I’m reading historian Paul Johnson’s Enemies of Society, published in 1977, and it is as timely now as it was over four decades ago – even prophetic in its own way, offering a hermeneutic to interpret the strange days in which we now live. Each chapter has a theme, from the role of science and religion, to the necessity of a ‘middle class’, and what that (much derided) term really means.

Here are but two passages, one a quotation from political thinker, and anti-Marxist, Isaiah Berlin:

It is one of the stratagems of totalitarian regimes to present all situations as critical emergencies, demanding ruthless elimination of all goals, interpretations and forms of behaviour save for one absolutely, specific, concrete, immediate end, binding on everyone, which calls for ends and means so narrow and so easily definable that it is easy to impose sanctions for failing to pursue them. 

Praise the Lord

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