Daniel Oliver

Resolving To Let Trump Go

But cui bono?, as they used to ask when students studied the classics, which Princeton has now declared to be white supremacist.

It’s a new year. What was your resolution? Here’s one for Michael Gerson — and for many others.

Gerson suffers acutely from Trump Derangement Syndrome. He also, we should note charitably, suffers from other serious ailments, and we should wish him well. But while it’s true that reading his 794th screed on Trump is more appropriate for the Lenten season than for this one, it’s also true that a quick look may be beneficial as we head into a new year which will see elections across the country.

In his recent column titled “What if the Jan. 6 report just doesn’t matter?” Gerson is so fixated on Trump, whom he thinks is evil incarnate, that he seems unable to grasp either why the “January 6 Report” may not matter or what could be done (or what could have been done) to make it matter. It’s his column, of course (and the Bezos Post’s), and if he wants to shout into the wind, that’s his business. But cui bono?, as they used to ask when students studied the classics, which Princeton has now declared to be white supremacist.

Gerson writes that the House committee “seems intent on exploring and exposing all the elements of former president Donald Trump’s plot against America: the spurious and dangerous legal theories that fed and informed his plan to overturn the 2020 election, [and] Trump’s direct incitement of violent and criminal behavior on the part of his supporters …” Gerson’s problem is that he’s assuming as true precisely what is supposed to be determined. He’s in good company, of course: that’s exactly what the House committee is doing. Gerson should calm down and take a more realistic view based not only on Trump’s shortcomings but also on the perfidy of his enemies.

The record has now convincingly established that Trump did not incite his followers. The texts from Jan. 6 make that clear. People who persist in saying otherwise simply aren’t interested in the truth.

Gerson writes: “According to the Pew Research Center, roughly two-thirds of Republicans say that Trump ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ won the 2020 election.” They may be wrong, of course, but why do they say that? And what is it that they really mean?

If those Republicans mean that enough ballots were stolen or altered to effectuate the Biden victory, the response has to be that that is something that has not yet been proved and is not likely ever to be proved.

But perhaps they take a larger view. Republicans argued that Pennsylvania’s voting laws were changed by the legislature in violation of Pennsylvania’s constitution. It’s true that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case that sought to have that change held illegal, but, if the law change was indeed illegal, the court’s refusal didn’t make Pennsylvania’s changes to the law legal. If you rob a store in California but take away goods worth less than $950, you will not be prosecuted. But not being prosecuted doesn’t make your conduct legal.

In addition to the changing of voting rules, there was the suppression by the mainstream media of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Many people know about Biden’s laptop now. But a poll taken shortly after the election showed that enough Democrats said they would have voted for Trump if they had known about the laptop to have changed the outcome of the election.

And of course there has been non-stop vilification of Trump from even before he got elected, up to and including today — and it will not stop soon.

Under all those circumstances, why should anyone be surprised that a lot of Republicans think the 2020 election was stolen — “stolen” really being just a word to indicate the corruption of the electoral process by the Democrats and their allies in the media and Big Tech?

But here’s another point, and perhaps the most important one: the Democrats also know they “stole” the election, which is why they are so frantic to change the election laws: they’re not sure that without Trump on the ballot they can steal the next election too unless they eliminate the requirement for voter IDs. Has Gerson given any thought to that? Or is his TDS so serious that he’s joining in the Democrats’ perverted claim that voter IDs are RACIST! — even though 80% of Americans (and 69% of blacks) support them?

The good news, as we head into a new year, is that the gulf between Americans may be closing. According to a recent poll, 60% oppose Biden’s Build Back Better plan’s payments to illegal immigrants (you can’t make this stuff up), 81% oppose the tax credit of up to $50,000 for print journalists (you really can’t make this stuff up) — and there’s a lot more too. Biden’s popularity is now down at 45%, Trump territory, which, for many, is deliciously ironic, given that Biden has the media with him.

The Democrats know they’re in trouble, which is why they’re banging the Jan. 6 drum. Gerson needs to step back, take a deep breath … and resolve to let Trump go.

New Year’s Eve is a good time for him, and many others, to make that resolution.


January 3, 2022
The Daily Caller

The Miracle of Christmas

Looks like God is the world’s best physicist.

The most extraordinary letter received here in 2021 (or perhaps in the last five years) was a response to an email of mine on colleges’ appointing atheist chaplains. The letter (edited to protect the writer) went as follows:

The appointment of an atheist as a chaplain doesn’t seem to me to be, by itself, a calamity for civilization. Over here, we have a long and respectable tradition of Anglican atheism. My wife’s tutor at university was perfectly willing to admit to being an atheist, on the grounds that his own values coincided so closely with the church’s doctrine.

When I was in boarding school, I realized that I really didn’t believe some of what I was being told in confirmation class and wondered if I should proceed anyway. So I confided to my housemaster, who replied, “Of course, you must go ahead, my dear boy: the church needs your support.”

Then, to my astonishment, he revealed to me that he had never actually believed in God. However, he said, the church, alongside the monarchy, was the most important institution in the country.

Subsequently, he was elevated to a far more august position in the church, and attended chapel for many years in full processional vestment, at least eight times a week during term.

And do not forget the Non-Believing Bishops. I’m not sure how many there have been over the years, but there were at least three prominent ones: Richard Holloway (Edinburgh), David Jenkins (York), and Shelby Spong (Newark, New Jersey). If the church can put up with atheist bishops in its own hierarchy, an atheist chaplain in a university doesn’t look that threatening.

Surely what matters is not what these clerics believe (or don’t believe), but what they say and what they teach when doing their jobs.

If you’ve been wondering why Western civilization is collapsing, now you know. The bishops and who knows how many clerics have been lying for years.

And make no mistake: the bishops were lying. At the ceremony of the consecration of a bishop, the candidate is asked, “Are you persuaded that the holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined out of the same holy Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge, and to teach or maintain nothing as required of necessity to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the same?” He answers, “I am so persuaded and determined, by God’s grace.”

The letter writer may think the lyin’ bishops were doing their jobs teaching, and the tutors too. A better guess is that their pupils saw right through them.

One survey last year showed that by 2018, only 12 percent of the national population of Great Britain identified as belonging to the Church of England or its sister churches in Scotland and Wales. In addition, surveys show that as few as 1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds now identify as Anglicans. What else would you expect from a “respectable tradition of Anglican atheism”?

A few years ago, in Norwich, England, they built a 15-meter amusement slide in the middle of the cathedral; Rochester Cathedral, just outside London, installed a mini-golf course inside the building for a month; in 2016, Gloucester Cathedral transformed its 1,300-year-old building into a skate park for a skate festival; and Blackburn Cathedral has its own brand of gin — all done, of course, to attract people who probably saw right through the lyin’ bishops and tutors. To repeat: what else would you expect from a “respectable tradition of Anglican atheism”?

So, then, how do those respectable Anglicans think life on Earth began? How do they think we humans got here? On the back of a lyin’ bishop? And what was he standing on? Another lyin’ bishop? And that one? For them, is it lyin’ bishops all the way down?

Belief in God may be only a matter of faith today. But someday, and perhaps soon — maybe in only the next hundred years — the existence of God may be so obvious that only a moron, or an Anglican bishop, will be able to doubt it.

In 2009, this column reviewed Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell. Meyer’s essential premise was that there are times when we see something so improbable we say, “Somebody did that.” If you’re at a casino and the ball lands on 16 red 10 times in a row, you know someone’s cheating. You know that because for the ball to land on 16 red more than a (very) few times in a row is so improbable that “someone” (i.e., an intelligence, e.g., a crooked croupier) must be making it happen.

Meyer said we should bring that same skepticism to the idea that life developed by chance. Some people think that life on Earth had an eternity to develop. Not true. The Earth has only been cool enough for life to exist for a relatively few years (maybe four billion). Meyer says that in that relatively short time, all the necessary proteins needed to service a minimally complex cell would have to have developed. The odds of that having happened, he says, are about 1 in 1041,000  (that’s 10 with 41,000 zeros after it). So, yes, that could have happened “by chance,” but we should bring the same skepticism (actually, a whole lot more) to its having happened by chance that we would bring to the behavior of the monotonous roulette wheel.

And now there’s more. In his book Miracles, Eric Metaxas describes some other facts that, if they were just ever so slightly different, would mean that life on Earth couldn’t exist. Here are only three: If our planet were just a little larger, its gravitational force would be stronger, and it would pull all the methane and ammonia down to Earth, and life couldn’t exist. But if Earth were just a little smaller, water vapor, essential to life, would dissipate into the atmosphere, and life couldn’t exist.

If the Earth rotated just a little more slowly, the days would be too hot and the nights too cold for life to exist. But if it rotated just a little faster, the rotation would produce winds sufficiently high to make life impossible.

And a sine qua non for life on Earth is Jupiter, our solar system’s vacuum cleaner. Because Jupiter is so huge (318 times the mass of Earth), most of the comets flying around our solar system get diverted from crashing into Earth by Jupiter’s gravitational pull.

There are, according to Metaxas, hundreds of these variables essential to human life. What are the odds that they all — every single one — are just the way they are by chance?

Zero! That we exist is, in a word, a miracle.

But there’s more. Metaxas says the fine-tuning required for life to exist is nothing compared to what is needed for the universe to exist. He writes that astrophysicists now know that the “values of the four fundamental forces — gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ nuclear forces — were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang…. Alter one value, and the universe could not exist.” The odds, he continues, are a bit like “tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row.” Forget about the roulette wheel.

St. John’s Gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word … ” “Logos” is the Greek word for “word,” but it also means “reason” or “order.”

So, in the beginning was the ordering of, for example (as Metaxas says), the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force, which, if it had been off by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one quadrillion), would have prevented stars from ever forming at all.

So, yes: in the beginning was the Word.

And then, 2,021 years ago, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

Merry Christmas.


December 24, 2021
The American Spectator