The Chesterton Conference is a jolly affair. The amazing Dale Ahlquist has brought this conference up from about fifty participants several years ago to over 600 this year. They’ve come from all across the USA, plus England, Norway, Mexico, Canada and Spain. There are plenty of scholarly talks, but each one is loaded with enthusiasm, Chestertonian wit, swordplay/wordplay and optimism.

In the evening there is time for some ale and good conversation. So many converts to the Catholic faith are here, and they share their moving stories of how Chesterton helped them into the Church. Also encouraging is the large number of children and young people. Not all of them have been dragged along by their parents. Many of the high school and college students have come on their own.
The success of all this is that Dale Ahlquist felt the call to devote himself full time to the study and promotion of Chesterton. With the support of his wife Laura he packed in his job in real estate and started the work. He now edits and helps publish all of Chesterton’s amazing output. He travels the USA on speaking engagement, sells books, does TV shows, organizes Chesterton one man shows, and makes a modest living doing so. Even better, he does so, not out of some sort of frustrated academic ambition, “I could never make it as a college professor so I guess I’ll do this instead.”
He does it out of a truly Chestertonian populist position. He wants Chesterton to continue to help transform our culture. The portly prophet, the wizard of wordplay is the Chesterton society’s blunt weapon in the culture wars. He is a blunt weapon in the hard-hitting quality of his ideas, but he is also the sharpest of weapons with his razor sharp with and with his pointed wit he never fails to make the point.
More power to Ahlquist and the American Chesterton Society.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • Éstiel

    That’s wonderful. One feels that Chesterton is pleased, that he would prefer this sort of society to an academic one. He’d be much at home with this group, and very uncomfortable at a “scholarly” conference made up of tenure-shuffling ambitious academics.