Thomas Fleming (born 1945) is a traditionalist Catholic writer, former president of the Rockford Institute, and former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, a political commentary periodical, published monthly, and directed at a paleoconservative audience. The Forbes Media Guide Five Hundred, 1994 states:
Thomas Fleming was awarded a doctorate in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completing his dissertation on Attic lyric poetry, and until joining a series of conservative groups, taught Latin at a small, private middle school in South Carolina. In addition to editing, Fleming writes on topics concerning the literature of pagan Greece as well as political issues.
Fleming was introduced to the paleoconservative public by Robert W. Whitaker of South Carolina in 1982. At that time, he was invited to contribute to Whitaker's book, The New Right Papers, which put together ways whereby conservative populists could be elected to office through an alliance of people from both parties in the Republican Party. (Whitaker later joined the Reagan administration as a junior member.)
Now a recognized name in the conservative movement of the region where he lived, Fleming became a founding member and board member of the League of the South, from which he later resigned when controversy arose, as well as an affiliated scholar of its educational arm, the League of the South Institute. He was the founding editor of the Southern Partisan magazine, started in 1979, until he left when controversy arose there as well. In 1985, after the death of author Leopold Tyrmand, Fleming became editor of Chronicles Magazine, and in 1988 co-wrote The Conservative Movement with Paul Gottfried.
As of June 2015, Thomas Fleming is retired as editor of Chronicles magazine. As of the July 2015 issue of Chronicles, the magazine's former Senior Editor For Books, Chilton Williamson Jr., is currently editor for the publication. Fleming continues to occasionally contribute articles to Chronicles.
Criticizing mass immigration into the United States, Fleming, in an essay in Immigration and the American Future, writes how American elites peddle a form of propositionalism:
This abstract approach to assimilation derives, ultimately, from the conviction - as naive as it is chauvinistic - that America is an exceptional country, one not rooted in blood, soil, and kinship, but a nation "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Proponents of this are quick to label the more old-fashioned view, that the nation is a metaphorical extended family, as bigotry, but no amount of repetition or rhetorical extravagance can disguise the dangerous logic that is at work. If I love my country because it is mine, I must be loyal to it, even when I disagree with its policies, but I do not necessarily regard it as superior to everyone else's country, and I may have no inclination to say that all other countries, to the extent that they are legitimate and worthy of respect, must approximate my own.
He then shows how it relates to immigration:
But that this is exactly what the advocates of the "propositional nation" do insist upon. The United States is not only the best nation in the history of the world, but also it is the beacon to all mankind, the natural home of all the good and decent people in the world and the enemy to all regimes that deny their subjects equal rights. Thus, by the same argument, a propositional nation is obliged to open its borders to strangers "yearning to breathe free," but it is also justified in engaging in endless crusades to impose its propositions on the rest of the world.
Chronicles Magazine often runs news articles of interest to the old right. Writing on Congressman Ron Paul and his bid for the presidency, Fleming states:
Fleming has made several controversial statements regarded by some as racist in nature, although he denies that he and most paleoconservatives support racism. Examples of incendiary comments include the following statements taken from his columns in Chronicles:
The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed Fleming as a key intellectual in what it calls the "neo-Confederate" movement. In a 2002 article on the paleoconservative trend in right wing politics, the SPLC stated: "While mainstream neo-conservatives are tight with the GOP, so-called paleocon intellectuals have carved a niche for themselves as staunch, old-right traditionalists who romanticize the pre-civil rights era South. Fleming, who is Chronicles' editor, has gone so far as to describe the 19th century Ku Klux Klan as a 'national liberation army.'"
Fleming has strenuously denied these allegations, writing:
It is an easy trick of propaganda to portray all natural affections in the dark colors of prejudice. Why would anyone like the South if it were not for slavery and Jim Crow? Who but an antisemite objects to the slaughter of the (semitic) Palestinians? Only a communist or a Jew would oppose the Führer. . . .
The average American does have a conservative heart, but his mind has been so addled by bad teachers, bad books, and bad ideas that he often feels guilty if he prefers to limit his charity to his neighbors, if he resents the money squandered on public schools, if he does not share in the general glee over the massive immigration that is transforming the country of his fathers into something he cannot recognize. He is easily intimidated when the left condemns this vague, inchoate mixture of family loyalty and patriotism as the bigotry of the "extreme right." In fact, the ultraleft Southern Poverty Law Center is always railing against "right-wing extremism," by which they mean everyone to the right of ''The New Republic--up to and including Matthew Hale. . . .
Why should any conservative care if he is attacked by the leftists of the SPLC and ADL or those of the New York Times? These people have lies in their mouths, blood on their hands for the great genocides of the 20th century, and guilt on their consciences for the seduction of the innocent and the destruction of our civilization. Our task, as our late friend Mel Bradford put it, is to remember who we are and stop our ears against the siren songs of the revolutionists, which have proved to be not the anthems of a new dawn but a message of hate and filth that leads to destruction.
After leading Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture for over 30 years, Dr. Thomas Fleming is retiring. His last issue as editor is the June number.