The thing about road trips is that work and correspondence keep piling up like snow while you are gone. Which is to say, “I know people want to hear about the debate and all that, but I have to write two study guides and plow through my mail (80 emails!) and get other stuff combobulated. So I will try to get to it in the next few day but it may have to wait till next week. Meanwhile, I have already front-loaded a bunch of stuff to run each day for the next few day (before I went to Minneapolis) so that will have to do.”
I will say that I am very grateful to the Argument of the Month Club for graciously inviting me and to Michael Voris for good debate. The turnout, I’m told, was somewhere between 500-600, which is a real sign of hope to me: Over 500 Catholic men who care enough about the Faith that they crammed themselves, standing room only, into Church basement to deliberate how best to serve the Church! Fantastic! Wonderful!
As to “Who won?” the last person you should ever ask that question is me. I can’t see the wood for the trees and there are going to be 600 opinions (more than that when the debate is posted on line). If you want my worthless personal opinion, I think I won, of course. I wouldn’t have argued the position I did if I did not think it the true one. I think I won not because it was me arguing, but because it was me regurgitating with dull unoriginality the basic teaching of the Church, namely that the way to meet the crisis in the Church is prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Since this is basically the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25, distilled through the Tradition of the Church, I don’t see how it’s possible to really argue against that since to do so is to argue against Jesus Christ, not me. The only real issue is “Did I argue it well or did I argue it poorly?” That, I have only the sketchiest notions since it basically comes down to “If they aren’t learning, you aren’t teaching.” If people agreed or were persuaded of my point, then I’ll call that a win. If not, not. But since I have no idea what 600 guys concluded the outcome of the debate to be, that one will be known only to God, I reckon. Dale Ahlquist thought I did fine, as did a small group of folks I chatted with, but that’s a pretty small sample. Still, I’ll take was rah rahs I can get and declare, “Dale Ahlquist is just and wise.” So that settles that, I guess.
I really don’t have time to give the full blow-by-blow right now though. So call this the Cliff’s Notes for the present. I’ll try to give a fuller account in a few days. Now, I’m glad to be home. And I am grateful to the Ahlquist family for letting me sponge off them. If you haven’t done so, do consider joining the American Chesterton Society. What a gift those guys are.
Oh, and one final thing: thanks to Michael Matt of the Remnant for just being a classy gentleman. We spoke on the phone a couple of weeks ago and I liked him and I like him even better when we met in person. So I just wanted to be sure to mention that since (I’m not clear on the org chart) he seems to be one of the principal drivers behind AOTM. Kudos for a really group of guys!