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The growth of totalitarian beliefs before that fateful September day in 1939 when the first bombs broke upon Europe again, however much and however rightly it is to be deplored, is not to be dismissed as an historical accident. Powerful causes must have lain behind it. The philosophically minded have to probe beneath the surface and find why totalitarianism succeeded in having for a time the fatal appeal which it did. And--leaving aside such success as it gained through wielding the bloody clubs of brutal violence and barbarian terror, as well as its offering of a speedy solution of harassing economic difficulties--among these reasons we shall find that it represented a half-formed substitute in the popular mind for the religion which it had lost. We shall never understand the meaning of totalitarianism's appeal unless we begin to understand that it was not only the outcome of a few evil men's crooked personal ambitions, but also the outcome of a falsely directed religious instinct.


-- Notebooks Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 3: Their Presence in The World > # 204






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