of the pseudo-Christian arguments against restricting immigration. Much of the evidence I had previously collected for the chapter of my never-ending book project, but I had been looking more closely at some of

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Political Poltergeists

“They’re back,” cries the little girl in the movie, when the demons from Hell reappear on her television screen.  The phrase, a cliché in the cliché-driven headlines of the Washington Post and Time, comes to mind at the beginning

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What, Me Worry?, Part I

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During a long and less than spectacular lunch at a tourist joint on the Piazza Brà in Verona today, I could not help overhearing an American couple talking about their trip, their hopes, their dreams. They were dressed regulation Rick

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Rebuilding the Family Castle

A police officer stops two black teenagers sashaying down the middle of a public street.  According to law enforcement and at least one noninvolved witness, one of the two—a six-foot four-inch, 300-pound behemoth—charges the cop and goes for his gun. 

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Rumors of Wars

“What did you think of the President’s speech” I have been asked more than once only to reply,

“Not much, in fact, nothing at all.”

“But, surely you’re interested in the details of his plan to stop ISL in its

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Willie Sutton Answers Eric Holder

Born in a Cadillac in Beverley Hills
Raised on gin and vitamin pills,
Robbed him a bank, when he was only three
Now he’s locked up in the penitentiary,
Willie, Willie Sutton..

Someone taught me this parody of “Davy Crockett,”

Thinking Outside the Boxes
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Thinking Outside the Boxes

And the people in the houses

All went to the university

Where they were put in boxes

And they came out all the same . . .

In “Little Boxes” Malvina Reynolds was protesting against the conformity of the 1950’s,

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The Alphaville Dictionary III

Ponzio’s iconic diner (in South Jersey) is turning 50; designer Milton Glaser is creating an iconic environmental logo for his line of eye ware; steel and Domino’s sugar are iconic industries; Smokey Bear is an iconic symbol of wildfire prevention;

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Up to Our Eyeballs in Gaza

I listen to Rush Limbaugh about 15 minutes a day, which is the time it takes by car to go to and from my house for lunch. Fifteen minutes is more than enough time to get the gist of what

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The Gentile Church V

Instead of celebrating the Jewish Sabbath (the seventh day of the week), the faithful gradually broke with Jewish custom and assembled, instead, on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, which they identified with the first day of

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And All Shall Equal Be

This is our annual summer vacation issue, which means I am free to ramble on like an old lizard soaking up gin and sunshine at the beach and telling stories that all begin, “Did I ever tell you about the

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The Death Throes of an Imperial Nation

Iowa is bracing itself for the storm. The danger is not coming from the tornadoes that sweep across the plains this time of year, but from the Central American illegal immigrant “children,” eager to partake of the joys of life

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The Gentile Church IV: The Apostolic Church

Following the Master’s instructions, about 120 of Jesus’ followers gathered in Jerusalem under the leadership of Peter. The first order of business was the selection of a replacement for Judas. The method adopted shows us something of the way the

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The Gentile Church, III: The Galileans

The early Church faced many grave crises and challenges, many of which can be summed up in one question: What kind of Church was it to be? In an important sense, this question was whether it was to be a

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The Gentile Church Act II: An Excursus

To understand how the Church disentangled itself from Judaism, it is necessary to know a little bit about what the term “Jew” means. Modern Christians often seem to think that all the Old Testament patriarchs are Jews, though Adam and

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The Gentile Church, Act I

The Prefect was in a difficult spot. As an honest Roman official, he knew better than to get mixed up in the turbulent local politics. The local religious establishment wanted a rebel to be executed. They said the rebel claimed

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Problems in Democracy 01

The House Ethics Committee has changed reporting  requirements for members who receive free travel from a variety of groups. The travel will still be reported but only on the House Clerk’s website, making it less likely for watchdog groups—aka

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The Wasted Century

The Great War and its inevitable successor have been called Europe’s civil war, and there is some truth in this characterization.  Divided by language, religion, and culture, the nations of Europe were nonetheless united in a common civilization that developed

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The Alphaville Dictionary II

To understand the ideology of the regime, it is necessary to look at some of the most politicized areas of speech, namely everything to do with sex and gender, and—the topic of this installment—race and ethnicity. Without exhausting our entire

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The Alphaville Dictionary

Some years ago, I proposed a series of short pieces on language. The project never materialized, but it is really more appropriate for the website than the magazine. Here is the beginning:

In Jean-Luc Goddard’s film Alphaville, a secret

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The Bowe Bergdahl Gaffe

Back in 1988 Michael Kinsley (in the Times of London) famously defined the gaffe as the occasion when “a politician tells the truth.” Kinsley himself immediately watered down his elegant definition by adding “some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to

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Virtual Neighborhoods

“‘I am half sick of shadows,’ said The Lady of Shalott.”

“We’ve turned into a nation of TV watchers, video-game players, and virtual sex addicts,” observed the cheerful old cynic.

“How is that so different,” asked the resentful 30-something adolescent,