Paul Johnson

journalist, historian and speechwriter from England

Paul Bede Johnson (born 2 November 1928) is an English journalist, historian, speechwriter and author.

Paul Johnson (right) 2006


Modern Times: A History of the World from the 1920s to the 1980s (1983)Edit

  • A Stalin functionary admitted, "Innocent people were arrested: naturally - otherwise no one would be frightened. If people, he said, were arrested only for specific misdemeanours, all the others would feel safe and so become ripe for treason.
  • Men are excessively ruthless and cruel not as a rule out of malice but from outraged righteousness. How much more is this true of legally constituted states, invested with all this seeming moral authority of parliaments and congresses and courts of justice! The destructive capacity of an individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and the destructive capacity necessarily expands too. Collective righteousness is far more ungovernable than any individual pursuit of revenge. That was a point well understood by Woodrow Wilson, who warned: 'Once lead this people into war and they'll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance.
  • Mussolini was a reluctant fascist because, underneath, he remained a Marxist, albeit a heretical one.
    • (2001 ed.) p. 101.
  • With Lenin he shared a quasi-religious approach to politics, though in sheer crankiness he had much more in common with Hitler (…) One of his favourite books was Constipation and Our Civilization, which he constantly reread. (…) His eccentricities appealed to a nation which venerates sacral oddity. But his teachings had no relevance to India’s problems. (…) His food policy would have led to mass starvation. In fact Gandhi’s own ashram (…) had to be heavily subsidized by three merchant princes.‘And Gandhi was expensive in human life as well as money. The events of 1920–21 indicated that though he could bring a mass-movement into existence, he could not control it. Yet he continued to play the sorcerer's apprentice, while the casualty bill mounted into hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands, and the risks of a gigantic sectarian and racial explosion accumulated. This blindness to the law of probability in a bitterly divided subcontinent made nonsense of Gandhi’s professions that he would not take life in any circumstances.
    • About Mahatma Gandhi. Modern Times, pp. 470–472., Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.

Intellectuals (1988)Edit

  • It was part of Rousseau’s vanity that he believed himself incapable of base emotions. ‘I feel too superior to hate.’ ‘I love myself too much to hate anybody.

A History of the American People (1997)Edit

  • This book is dedicated to the people of America--strong, outspoken, intense in their convictions, sometimes wrong-headed but always generous and brave, with a passion for justice no nation has ever matched.

External linksEdit

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