Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Oberlin Manufactured the Hate-Crime Hoax of the Year

By Michelle Malkin
August 23, 2013
Tom Weston, lay leader at the First United Methodist Church, talks about the recent racial incidents that occurred at Oberlin College. The incidents turned out to be a hoax. (AP)
Busted. Stone-cold busted. Just as I suspected, “progressive” pranksters at Oberlin College have been definitively unmasked as the perpetrators of phony campus “hate crimes” that scored international headlines in March. The blabbermouth academic administrators who helped fuel the hysteria are now running for cover.
The Associated PressUSA Today, The New York TimesMSNBC,Yahoo News and the Huffington Post were among the media outlets that trumpeted the story of supposed racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism run amok at my alma mater. Throughout the winter, anti-black and anti-gay graffiti, swastikas, and a shadowy figure in a “KKK hood” surfaced on the tiny campus outside Cleveland, Ohio. Black Entertainment Television Newsdecried the hate outbreaks and “KKK sighting.”
Because of my firsthand knowledge of Oberlin’s long history of self-manufactured hate-crime incidents, the fake-hate-crime alarm bells went off immediately for me when I read the reports. Back in the 1990s, race-obsessed nutballs at Oberlin College cooked up a horrid hate-crime hoax. Asian-American students claimed that a phantom racist had spray-painted anti-Asian racial epithets on a campus landmark rock. It turned out that it was a warped Asian-American student who perpetrated the dirty deed.
Student newspapers were filled with complaints about imaginary racism. One Asian-American student accused a library worker of racism after the poor staffer asked the grievance-mongering student to lower the blinds where she was studying. A black student accused an ice-cream shop owner of racism after he told the student she was not allowed to sit at an outside table because she hadn’t purchased any items from his store.
My suspicions about the latest “hate” crime were bolstered by police statements that the “KKK hood”-wearing menace was actually a female student wrapped in a blanket. Hollywood darling and Oberlin alumnus Lena Dunham was undaunted, however, in ginning up emotional calls for Obie solidarity on Twitter, which the AP dutifully reported as “news.”My warnings and reports on previous Obie hoaxes, alas, were not deemed AP-newsworthy.
The orgy of self-flagellation swelled. Liberal grievance-mongers applauded the administration’s decision to shut down classes. Faculty, students and opportunists took to the airwaves and the Internet to bemoan “white privilege,” institutional bigotry, lack of diversity, yada, yada, yada.
And now, the rest of the story. According to police reports published byChuck Ross of The Daily Caller News Foundation this week, two students had ‘fessed up to most of the incidents (and fellow students suspect they are responsible for all of them). The Oberlin Police Department identified the hoaxers as Dylan Bleier (a student worker bee for President Obama’s Organizing for Action and a member of the Oberlin College Democrats) and Matthew Alden. Bleier told police the pair posted inflammatory signs and a Nazi flag around campus to “joke” and “troll” their peers.
Investigators “caught them red-handed” trying to circulate anti-Muslim fliers, and a search of Bleier’s email confirmed he had used a fake account to harass a female student. Cops told Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, but he failed to pursue any criminal action. The two students were removed from campus before the bogus “KKK” brouhaha and news-making shutdown.
Krislov not only remained silent about the two pranksters, but he also stoked the fires of political correctness and helped fuel the false notion that real bigotry had pervaded the campus. The spring edition of the Oberlin College alumni magazine opened with a self-congratulatory essay from Krislov titled “A Fitting Response.”
After perversely bragging about the “national and international news” headlines on the “bias incidents (that) disrupted our campus community,” Krislov clucked that “similar things have occurred at other colleges.” Which, of course, is inadvertently true. As I’ve reported for 20 years, American college campuses are the most fertile grounds for fake hate.
Krislov then praised “students, faculty, staff, alumni and fellow Oberlin residents” who “turned hate into an opportunity to educate.” Of course, “hate” had nothing to do with it. And the police reports suggest that Krislov knew it. The rash of “intolerance” that littered the Oberlin campus was a symptom of juvenile delinquency and perverse self-delusion. Instead of examining their guilt in coddling hate-crime hoaxers, Krislov giddily promoted new efforts “strengthening the emphasis on diversity.”
There are other adults who deserve to be called out. As Cornell law professor and blogger William Jacobson, who has pressed the administration for months about the cover-up, notes: “Oberlin continues the wall of silence which delayed for months disclosure of the hoax. It’s time for Oberlin to reveal who knew what, and when, particularly as to the oversight exercised by the Board of Trustees.”
Sad to say, this is the sorry state of liberal arts colleges in America today: Extreme identity politics, multiculturalism and pedagogical self-indulgence are creating a generation of race trolls enabled by tenured cultural Marxist punks raking in beaucoup bucks. The bursting of the higher-ed bubblecan’t come fast enough.

Thanks, Mr. L

Elmore Leonard’s life-changing advice. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Obamacare’s Hierarchy of Privilege

No one who favors the law wants to be bound by it. 

n his radio show the other day, Hugh Hewitt caught me by surprise and asked me about running for the United States Senate from New Hampshire. My various consultants, pollsters, PACs, and exploratory committees haven’t fine-tuned every detail of my platform just yet, but I can say this without a doubt: I will not vote for any “comprehensive” bill, whether on immigration, health care, or anything else. “Comprehensive” today is a euphemism for interminably long, poorly drafted, and entirely unread — not just by the people’s representatives but by our robed rulers, too (how many of those Supreme Court justices actually plowed through every page of Obamacare when its “constitutionality” came before them?). The 1862 Homestead Act, which is genuinely comprehensive, is two handwritten pages in clear English. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is 500 times as long, is not about patients or care, and neither protects the former nor makes the latter affordable.

So what is it about? On Wednesday, the Nevada AFL-CIO passed a resolution declaring that “the unintended consequences of the ACA will lead to the destruction of the 40-hour work week.” That’s quite an accomplishment for a “health” “care” “reform” law. But the poor old union heavies who so supported Obamacare are now reduced to bleating that they should be entitled to the same opt-outs secured by big business and congressional staffers. It’s a very strange law whose only defining characteristic is that no one who favors it wants to be bound by it.

Meanwhile, on the very same day as the AFL-CIO was predicting the death of the 40-hour week, the University of Virginia announced plans to boot working spouses off its health plan beginning January 1 because the Affordable Care Act has made it unaffordable: It’s projected to add $7.3 million dollars to the university’s bill in 2014 alone.

As Nancy Pelosi famously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” But the problem with “comprehensive” legislation is that, when everything’s in it, nothing’s in it. The Affordable Care Act means whatever President Obama says it means on any particular day of the week. Whether it applies to you this year, next year, or not at all depends on the whim of the sovereign, and whether your CEO golfs with him on Martha’s Vineyard. A few weeks back, the president unilaterally suspended the law’s employer mandate. Under the U.S. Constitution, he doesn’t have the power to do this, but judging from the American people’s massive shrug of indifference he might as well unilaterally suspend the Constitution, too. Obamacare is not a law, in the sense that all persons are equal before it, but a hierarchy of privilege; for example, senators value their emir-sized entourages and don’t want them to quit, so it is necessary to provide the flunkies who negotiated and drafted the Affordable Care Act an exemption from the legislation they imposed on the citizenry. Once again, the opt-out is not legal. As the Wall Street Journal trenchantly observed, “OPM has no authority to pay for insurance plans that lack FEHBP contracts, nor does the Affordable Care Act permit either exchange contributions or a unilateral bump in Congressional pay in return for less overall compensation.”

OPM has no authority to pay for plans that lack FEHBP? Who knew?

Despite being the presumptive next senator from New Hampshire, I am in fact an immigrant, and, although I do my best to assimilate, I never feel more foreign than when discussing “health” “care” “reform.” Across the planet, my readers from Tajikistan to Tuvalu are wondering: Is an OPM a new kind of procedure? Is it the latest high-tech stent or prosthetic? But, no. Nothing in the health-care debate is anything to do with medicine or surgery, only with OPMs and FEHBP and the death of full-time employment.

What does your employer or (for the discarded husbands of the University of Virginia’s Women’s Studies Department) your spouse’s employer have to do with health care? For most of modern history, your health care was a matter between you and your doctor. Since World War II, in much of the developed world, it’s been between you, your doctor, and your government. In America, it’s now between you, your doctor, your government, your insurer, your employer, your insurer’s outsourced health-care-administration-services company . . . Anybody else? Oh, let’s not forget Lois Lerner’s IRS, which, in the biggest expansion of the agency in the post-war era, has hired 16,500 new agents to determine whether your hernia merits an audit.

All third-party systems are crappy and inefficient. But socialized health care has at least the great clarifying simplicity of equality of crappiness: libertéégalitémerde. It requires a perverse genius to construct a “health” “care” “reform” that destroys everything from religious liberty to full-time employment, while requiring multitudes of new tax collectors and other bureaucrats and ever fewer doctors and nurses. The parallel public/private systems of Continental Europe cost about 10 percent of GDP. The Obamacare monstrosity blends all the worst aspects of a private system (bureaucracy, restricted access, co-pays) with all the worst aspects of a government system (bureaucracy, restricted access, IRS agents) and sucks up twice as much GDP, ever less of which is spent on “health care” and ever more on the intervening layers of third, fourth, fifth, and sixth parties.

But, as the AFL-CIO’s resolution emphasizes, that hardly begins to state the distorting effects of Obamacare. In my part of the world, a common employment profile is for the husband to have his own one-man business, doing construction all summer and snowplowing all winter, while the missus does an administrative job with the school district or some other government or quasi-government racket in order to get health coverage. In my experience, most of the people who do the latter don’t terribly enjoy it: They take the job mostly for the health care. So it’s un-American, in the sense that it requires them to sacrifice the pursuit of happiness for the certainty of low-deductible plans.

But it also has a broader destabilizing effect: As I noted a couple of weeks ago, at the low end, about 40 percent of Americans now do minimal-skilled service jobs — the ones that, in the wake of Obamacare, are becoming neither full-time nor part-time but kinda-sorta two-thirds-time in order not to impose health-insurance obligations on the employer. In the middle, a similar number of Americans are diverted into those paper-shuffling jobs that do provide health benefits — say, in the “human resources” department of the bureaucracy; the kind of job in which you pass the time calling someone in Idaho to say you need them to fill in a W-9 before you can send them a 1099, or vice versa. And, at the top end, privileged Americans spend six-figure sums acquiring college degrees that admit them to an homogenized elite that tells itself Obamacare makes perfect sense for everyone except them. The U.S. economy can never recover until more of its real “human resources” are engaged in genuine wealth creation. Yet Obamacare instead incentivizes the diversion of more and more manpower into the Republic of Paperwork.

The cynical among us have always assumed Obamacare was set up to be so unworkable a grateful populace would embrace any 2016 Democrat promising single-payer health care. The way things are going the entire system may collapse first. If any Republicans are trying to devise a health system that doesn’t involve employers, the IRS, and paperwork without end, they’re keeping awfully quiet about it.

 Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2013 Mark Steyn

Frederick Forsyth and hindsight: 40 years of thrillers

‘Kill List’ author reflects on more than 40 years of political thrillers‘Kill List’ author reflects on more than 40 years of action-packed novels. Novelist Frederick Forsyth can’t seem to put pen down more than 40 years after ‘Day of the Jackal’

The Republic http://www.azcentral.comAugust 16, 2013
Frederick Forsyth (Andy Watts)
Frederick Forsyth, smoking and plotting his next thriller in 2010. (Andy Watts/Sunday Times)

In “The Kill List,” a manhunter known as the Tracker pursues an Islamic radical who is using the Internet to spread his messages of hate. That’s the core of the latest densely plotted thriller from Frederick Forsyth, who has been creating novels of intrigue for more than 40 years.
A former war correspondent, the Brit launched his career with 1971’s “The Day of the Jackal,” which reached the top of the New York Times best-seller list and inspired a 1973 movie. Since then, he has continued with such successes as “The Odessa File,” “The Dogs of War” and “The Fourth Protocol.”
Forsyth, who lives in Buckinghamshire outside of London, will visit the Valley on a rare book tour and read from “The Kill List.” With a droll wit, he discussed the book and his career during a quick jaunt to the States.
Question: This is your first book tour in a few years.
Answer: A promotional tour hasn’t happened in two or three books. One of the things about modern communication is that to be on an American talk show in San Diego, you can go to New York now (and do a remote). You don’t have to move! In my early days, it was physically going to places like Buffalo and Boston.
Q: But this is a chance to interact with your readers. What do they want to know?
A: “Where do you get all the stuff?” And the answer is research, baby, research!
Q: For “The Kill List,” what did that entail?
A: There was a lot involved, and it was mainly in the USA. In and around Virginia, it’s surprising how many facilities and covert institutions are situated right there. Then I was out in Virginia Beach. And some was inside my own country, and then in Mogadishu (Somalia).
Q: How was Mogadishu?
A: Weird! You wouldn’t want to vacation there. I took a minder to look after me. They don’t want to kill you there. The real hazard for many Whites in Mogadishu is kidnapping. Never mind the religious fanatics; there are also gangsters. They would like to snatch you.
Q: Did people know who you were?
A: No, no. I was just a White guy. It was quick in, quick out. You want to see something, you go see it and get out of there.
Q: When you do research here, does your name open doors?
A: Not to be too big-headed about it, but it can. Sometimes the answer is, “Yeah, fine, OK, come on over and we’ll fit you in.” But it can be, “Who the hell are you? I don’t think we have time.”
Q: How did you come up with the concept for “The Kill List”?
A: Basically, like any newspaper reader, I was seeing these paragraphs about members of al-Qaida destroyed in missile strikes. But then the question is how the hell did they track them down? They’re not walking around with a Post-It on their foreheads saying, “Hi, I’m al-Qaida.” I began to inquire and learned that’s there’s a huge machine, an overwhelming American machine, dedicated just to finding them. The hunt is interesting to me.
Q: How long did it take you to write?
A: I rise at 5. I’m at my desk at 6, and I write until 12. I mustn’t stop at less than 10 pages a day. I might do more, but never less. I do that six days a week. I used to do it seven, but I’m getting elderly, you know. But it’s surprising: You’re filling 60 pages a week, so you’re done in six, seven or eight weeks. Then, eventually I finish. I’m sort of whacked. I slump in a chair and take the manuscript to the publisher.
Q: You came out of the gate huge with “The Day of the Jackal.” Did you have any idea it would be so big?
A: No, and neither did the publisher. It could have been one of those blink-and-it’s-gone books. It could have simply sold 5,000 copies, which is all the initial printing was. But the last I heard, it was at 12 million. The orders kept coming in.
Q: Forgive me if this is rude, but could you live off the profit from that one book?
A: (Laughing) One could, but don’t forget this was 40 years ago. It probably would have given me $20,000 to $30,000 a year. I could have lived modestly on that, but I was also only 31. Who wants to quit at 31?
Q: You turn 75 this month. Do you think about retirement?
A: Every book. I’ve said it about three times: “That’s my last!” But now it inspires a matter of laughter from those around me. “Yeah, yeah, he’s retired again.”
Q: Why don’t you stop?
A: Oh, I really want to. I really do feel sometimes I’m written out. But a couple of years go by and I’ll see something and think, “Jesus, that is bloody fascinating.” Then, I’ll do a little bit of research. Then, the hook is in. And I’m a fisherman. I know about hooks.
Q: Does your wife want you to stop?
A: She’s encouraging: “Go ahead, darling.” The thing about writers is we’re weird bastards anyway. We live half our lives inside our own heads. We have a reputation for being distant and silent and locked away inside our own skulls. It takes a very special woman to cope with a writer.
Q: Are you a big computer guy?
A: No. I have an iPad, but I use it for e-mail and I use Google for general-knowledge research. I do not write on a computer. My friends call me a dinosaur. My response has always been: “Well, have you ever heard of anyone hacking into a typewriter?”
Reach the reporter at or 602-444-8849.


Frederick Forsyth: 'I had expected women to hate him. But no...’ -

Reagan, Obama, and 'The Butler'

Which president did more to help black Americans? 

Eugene Allen, Nancy and Ronald Reagan

Buried in a New York Times story about the economy was this arresting statistic: Median family income for black Americans has declined a whopping 10.9 percent during the Obama administration. It has declined for other groups as well — 3.6 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 4.5 percent for Hispanics — but the figure for blacks is huge. This decline does not include losses suffered during the financial crisis and the recession that followed, but instead measures declines since June 2009, when the recession officially ended.

That’s not the only bad news for African Americans. The poverty rate for blacks was 25.8 percent in 2011. The black labor-force-participation rate, which rose throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has declined for the past decade and quite sharply under Obama to 61.4 percent. The black unemployment rate, according to Pew Research, stands at 13.4 percent. Among black, male high-school dropouts, PBS’s Paul Solman reports, the unemployment rate is a staggering 95 percent.

Does any of this affect the standing of the nation’s first black president with black Americans? Not a whit, apparently. This is not to suggest that any president should gear his policies to one or another ethnic group. The president serves the nation as a whole, or should. But if unemployment, poverty, and the black/white income gap had expanded under a different president to the degree it has under Obama (the income gap is now larger than it was under George W. Bush), it wouldn’t go unreported and the president would not escape responsibility.

The advent of an African-American president surely brings psychic dividends to black Americans (and the rest of us, to a degree) but those intangibles may be pretty much all they get from his presidency. In terms of material prosperity, his leadership has delivered nothing but decline. He plays the psychological card very skillfully — showboating his identification with Trayvon Martin and sticking up for Henry Louis Gates Jr. — but more and more his gestures in this regard seem like substitutes for results.

Black poverty is up, employment is down, and wealth is down. The dissolution of the black family continues unabated, with 72.3 percent of black children born to unmarried mothers. Black males constitute just 6 percent of the population yet comprise more than 40 percent of those incarcerated in state and federal prisons and jails. One third of black men aged 20–29 are in the purview of the criminal-justice system (incarcerated or on probation or parole).

The press resolutely ignores these figures, while the propaganda arm of the Democratic party in Hollywood serves up distorted history to distract and pacify the public. The latest entry appears to be The Butler, which misrepresents President Reagan (as I gather from those who’ve seen it) as, at best, insensitive to blacks, and at worst as racist. Eugene Allen, the actual White House butler on whom the film is supposedly based, kept signed photos of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in his living room (pictures of the other presidents he had served hung in the basement).

According to a 2008 Washington Post profile, Allen served eight presidents for 34 years until his retirement. He did not, as the movie portrays, resign to protest Reagan’s policies on civil rights or South Africa. His wife happily reminisced to thePost about the time the couple were invited by the Reagans to attend a state dinner in honor of the West German chancellor. “Drank champagne that night,” Mrs. Allen recalled with pleasure. The film apparently depicts the invitation as tokenism. The filmmakers also insert a horrific childhood “memory” for Allen — his mother being raped and his father shot by a white landlord. Didn’t happen.

Would it interest black moviegoers to know that under Ronald Reagan’s policies median African-American household incomes increased by 84 percent (compared with 68 percent for whites)? The poverty rate dropped during the 1980s from 14 percent down to 11.6 percent. The black-unemployment rate dropped by 9 percentage points. The number of black-owned businesses increased by 38 percent and receipts more than doubled.

Obama’s economic record is dismal because he is inflexibly attached to the wrong ideas. Hollywood is of course free to worship at his tattered shrine. But to smear Reagan — a man who deeply loathed bigotry in any form and actually improved the lives of all Americans including blacks — in an attempt to prop up the drooping Obama standard is contemptible.

— Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2013 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today's Tune: Katrina and The Waves - Going Down To Liverpool

Why Chesterton Will Be a Saint

A review of Father Robert Wild’s The Tumbler of God: Chesterton as Mystic

August 21, 2013

Not every saint is a mystic. Not every mystic is a saint. And not every 300-pound, cigar-smoking journalist is both a saint and a mystic. But I’m quite sure at least one of them is. And I’m not alone in that opinion.

Father Wild’s book is especially well-timed. I was recently taken to task by a reviewer because I had suggested in my book The Complete Thinker that G.K. Chesterton is a mystic. And so it is convenient to have suddenly at my disposal an entire book written in defense of that one statement. But the book is well-timed for another reason. Father Wild not only argues quite convincingly that Chesterton is a mystic, but by the end of the book he also makes the case that Chesterton is a saint. Things appear to be heating up in that regard, too. And Father Wild is not just blowing holy smoke. He knows what the Church requires for sainthood. He is the postulator in the cause for Catherine de Houck Dougherty, who, incidentally, was also a mystic.

Like any good writer, including like Chesterton himself, Father Wild takes the trouble to define his terms. He surveys the work of the leading writers on mysticism and shows how they converge but also where they part ways. Mysticism has to do with a direct experience of the divine truth, an “acute awareness” not only of the Creator but of his creation. Certainly the mistake about mysticism is that we associate it with remoteness from the rest of us, a hermit in a cave, or a prophet on a mountain top. Mysticism may make a stop there, but it does not stay there. For almost every reason, Chesterton damages most of our preconceptions about mysticism, even going so far as to say that the common man is a mystic, because mysticism is sane. It grasps reality. It rejoices in the sunlight. It knows the balance and proportion of things, including the importance of important things and the unimportance of unimportant things. Or to put it in Chesterton’s own words (in a passage which unfortunately does not appear in the book):

The common man is a mystic. Mysticism is only a transcendent form of common sense. Mysticism and common sense alike consist in a sense of the dominance of certain truths and tendencies which cannot be formally demonstrated or even formally named. Mysticism and common sense are like appeals to realities that we all know to be real, but which have no place in argument except as postulates.

Chesterton tells us the things we already know, only we did not know that we knew them. The difference between him and us is that he is trying to give us the same vision he has, what Father Wild calls his “contagious happiness and inner peace…he was imbued with a kind of unpretentious beatitude that tended to convey itself to those around him.” He is trying to share his sense of wonder, his thankfulness, his joy. And the source of all these things is God.

Indeed, Robert Hugh Benson, whose too-short life and writing career just overlapped with Chesterton’s, perceived as early as 1905 that Chesterton was a mystic because of his joy, his confidence, and his common sense. It would be almost another 20 years before Chesterton would become Catholic. The odd thing about Chesterton’s conversion is how little his perspective changed, and how little his writing changes. He knows he is finally at home in the Church, but it is, in one sense, merely taking the official position of all the things he has been defending all along. He knew he had ceased being a Protestant many years before, and he admitted that he was even standing at the door of the Church ushering other people in without having entered himself. Still, the final step was an extremely difficult one. He had to do it alone, without the accompaniment of his beloved helpmate, his wife Frances (who would take another four years to cross the threshold.) But how is it that Chesterton can think like a Catholic, write like a Catholic, fight like a Catholic (and eat, drink, and smoke like a Catholic!) without being a Catholic? Credit his mysticism.

Hugh Kenner, a great American man of letters who wrote his first book on Chesterton, says that Chesterton has a “comprehensive intuition of being.” He does not fumble to reach a position. He simply “occupies a central position all the time.”

The transition from non-Catholic to Catholic was much less dramatic than an earlier experience that Chesterton went through as a young man. He suffered a very dark period where he first had to come face-to-face with the blankness of non-existence before coming face-to-face with God. It was something similar to what St. Francis of Assisi went through (which Chesterton writes about in his book on that saint), passing through the “moment when there is nothing but God.” And what arises from this abyss is “the noble thing called Praise.” The endless thankfulness for the unexpected, undeserved gift of existence. Father Wild surmises that it was in coming through experience that Chesterton received a mystical grace.

Astonishment has consequences. Chesterton not an ascetic mystic who gains his spiritual insight through the exceptional self-denial that is associated with those who embrace the religious life. He is a lay mystic who has gained his amazing insight through an “acute awareness” of God himself and an appreciation of God’s good gifts. Even in a cloud of cigar smoke, he can still see clearly, perhaps more clearly because he knows how to make each pleasure part of his praise. We recite in the Mass that it is right and just always and everywhere to give God thanks, that it is our duty and our salvation. We say those words. We hear those words. But here is someone who lives out those words, someone whose childlike wonder fills his words, fills the room, who tosses off the line, buried like a gem deep in a paragraph about history: “Thanks is the highest form of thought.”

Father Wild’s great Chestertonian insight: “Reason alone is capable of such mysticism.” Or as Chesterton says, “If you think wrong, you go wrong.” The corollary is that if you think right, you go right. Right reason leads to mystical insight. What does mystical insight lead to?

Contrast Chesterton’s view with that of Plotinus, for whom the mystical goal is “to be alone with the alone.” Chesterton’s mystical insight fills him with a deep and joyful compassion; he says he wants to throw a party and invite the whole world. And he realizes that one of his tasks is to teach the world “how to enjoy enjoyment.”

Father Wild builds his case for Chesterton’s mysticism by getting us to take another look at his most familiar books. Any Chesterton book can be re-read with great benefit. In fact, the main purpose of reading a Chesterton book the first time is so you can read it again. There is simply no way to read a book like Orthodoxy too many times. It always yields more fruit. Father Wild demonstrates this by getting us to see new things in the text, things that have always been there but now jump off the page completely new. He is simply using the Chestertonian technique of getting us to see the familiar things with a fresh set of eyes and the wonder of welcome.

Chesterton says in Orthodoxy, “What we want is not the universality that is outside all normal sentiments; we want the universality that is inside all normal sentiments.” This points to his thesis that mysticism is actually a normal condition. It is the sane condition of man. It is simply the ability to see what is really there, the glory of creation but also its strangeness. It is the loss of mysticism that leads to insanity. Modern philosophy is off kilter because it is detached from reality.

Though Orthodoxy is a recognized tour de forceof philosophical argument and intellectual fireworks, the great effectiveness of the book is that Chesterton constantly appeals to life; he takes his proofs from actual experience. It is a truth we can touch.

But then Chesterton plunges deep, contrasting Christianity with Buddhism, with Islam, with explanations of God that are too shallow, too simple. The Trinity is not a simple idea, but it is an essential one. The cross may be a simple symbol, but the contradiction at its center represents the collision of time and eternity, of life and death.

The theme of seeing familiar things as if for the first time continues in The Everlasting Man, where we encounter Christ, not as we have in our Christian and post-Christian civilization, encumbered with our pre-conceptions, but as he must have appeared when he stepped onto the stage, the most extraordinary character in history, appearing at the precise intersection of the great cultures of the world. And Father Wild points out a truth so obvious that we have missed it: if ever there has been a model mystic, it is Christ. He refers to things unseen, but his reality is enfleshed. He is a constant revelation. Chesterton says: “The moral of all this is an old one; that religion is revelation. In other words, it is a vision, and a vision received by faith; but it is a vision of reality. The faith consists in a conviction of its reality.”

The image of “the tumbler of God” comes from Chesterton’s book on St. Francis of Assisi, in the chapter, “Le Jongleur de Dieu.” St. Francis, in his humility, is not only willing to be a fool for Christ, but an acrobat. The mystical experience, the pure encounter with God, is akin to being turned upside down, and seeing everything upside down, giving the shocking perspective that everything is hanging on the mercy of God, but then landing on one’s feet with a new appreciation of things, including of one’s feet. Francis goes from poet to saint. Both the poet and the saint have a universal vision and both tell truth, but Chesterton makes the distinction between the two: “For one the joy of life is the cause of faith, for the other a result of faith.” Faith sees things in their proper perspective and their proper proportion. It is a vision informed by overflowing joy and bottomless thankfulness.

It is one thing to have a mystical encounter with truth. It is quite another to explain it to someone who has not had it. But this is what the real mystic tries to do. He does not keep the truth to himself. He does not speak in riddles that only he understands. The true mystic, says Chesterton, does not conceal mysteries; he reveals them. Chesterton’s entire life as a writer is a constant outpouring of his powers of expression to make the truth understandable. He makes it surprising with his paradoxes, he makes it delicious with his epigrams, he makes it wonderful with his poetry and even his poetic prose. He also makes it uncomfortable with his cries for justice and inescapable with his relentless reason.

It is safe to say, though it is still sounds surprising to say it, that Chesterton could not write about the mystical vision of St. Francis without being a mystic himself. He writes not as a mere appreciative spectator. He writes as an insider. But he also writes about St. Francis’ holiness. He even muses that perhaps only a saint can write about a saint. This is only his humility speaking and his sense of inadequacy. But he has ironically told the truth.

Father Wild says he wrote this book because there is no book about the most important thing about Chesterton: his friendship with God. He is a model of lay spirituality, but also of lay mysticism. The main argument of the book is that Chesterton is a mystic. But the ultimate argument is that he is a saint.

Father Wild is one of many of a growing number of people who believe that G.K. Chesterton should be raised to the altars. And yes, I have been active in this movement. We think he is a saint for our times, who epitomizes his own line from The Everlasting Man: “A dead thing goes with the stream, only a living thing can go against it.” Chesterton is an eloquent voice against everything that is wrong in the world. But even better, he is a joyful voice in defense of what is right. What draws people to Chesterton and what changes their lives is his goodness.

I have been petitioning the bishop of Northampton for years to open Chesterton’s cause. And after a series of very interesting events in the past few months, not the least of which was the election of Pope Francis, who happens to be a big Chesterton fan, I had the privilege of making the following announcement at our national Chesterton Conference on August 1: The Rt. Rev. Peter Doyle, the Bishop of Northampton has given us permission to say that he “is sympathetic to our wishes and is seeking a suitable cleric to begin an investigation into the potential for opening a cause for Chesterton.”

And nothing pleased me more than the fact that Father Robert Wild was in the audience when I made the announcement and no doubt lent his voice to the loud cheering that followed. It was a mystical moment. 

The Tumbler of God: Chesterton as Mystic
By Father Robert Wild
Angelico Press, 2013
228 pages
About the Author
Dale Ahlquist

Dale Ahlquist is president of the American Chesterton Society, creator and host of the EWTN series “G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense,” and publisher ofGilbert Magazine. He is the author of three books on Chesterton, including The Complete Thinker.

The Million Muslim Farce

August 22, 2013
MD Rabbi Alam
The American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) announced plans to hold "an historic event for 9.11.13 where one million Muslims will march to Washington, D.C. and demand that our civil rights will be protected by our government."  Included in their grievances is that our government hasn't made full release of the 9/11 commission report, and they intend to protest American intervention in the Middle East.  They dubbed the event the "Million Muslim March." 
That name has proven toxic, and it's not hard to imagine why.  Something about the idea of a million Muslims descending upon Washington to express their disgust for America and its foreign policy on the anniversary of a day when some other Muslims famously expressed a disgust for America and its foreign policy by killing thousands of our countrymen in the name of Islam might understandably rub Americans the wrong way.  So the event was rebranded (without altering its intent) as the "Million American March Against Fear."  But that hasn't given the effort much traction in terms of public opinion.
It raises an important question.  If AMPAC was actually interested in lessening Americans' apprehension about Muslims, why didn't they choose a name for their march that Americans might support?  If it were, for example, "Muslims Against Armed Jihad," or "American Muslims Against Terror and Violence," I do not think we would see a public outcry.  But then, if lessening Americans' apprehension about Muslims had truly been AMPAC's goal, they would have chosen a different date altogether for such a rally out of respect for American sensitivity on the matter. 
The problem is that AMPAC and the orchestrators of this farce have no such goal in mind. 
Consider this.  Notably absent in the entire litany of grievances found in the statement issued by AMPAC is any condemnation of Islamic terror.  Notably present are condemnations of American actions since 9/11 and an innocuous suggestion that the 9/11 commission report is hiding something about the true nature of the attack on that day.  Underlying these accusations is the proposition that 9/11 was a false flag attack undertaken by the American government in order to give us license to attack Muslims abroad and oppress them at home.  All of which uniquely benefits you know who (cue the ominous timpani): the Jews in Israel.
So what we have here is little more than advertising for a Truther convention, gussied up with the veneer of a civil rights protest to give the outlandish anti-American and anti-Zionist rhetoric of the Truthers some unearned credibility. 
Don't believe me?  The proof precedes my claim. 
The founder of AMPAC, a Bangladesh-born Muslim named MD Rabbi Alam, is an avowed conspiracy theorist.  He has accused America of inventing the HIV virus, a position that he curiously shares with Barack Obama's mentor, Jeremiah Wright, which might explain why he was invited to the White House after working on Obama's 2008 campaign. (A coincidence, to be sure.)  But his brand of Trutherism is of that particularly anti-Semitic bent; he believes that it was the Jews who were unquestionably responsible for the attacks in Washington and New York on 9/11.  He openly pondered why not even a single Jew was killed on 9/11, which was proof positive in his mind that the slimy Jews had tipped off their brethren before the attacks.
Like with most conspiracy theories, the facts, provided by the State Department, completely destroy the claim.  Between 200 and 400 Jews were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, five of whom were Israeli citizens.  But like most conspiracy theorists, Alam is unmoved by proof.
The evidence doesn't end there.  AMPAC's chief spokesman is Kevin Barrett, who is the head of Muslim Think Tank and a noted proponent of Truther conspiracy theories.  Listed as architects of this march are Greg Boyd of the DC Area 9/11 Truth movement and Richard Gage, founder of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.  AMPAC's director of operations is Isa Hodge, who calls the Islamic terrorist threat "pure hallucination" and believes that al-Qaeda is nothing more than "a myth."  The silliness of these claims alone proves that the gap between reality and the faux reality constructed by staunch Islamic apologists is an ever-widening and potentially limitless chasm.
But that's really the crux of it.  It doesn't have to be believable; it just has to be believed.  And anti-Zionists and Islamic radicals have a vested interest believing in the myth of a government conspiracy being behind 9/11, because it supports the notion that America is a racist, greedy nation bent on the oppression of Muslims in the Middle East.  There is similar political value in anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic Muslims denying the Holocaust to undermine Israel's existence.  
But I can't buy that that Rabbi Alam truly believes that Jews orchestrated the 9/11 attacks any more than I can buy Ahmedinejad truly believing that Westerners created the myth of the Holocaust.  They do it not because it's true, or because they think it's true, or because they think they can prove it.  They do it because they can, and to show the world that they can get away with it.  To show the world that they can thumb their noses at the infidels -- and in regard to the "Million Muslim March," it's to show that they can do it even on 9/11.
William Sullivan blogs at and can be followed on Twitter.

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