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Paul Johnson and the Will to Power



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From a reader:

I’m up to chapter 3, and this is really an outstanding and absorbing book, certainly one of the best written history books I’ve read in awhile. I recall thinking broadly what you support specifically many years ago when I read Paul Johnson’s “Modern Times”. The last paragraph of chapter One – “A Relativistic World” – struck me at the time:

“Among the advanced races, the decline and ultimately the collapse of the religious impulse would leave a huge vacuum. The history of modern times is in great part the history of how that vacuum had been filled. Nietzsche rightly perceived that the most likely candidate would be what he called the “Will to Power”, which offered a far more comprehensive and in the end more plausible explanation of human behavior than either Marx or Freud. In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology. Those who had once filled the ranks of the totalitarian clergy would become totalitarian politicians. And, above all, the Will to Power would produce a new kind of messiah, uninhibited by any religious sanctions whatever, and with an unappeasable appetite for controlling mankind. The end of the old order, with an unguided world adrift in a relativistic universe, was a summons to such gangster-statesmen to emerge. They were not slow to make their appearance.”

I suspect Paul Johnson loves your book too.

Me: Let’s hope — he’s reviewing it for NR!



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