The Foundation for Economic Education celebrates the pending 90th birthday of the great and prolific Paul Johnson.
Some choice extracts:
None of Johnson’s subjects can match Karl Marx for sheer loathsomeness and shameless fakery. He was a virulent racist and anti-Semite with a vicious temper (“Jewish n****r” was one of his favorite epithets). On a good day, he enjoyed threatening those who disagreed with him by blurting, “I will annihilate you!” His personal hygiene was, well, suffice it to say he had none. He was heartlessly cruel to his family and anyone who crossed him. This is the same man who postured as a thinker whose ideas would save humanity.
We learn in Intellectuals that the chef who cooked up communism professed to be “scientific.” In reality, Johnson argues, “there was nothing scientific about him; indeed, in all that matters he was anti-scientific.” His most famous lines—including “religion is the opiate of the masses” and workers “have nothing to lose but their chains”—were flagrantly ripped off from other authors. He “never set foot in a mill, factory, mine or other industrial workplace in the whole of his life,” steadfastly abjured invitations to do so, and denounced fellow revolutionaries who did. He never let a fact or a glimmer of reality stem the flow of poison from his pen. He had no money because he refused to work for it, then cursed those who had it and didn’t share it with him. His own mother said she wished her son “would accumulate some capital instead of just writing about it.”
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