IgnatiusInsight.com: Architects of the Culture of Death is a series of biographical vignettes that outline and chronicle the disturbing and often disgusting lives of architects of the Culture of Death. In some ways it resembles Paul Johnson's fascinating book, Intellectuals. Was that book an inspiration at all and is the comparison a valid one?
Donald De Marco: I did not read Johnson's book until after I had completed my series of Architects. Johnson's book, which I enjoyed, seems to reflect an animus against "intellectuals." He tends to give intellectualism a bad name. I am more concerned about distinguishing between good intellectuals from the bad ones. John Paul II is a good intellectual, whereas the Architects are not. What Johnson means by "intellectual" is the secular thinker who has "filled the vacuum left by the decline of the cleric and assumed the functions of moral mentor and critic of mankind." I did read James Gills' book, False Prophets, but found that a bit intemperate and much too emotional in tone (and I do not agree with his inclusion of Mark Twain). I tried to make Architects of the Culture of Death more philosophical, but without ignoring either biography or history.
Benjamin Wiker: I read Johnson's book some years ago, and was really intrigued and amused by it. The general idea of examining how the private lives of "intellectuals" often inform, malform, and even contradict their public philosophy I found to be quite illuminating. I'm sure that when I originally formulated the idea of Architects of the Culture of Death, Johnson's biographical approach was somewhere in the background.
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