Laying impious hands on the quasi-sacred text of a literary genius by proffering a senseless and sacrilegious translation from English to English was apparently deemed necessary by the flightless dodo bird over at the Society of G.K. Chesterton. I am speaking, of course, of Dale Ahlquist, who is the president of that nefarious organization supposing itself to be anything like Chestertonian intellectual tradition—the simple proof that it is not is that Chesterton was Catholic whereas Ahlquist is not.
Anyway, the story was broke by another impious and non-Catholic organization, Word on Fire, which interviewed Ahlquist about his new brainchild (more on this idea in a bit), the book Orthodoxy: An American Translation. Forgive me if I seem to rant for the next few hundred words, but first of all, at even a basic level, is not any American offended by such a title? Since when did standard English of the educated class of England become a foreign language to Americans? What was the motive behind such a literary enterprise to translate English into English? When did the oftentimes simple sentences, proverbial and prosaic prose of Chesterton become something like gigantic Egyptian hieroglyphs needing a Rosetta Stone to decipher?
Well, apparently Ahlquist & Co. thought that Chesterton is too difficult to read for today’s readers. I would say that the thought never occurred to Ahlquist just to increase literacy instead of decreasing words, but that did occur to him when he set up a Chesterton Academy for High Schoolers. Ahlquist admits, though, that his attempts to teach Chesterton have proven difficult:
“What helped convince us was that we’ve been teaching Orthodoxy to our freshmen and sophomores at Chesterton Academy, a classical high school in Minnesota, and I had to admit, they were having real problems reading the text,” (Source).
I will let the irony of a secondary school Academy dedicated to the thought of a single man for which it is named being unable to teach its students how to read the man sink in. And it is a matter of teaching, is it not? I mean, surely young men and women were reading and enjoying Chesterton in his time, no? Or are we to believe that the journalist who had world-reknown, who toured even “illiterate” America, giving lectures to stadia packed full of hapless Yankees, was passed over by this ignorant race when it came time to read one of his seminal early works, namely, Orthodoxy?
So, granting that Americans were able to read Chesterton then, but are not able to now, what changed? Ahlquist unwittingly alludes to the cause:
“Chesterton was a giant of English literature in the early twentieth century who went into a strange eclipse after his death, but now is experiencing a deserved revival. Most importantly, he was in every way a bulwark against what we call modernism, which includes relativism, materialism, progressivism, and deconstruction.”
Is it strange that Chesterton, who indeed was a bulwark against modernism should be eclipsed? Of course it isn’t, if we consider that the whole world was deprived of the light of the Church of Christ, which itself was eclipsed! The same dark forces, the agents of darkness as they have been called on this website, have worked to eclipse Chesterton just as they have worked to eclipse everything Catholic. The eclipse of one of the greatest literary minds of the twentieth century began with his death:
“Shortly after Chesterton’s death in 1936, Pope Pius XI sent a telegram, which was read to the vast crowd gathered for Chesterton’s requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral. In the telegram, the Pope described Chesterton as a “gifted Defender of the Catholic Faith.” Ironically the secular press in England refused to publish the Pope’s telegram on the grounds that “the Pope had bestowed on a British subject a title held by the King.” That the title of Fidei Defensor was originally bestowed upon the King by the Pope was either overlooked or forgotten. It was, in any event, singularly apt that Chesterton should be the first Englishman honored by the Pope with the title of Defender of the Faith since Henry VIII had dishonored the title four hundred years earlier,” (Source).
Chesterton was more than a mere journalist. He was a prophet, and the people knew it. It is only that the press knew it, too, and they fought against his influence, which was Catholic to its core.
Now, how then is Chesterton being censored today, you may ask? Do we not have freedom of the press and freedom of speech? Ahlquist himself has planted so many seeds of Chestertonian societies across this land that one would be silly to say the man is being censored in anyway. And yet, I do say it. I say Ahlquist is censoring Chesterton! Bizarre claim? Let me explain.
It was the modus operandi of the Freemasonic infiltration and takeover of the Catholic Church’s infrastructure to be embedded in the Body of Christ as like a virus, and act the part of an amicable body until the time was ripe to take over the host organism, which happened at the Second Vatican Council. The Catholic Faith was undermined in every possible way, from its liturgy and worship in the mass and the rosary being renovated—even worship spaces, with sacred art and music being replaced by their counterfeits—to its law and catechisms. True, the changes were progressive and subtle, and as a rule always easy and not intimidating, unless your particular parish was set for demolition for no apparent reason. Then it was admittedly violent. But the enemy of the Church and the human race is nothing if not wily. The Church was soon taken over almost without a peep from people in the pews. No significant counterreformation, no large scale revolt against the imposition of a new religion. And why? Why no revolt against the Great Apostasy? The answer to that question lies in the tactics of the enemy still underway, epitomized by Ahlquist in rewriting Chesterton, as his Protestant and Freemasonic predecessors did a generation earlier in rewriting and dumbing down our religion, our eduction, and our culture.
To get an idea of how this rewriting takes place, Ahlquist provides us with a sample:
“Okay, here’s a passage from the original:
“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination. Artistic paternity is as wholesome as physical paternity.
“Now, here’s the American translation:
“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination. Giving birth to a work of art is as wholesome as giving birth to a baby.”
Does it not strike you that this passage in Chesterton is terribly easy to read? Very simple syntax, word choice and subject matter. Ahlquist thought so, too, since the only thing he rewrote was the very Catholic idea in the last sentence, and changed it to the the very modernist idea, if we maintain as an assumption that Ahlquist was trying to interpret Chesterton’s thought and translate it in contemporary American English. Only, that is not what Ahlquist does. Rather he essentially changed the meaning of Chesterton. Paternity has nothing to do with giving birth to a baby! What on Earth would make Ahlquist think that paternity had to do with giving birth? Paternity is the state of fatherhood, which is the art of crafting and molding the minds and wills of a child into virtue and holiness. This is a very fitting analogy with art, for that is exactly what the artist does with his imagination, will and intellect: he molds preexistent matter into the form of something beautiful, which beauty is caused by the thing’s goodness and truth. The rewrite would not have been any more startling or unsettling had Ahlquist written:
“Artistic maternity is as wholesome as physical maternity.” That is because, that is exactly what he did, because maternity means giving birth to a baby. The maternal act is about the matter of the child. The paternal act is about the form. Artistic acts are always about the form and never about the matter. Mothers are closest to God, because through their bodies they help create life, but fathers help form that life like artists form clay into pots or words into sonnets.
Ahlquist completely destroys this distinction and likens paternity to maternity as if there were no difference. And isn’t that the whole ugly, black notion behind modernism? The destruction of distinction? We are told there is no distinction in art or learning or religion, that equality among us must reign. The impetus to this leveling is obvious enough: if everyone is equal, or all tolerably stupid, uncultured, illiterate and superstitious instead of religious, then the mass of mankind may be molded into a new image, not that of God but that of Man. This is a topic for an entirely new post. What concerns me here is how Ahlquist, in rewriting Chesterton, destroying distinctions, mixing up paternal and maternal, is either playing into the hand of the enemy, or else he is himself the dealer. I tend to think the latter. Let me explain.
About a decade or so ago, I made my first sortie into the Catholic Combox. I was defending a thought of Chesterton which he expressed—in all places—in the book Orthodoxy in the combox—in all places—on the Chesterton Society website. The controversy broke out over the editor of the Chesterton Society writing a piece about how great Harry Potter was, and how much Chesterton would approve. I demurred and offered as a proof, that Chesterton emphatically would not like Harry Potter, the following text from the first chapter of Orthodoxy:
“The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world.”
Whatever good can be said of the wildly successful Harry Potter book series and movies, this much is certain, Harry Potter is not an ordinary boy. The whole point of the story of Harry Potter—though I confess I never read it—is that he is not ordinary. Had he been ordinary, the author would have found something more interesting to be name the title after. Harry Potter is the star. Harry Potter is oddity. Harry Potter is the magical boy. The world is not. That is directly and diametrically opposite Chesteton’s view of what makes for a good book. Chesterton may be wrong, and but that doesn’t make the editor of the Chesterton Society right. He was wrong in Chesterton then just as Ahlquist is wrong in Chesterton now.
In addition to advancing the notion that Chesterton would be on friendly terms with a sorcerer boy, which idea is flatly contradicted not only on the textual analysis above but also on the fact that the few places Chesterton does mention magic, he says it is black magic and worked by the powers of Hell, I know that Ahlquist believes in a proposition which was condemned by Pius IX in his Syllabus of Errors:
“17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical Quanto conficiamur, Aug. 10, 1863, etc.”
This asinine proposition was defended by Ahlquist on the Argument of the Month event and show, which debate was entitled, “Do we have a reasonable hope most non-Catholics will be saved?” Actually Catholics would have simply known that such a proposition was already solemnly and infallibly condemned by a Roman Pontiff, and so, of course one couldn’t hold to such a belief. But that is just how modernists operate. With the airs of piety and compassion, they undermine dogmatic authority and destroy what foundation Christ Himself has laid for the building up of the Church. This is necessary to do away with the old Church of God and build up the new Church of Man.
The Church has been replaced by the Modernist sect which is the cult of Man. This was accomplished over years of reeducation in education, art, culture, and religion. The process is ever ongoing until the Race of Imbeciles is materialized. Perhaps the best way to achieve this end in education, art, and culture, is the same way it was and is being achieved in religion–by taking away the Spiritual Paternity of the Papacy and the Priest, and the domestic Headship, by suppressing any notion of the Fatherhood of Form, in exchange for a mere material-maternal principle which is able to be shaped according to the whims and fancies of man’s imagination instead of God’s truth.