OPINIONSrnPope Garry the Great: Bare Ruined Choirs?rnby Thomas F. Roeserrn”He that is proud eats himself up; pride is his own glass,rnhis own trumpet, his own chronicle.”rn—William Shakespeare, Troilus and CressidarnPapal Sin: Structures of Deceitrnby Gam’ WillsrnNew York: Douhkdav;rn304 pp., $25.00 ‘rnWhat shall we say of Garry Willsrnwho, with a doctorate in the classics,rnonce purportedly showed promise asrna conservative iirtellectual, only to becomernthe historian-icon of the deconstructionistrnleft? Explanations vary; minernis this: Once there comes adulation —rnPulitzer Prizes, laudatory reviews in thernNew York Times, and network TV appearancesrn—from the vapid liberal establishment,rna mediocre man is beguiled byrna crowd that knows his name, allowingrnhim to strut and roll his eyes. That is thernbrief history of the seduction of Garrj-rnWills. For conservatives, his defection,rnbeing no great loss, is not a pit)’.rnA former CIA director once remarkedrnto me that the harm the British traitorrnKim Philby did to the West was not in therntheft of the secrets he took with him: ThernRussians either knew these or hadrnguessed them anyway. The damage Philbyrndid was in the dissimulation he spreadrnto the MIS while he was a member of thernThomas F. Roeser, a member of the boardrnof directors of The Rockford Institute,rnis a radio talk-show host and an OpEdrncontributor to the Ghicago Sun-Times.rnHe is a member of the Fellowship ofrnCatholic Scholars.rnintelligence commimitv. Once he fled,rnhis usefulness to his Soviet masters ended.rnThere was a time when Wills wasrnviewed as a conser’ative who, dissentingrnon a few issues, gave those on the rightrnfood for thought. Now, we know in advancernthat he will deplore “McCarthyism”rnand the 1950’s generallv, and rustlernup a bew of cliches about race-class-gender,rnwomen’s “empowerment,” and gayrnrights. As a Catholic, he does not just favorrncontraception or women priests—hernslurs the historical papacy itself I’hus, inrntheological as well as political terms, he isrnnot a heretic but an apostate.rnFor years, Wills, who teaches history atrnNorthwestern University (a subject onrnwhich he has no formal expertise), hasrnpresented himself as a man of superiorrnknowledge and intelligence, analyzingrnevents by dipping into Aristotle, Plato, St.rnAugustine, Newman, Ruskin, Carlyle,rnAbbe Pestre, and Charles-Irenee-CastelrnSaint-Pierre, and applying their ideas torntoday’s problems. Read him oir any subjectrn—say, immigration —and this virtuosornwill cite Francis Hutcheson, whornlaunched the Scottish Enlightenment,rnand Ludovico Mmatori, the Jesuitrnarchivist to the Prince of Modena. Thesernnames, however, are martialed forth withrndishonest selectivity and for one purposernonlv: to con us into accepting otherwisernrepugnant radical ideas. 1 he completernlack of any standard of argumerrt,rnwhether syllogistic or methodological, isrnpalpable. Thus, Wills adopts selectivernlogical approaches depending on theirrnconenience to his purpose.rnIn Saint Augustine (Penguin Lives Series,rn1999), Wills, glorying in the bishoprnof Hippo’s earlier role as a “star in therngalaxy of Maniehean activists,” valuesrnhim solelv as a scholar. Wills dismisses asrnsimplv myth the sexual excesses overrnwhich Augustine triumphed to become arnsaint But Augustine had a longtime mistress,rnby whom he fathered a son; later, herndallied with another and wrote about stillrnother inamoritae who delayed his conversionrnwhile he pravcd for chastih- —butrnnot at once. Ignoring the trail of womenrnin the Confessions, Wills writes, “He livedrnwith one woman for fifteen years… Thisrnkind of legal concubine was recognizedrnin Roman law.” His illogic is as importantrnas his inaccuracy. Recognized inrnRoman law? So what? Augustine wasrn24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn