Clerical Error

malachi-martin_medBinkley recently sent me a youtube video of an episode of Art Bell’s show from back in the day. The guest was talking about some crazy stuff the military was allegedly doing in Montauk (Long Island) in the Seventies. This guy was way, way out there, but his depth of knowledge and the continuity of his narrative had me hooked – I still don’t know what to make of it.

The audio was so interesting, that I sent it to one of my brothers (George the Friendly Truckdriver) who had been in the Air Force during that period and was for a time stationed in Montauk. The guest was all about electrical experiments and George had become an electrician in the service. I figured he would find the discussion as fascinating as I did.

Here it is.

I was surprised by George’s response.

George said he used to like Art Bell, who often had as his guest Malachi Martin, until he found out that Malachi Martin was a total p.o.s. fraud, at which point he tossed both Bell and Martin onto the dung heap.

I was shocked. While I didn’t know much about Bell or Martin, I knew my mother absolutely loved them both. My mother is a unique person and there’s no telling who she’ll like or why, but usually if the person she likes is a priest, he’s on the up and up–no secular humanists for her, even if the guy is nominally a Jesuit. Upon further research, I find Martin is described as a “cult figure” in certain Catholic and conservative circles–that sounds about right.

Shortly after the exchange with GTFT, I received in the mail a copy of Clerical Error, by Robert Blair Kaiser. Boy, did this guy do a number on Martin’s reputation, and by the end of the book, I couldn’t help but think he deserved it.

According to the book, Martin was a secret, paid operative within Vatican II of the American Jewish Committee (publisher of Commentary where self-proclaimed neo-conservative Irving Kristol was a writer and his fellow counter-counter-cultural revolutionary Norman Podhoretz was editor-in-chief.) As Kaiser pointed out, lobbyists are not necessarily bad but secret influence should not get the benefit of the doubt. Ironically, Martin, the double-agent, wrote extensively about secret Soviet operatives within Vatican II, though with his veracity plausibly called into question by Kaiser, as well as his own deceitful position coloring his motives, one finds Martin’s reports can bring us no closer to the real truth, though they are a part of the deep lore many traditional Catholics hold true.

Martin’s role in Kaiser’s book, however, is less about his mixed loyalties or mercenary activities, but rather about his sinister, self-indulgent, carnal behavior, which did real damage to many lives (including Kaiser’s.)

Apparently, Kaiser’s accusations of Martin’s loyalties bear out:

I found the book to be an easy, interesting read and a welcome break from the slogs I normally subject myself to, but I’m posting about it because I think it sheds interesting light on conspiracy theories, albeit indirectly.

Martin peddled conspiracy theories and my mom for one believed every word he said. He was a two-faced liar apparently so that all goes out the window…yet…he was deeply involved in numerous genuine conspiracies both those touched on in this book and others that have been independently verified. So conspiracies are real, it’s sussing them out that’s the trick–and beware those who package them up for you in a bow! An object lesson that comes at a fortuitous time.

Lately I’ve been disheartened because I’ve lost confidence in my ability to peel the onion. Well, maybe not my ability to peel it per se, but knowing which layer is the real deal–my truthdar needs recalibrating with the recent change in the weather so to speak. (Specifically, I’m still trying to figure out the Meaning of Trump–and no, I’m not buying the narratives the media have ready-made for me–left, right or “alt.”)

With “real leaks and fake news” thrown out there in presidential news conferences delivered in the context of a media frenzy over the Deep State, you gotta wonder where the truth lies. For sure it is not What You See Is What You Get, but it’s also not the stuff that is spoonfed to us by “sidestream media” darlings like Martin was. While the book is dated, Clerical Error‘s message is still timely.

As an aside, a friend of Kaiser’s (whom he discusses in the book) and Malachi Martin’s successor as religion editor for National Review, Michael Novak, just died a few days ago, while I was reading the book. Here’s his obit:

Update (h/t Binkley):