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Malcolm Muggeridge Essay

I came to Carthage, where I found myself in the midst of a hissing cauldron of lusts. I had not yet fallen in love, but I was in love with the idea of it, and this feeling that something was missing made me despise myself for not being more anxious to satisfy the need. I began to look around for some object for my love, since I badly wanted to love something.
—St. Augustine,Confessions

Diversion is the only thing that consoles us in our wretchedness, and yet diversion is itself the greatest of our miseries. For it is diversion above all that keeps us from seriously taking stock of ourselves and so leads us imperceptibly to perdition.
—Pascal,Pensées

There are people for whom evil means only a mal-adjustment with things, a wrong correspondence of one’s life with the environment. Such evil as this is curable, at least in principle, upon the natural plane… . But there are others for whom evil is no mere relation of the subject to particular outer things, but something more radical and general, a wrongness or vice in his essential nature, which no alteration of the environment, or any superficial rearrangement of the inner self, can cure, and which requires a supernatural remedy.
—W. James,The Varieties of Religious Experience

Muggeridge is not much of a presence today, though his anniversary is sparking a minor recrudescence of Muggeridgiana. A painstaking and informative biography by Gregory Wolfe, originally published in 1995, will be re-issued with a brief new preface later this year.[1] (Richard Ingrams’s shorter, more sprightly life, also published in 1995, is unfortunately out of print.) Sprouting here and there are panels, symposia, and conferences devoted to “St. Mugg”—as the cartoonist Wally Fawkes (“Trog”) once denominated him—as well as sundry essays with titles like “Malcolm Muggeridge’s Journey.”

In his heyday, which stretched from the 1930s through the 1960s and into the 1970s, Muggeridge was a formidable figure. He commanded prodigious literary and rhetorical gifts. He knew everyone: the infamous as well as the famous. He traveled everywhere: teaching in India and Egypt as a young man, on assignment in Moscow, Washington, New York, Berlin, Tokyo … In World War II, Muggeridge was a spy with MI6, stationed in Mozambique. He was, according to one biographer, an “outstanding secret agent,” through whose ministrations a German U-boat was captured. Muggeridge was also a nimble public performer, quick with a comeback, heedless of sacred cows. His enemies (never in short supply) belabored his inconsistencies, his “contradictions”; he gloried in them.

Over the course of his long career (he died in 1990 at eighty-seven), Muggeridge published a clutch of novels. In 1931, his play, Three Flats, was performed in London. (George Bernard Shaw, who had already read the work, was in the audience opening night.) “From earliest childhood,” Muggeridge noted, “it always seemed to me that the only thing worth doing in life was to write.”

But Muggeridge was not really Muggeridge in his purely literary efforts. His best work was in the realm of journalism, taking that term in its highest and broadest sense. He wrote about virtually every signal public event and personality from around 1930 through the 1970s. And yet he invariably interwove description with introspection. Reporting the news was part of assembling his autobiography. By the same token, his autobiographical writings—published are a volume of diaries and Chronicles of Wasted Time, a two-volume memoir that takes Muggeridge through World War II—are instinct with the news and personalities of the day.

Muggeridge seems to have written for just about every important English paper and journal, including The Spectator, Encounter, The Listener, The New Statesman, The Manchester Guardian (where he became chief leader writer at twenty-seven), The Telegraph (where he was deputy editor for a spell), and Punch, which he edited for nearly five years in the 1950s. Muggeridge also wrote for many American publications. He had a column at Esquire—a publication that once mattered—and his work would regularly turn up in The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Saturday Evening Post, and other illustrious venues. By late 1940s he was a familiar figure on BBC radio. By the late-1950s he was ubiquitous on BBC television, where his cantankerous wit, oddly patrician appearance (replete with cigarette-and-holder for histrionic effect), and braying, Cambridge-trumps-Croydon accent transfixed audiences. A patent of his celebrity came in 1968 when his wax figure was unveiled at Madame Tussaud’s, sharing a room with Elizabeth Taylor, Charles de Gaulle, Alfred Hitchock, and the Beatles, among others.

In his prose, Muggeridge tended to proceed by imbrication, layering his analysis of appearance, character, and achievement—the whole set firmly in the context of world events—to produce memorable, often devastating, portraits. In 1956, after the Suez crisis, Muggeridge had this to say about Prime Minister Anthony Eden:

His somehow slightly seedy good looks and attire, his ingratiating smile and gestures, the utter nothingness of what he had to say—did it not all provide an outward and visible manifestation of an inward and invisible loss of authority and self-confidence? Yes, it was entirely fitting that this tedious, serious Etonian, on whose lips were the last dying echoes of the late nineteenth-century concept of progress without tears, should have had his moment in the middle of the turbulent and cruel twentieth century. He was a Disraeli hero who had moved into a service flat… . As has been truly said, … he was not only a bore, he bored for England.

Has Eden’s essential fecklessness ever been more piquantly sketched? Can anyone who has heard of the man who not only “bored, but bored for England” forget the characterization?

Deflationary finales were one of Muggeridge’s specialties. After World War II, he went to Tokyo and witnessed a public appearance by the Emperor: a “nervous, shy, stuttering, pathetic figure, formerly god.”

MUGGERIDGE: I know we’re supposed to discuss modern art, and I expect we shall, but first of all may I say I’m fascinated by your moustaches. Might I ask what happens to them at night?
DALI: They droop.

When the evangelist Billy Graham replied to a question by saying that “Only God could answer that one,” Muggeridge instantly interjected: “And we haven’t got him in the studio, or”—casting his eyes upwards—“have we?”

Muggeridge was a complex, many-sided creature. He was a driven man, plagued by insomnia, night fears, and nameless yearnings for surcease. His joking, bad-boy antics were played partly for laughs, for “ratings.” But they also, I believe, had a more serious purpose. In the mid-1950s, when the scandal about Princess Margaret and Group Captain Townsend was fresh, he wrote a couple of exasperated pieces about the royal family. The title of the first, “Royal Soap Opera,” epitomizes his point.

Muggeridge’s criticism seems anodyne by today’s standards. But it caused a furor at the time. The BBC banished him (temporarily) from its airwaves. The Sunday Express thundered that Muggeridge had “earned the contempt of all Britain.” A stranger spat at him in Brighton; his cottage at Robertsbridge was defaced with slogans by empire loyalists; a neighbor told him he was no longer welcome to walk across his fields: the wages of candor. In the United States, Muggeridge was interviewed by Mike Wallace. He dispensed his usual quota of pleasantries. Wallace quoted the British MP Michael Astor’s remark that Muggeridge’s “genius is for disliking [his] fellow human beings.”

Well, if my fellow human beings were all Astors, there might be some element of truth in that, but fortunately for us all, the Astor family is a large one, but not so large that it’s occupied the whole human race.

That sort of thing keeps people entertained. But Muggeridge also went on to make this serious point.

The essence of a free and civilized society is that everything should be subject to criticism, that all forms of authority should be treated with a certain reservation, and … that once you have produced … a totally conformist society in which there were no critics, that would in fact be an exact equivalent of the totalitarian societies against which which we are supposed to be fighting a cold war.

It is worth noting that in suggesting that “all forms of authority should be treated with a certain reservation,” Muggeridge is not denying the legitimacy of authority—what we might call the authority of authority. On the contrary, he hoped that constructive criticism would help bolster the claims of authority. He knew too well what happened when authority collapsed. It is one of the main themes of The Thirties (1940), perhaps his most comprehensive piece of social observation. Reviewing the book, George Orwell described this tart moral and political portrait of the decade as “brilliant and depressing.” Like many readers, Orwell thought the book too negative—a sobering judgment from the author of 1984—but he subscribed to its main lesson, that “We are living a nightmare precisely because we have tried to set up an earthly paradise.”

Muggeridge’s great gift as a political commentator was a nose for spurious idealism. Like nearly every right-thinking (which meant left-leaning) person, the young Muggeridge regarded the Soviet Union as the first chapter of the new utopia. When he went there as Moscow correspondent for The Manchester Guardian in the early 1930s, disabusement was almost immediate. As a leader writer, Muggeridge had tapped out “Many an uplifting sentence … expressing the hope that moderate men of all shades of opinion would draw together, and that wiser counsels might yet prevail.” In Moscow, he discovered that “moderate men of all shades of opinion had a way of disappearing into Lubinka Prison, never to be seen again.” Muggeridge saw the future, and—unlike Lincoln Steffens a decade earlier—he saw that it was hell on earth. Russia, he understood, was in the process of becoming “a huge and centrally organised slave state.” It wasn’t long before he was writing to his aunt-by-marriage Beatrice about his

overwhelming conviction that the [Soviet] Government and all it stands for, its crude philosophy (religion if you like) is evil and a denial of everything I care for in life… .

Why should uncle Sidney say … “I indignantly repudiate the slander that there is forced labour in the Soviet Union” when every single person in Russia knows there is forced labour … ?

A glimpse of Stalin’s Russia spurred Muggeridge’s political awakening. It is to his everlasting credit that he had the wit to see through his Fabian “ideals” and the courage to broadcast the horrors going on around him. In the beginning, at least, he was almost alone. Western intellectuals flocked to the workers’ paradise that Stalin had created and “they were one and all utterly delighted and excited by what they saw there.”

Clergymen walked serenely and happily through the anti-god museums, politicians claimed that no system of society could possibly be more equitable and just, lawyers admired Soviet justice, and economists praised the Soviet economy.

As for the Webbs and their starry-eyed ideal of universal brotherhood, Muggeridge summed it up in a dismissive BBC broadcast after their deaths. Comparing Beatrice to Don Quixote, he wrote that “she finished up enmeshed in her own self-deception, adulating a regime [the USSR] which bore as little relation to the Fabian Good Life as Dulcinea del Toboso to the Mistress of Don Quixote’s dreams.”[2]

Muggeridge was one of the first—perhaps he was the first—Western journalist to expose the awful brutality of Soviet totalitarianism. He was equally prescient about Hitler, early on warning against the British policy of appeasement. In addition, Muggeridge had the rare perspicacity to understand that left-wing tyranny is no less murderous than the right-wing variety. Reporting from Berlin in 1933, he wrote that “It’s silly to say that the Brown terror is worse than the Red Terror. They’re both horrible.”

It is one thing—an important thing—to proclaim the bestiality of Communism or Nazism. It is quite another to discern the ways in which liberalism itself nurtures unfreedom. By the 1950s, Muggeridge had come to believe that liberalism is “the destructive force of the age.” In part, his criticism was reminiscent of Tocqueville’s. Unchecked, the impulse to equality became an impulse to homogeneity: the drive for democracy involved a democratic despotism that did not, as Tocqueville put it, so much tyrannize as infantilize. “The welfare state,” Muggeridge observed, “is a kind of zoo which provides its inmates with ease and comfort and unfits them for life in their natural habitat.”

But Muggeridge’s brief against liberalism went deeper. Liberalism, he thought, illustrated the paradox of good intentions, whereby the opposite of what was intended comes to pass. Consider education. Scratch a liberal, and he shouts “Education!” Whatever social or political problem society confronts, good liberals huddle together and decide “What’s needed is more and better education.” (Obligatory codicil: “And the money—i.e., your money—to pay for it.”) Is crime a problem? Education is the answer. Poverty? Education is the answer. War, violence, sickness, unkindness, death? Education, education, education. If only, the liberal muses, everyone were awakened to his or her own true interests, all the world’s problems could be solved. But this notion, Muggeridge saw, is an illusion. Liberalism proposes what is unattainable:

that we little men and women should live in amity together on our minute corner of the universe for the few score years vouchsafed us, of our own volition seeking one another’s good and sharing equitably in the material things which satisfy our needs and desires. This is a fantasy. This, in human terms, cannot be. Therefore, the effect of believing in it is constantly tearing the world to pieces.

In 1938, Muggeridge published In a Valley of This Restless Mind. It was commissioned to be a survey of contemporary religous ideas. What turned out was an odd but powerful sort of spiritual autobiography, a portrait of existential anguish and bewilderment that begins “Looking for God, I sat in Westminster Abbey and watched sightseers drift by.” Pascal, another Muggeridge favorite, characterized the human condition as bounded by “inconstance, ennui, inquiétude”—fickleness, boredom, and restlessness. Restlessness was Muggeridge’s constitutional affliction, boredom his overpowering fear. Valley is an sly acknowledgment of that fact, part ventriloquizing credo, part disaffected satire.

“What are you interested in?” asks the literary editor.
     I said I was interested in Lust and in Money and in God.
     “I’ve seen a book lying about that might be suitable. Short notice if worth it.”

In a favorable review of the book, Evelyn Waugh noted that “what Mr. Muggeridge has discovered and wishes to explain is the ancient piece of folk-wisdom that Lust and Love are antithetical and that Lust is boring.” Muggeridge’s life is an illustration of the Pascalian insight that restlessness is a secret friend of boredom, feeding on what it abominates in order to sustain itself. Which is to say that what is boring may also be addictive.

Today, to the extent that he is known at all, Malcolm Muggeridge is more notorious than famous. He is remembered less for the truths he communicated than for the life that he led. He is the Libertine Who Found God, a latter-day St. Augustine who lingered in the flesh pots before turning to denounce them and embrace religion. Muggeridge lingered longer and more assiduously than most. He was an ambitious smoker, heavy drinker, and tireless adulterer. (His wife Kitty, it is worth noting, also pursued numerous adulterous liaisons; her last child, Charles, was fathered by one of her lovers.) According to Richard Ingrams, by the 1960s Muggeridge’s behavior towards women

had become embarrassing and frequently outrageous. BBC colleagues called him “The Pouncer.” Patricia, [his friend] Claud Cockburn’s wife, compared him to a Russian peasant, describing an incident when during a dinner party she went upstairs to make a phone call and was pursued by Malcolm who began to assault her. Outraged, Patricia struck out at him with the telephone, knocked him down and flew into a panic, convinced that she had killed him.

By the mid-1960s, Muggeridge had said goodbye to all that, giving up smoking first, then booze, then womanizing. Plagued by digestive problems, he also became a vegetarian. In 1982 he entered the Roman Catholic Church. His enemies, and even his friends, were not edified. They saw in him the aging reprobate who, stymied by flagging appetite, rails against the sins of his youth and cravenly turns to religion. The fact that Muggeridge launched Mother Teresa as a celebrity in the late 1960s, devoting a television show and book to her life and work, seemed to underscore the divide between Muggeridge the worldly wit and Muggeridge the retiring ascetic.

Notes
Go to the top of the document.

  1. Malcolm Muggeridge: A Biography, by Gregory Wolfe; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 490 pages, $15 (paper). Go back to the text.
  2. “I listened to the broadcast with growing horror, incredulity, and anger,” responded the chairman of the BBC. “The Webbs were personal friends of mine… . 315obody can doubt that they were great public servants; after all they were buried in Westminster Abbey… .” After all, indeed. Some things never change. Go back to the text.

Malcolm Muggeridge once distrusted all systems. Now one has met the rigors of his doubt.

 

Last December Malcolm Muggeridge — iconoclast, womanizer, and professional cynic — stunned his native England by converting to Catholicism. Muggeridge took Holy Communion in a small steepled chapel in Hurst Green, Sussex, and when the service was over he said, “It’s a particularly joyful sort of day. It’s rather like when you fall in love with a woman and ask her to marry you. You know there are no more questions to be asked.”

What does a journalist do when he runs out of questions? That’s what Muggeridge’s friends at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), condescending toward his new faith, whispered to each other. But Muggeridge would have answered: “He becomes an atheist.” It is atheism which refuses to grapple with the ultimate questions of where man came from, what he is doing here, and where he is headed. Muggeridge says, “It is one of the fantasies of the 20th century that believers are credulous people, sentimental people, and that you have to be a materialist and a scientist and a humanist to have a skeptical mind. But of course exactly the opposite is true.”

Muggeridge’s point is that he is a Catholic not despite his questioning nature, but because of it. He started out distrusting all systems; now one of them has met the rigors of his doubt. Of course Muggeridge’s fecund imagination will develop doubts and questions in the years to come, but the essential question has been answered; there lies the solace.

After his conversion Muggeridge remembered Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose selfless work for India’s destitute he first told the world about, who had a dramatic transforming effect on his life. Seeing the light of God illuminate the nun’s wizened face, seeing her complete trust in God, Muggeridge saw as never before the pathetic condition of his worldly cynicism.

It was a cynicism that had been cultivated from his youth in London. He was born March 24, 1903 into a lower middle class family. His father, Henry Thomas Muggeridge, was a Fabian socialist, later a member of Parliament; he taught young Malcolm “to regard socialism as the one thing that mattered,” as Muggeridge wrote later. The family did attend Congregational Church, but “for social reasons”: they were deeply antagonistic to religion because they regarded it as a vehicle of capitalist subjugation:

In 1920 Muggeridge entered Selwyn College, Cambridge. He describes his four years there as “the most futile and dismal of my whole life.” After graduation he embarked for India to teach literature at Union Christian College. Here his writing career began, rather auspiciously, with an exchange of letters on war and peace with Mahatma Gandhi, published in Young India.

Returning to England in 1927, he met and promptly married Kitty Dobbs, a niece of Beatrice Webb. The two left for Cairo where Muggeridge taught at Egyptian University. But he found the students “of inert mind” and devoted his time to writing political commentary for the Manchester Guardian.

In 1932 the Guardian sent him to Moscow as a special correspondent. He went to confirm “my strongly held opinion that capitalism had irretrievably broken down (and) the Soviet regime was providing the only convincing alternative.” But only 69 days later he wrote in his diary. “This is a very low period of my life. Insofar as I was really enthusiastic about Communism, I feel now completely disillusioned.”

Two things pained him most deeply. Obviously he was repulsed by Stalinist barbarism, and the fact that it seemed to be upheld by, indeed was consistent with, the entire Communist structure. But he felt equally hurt by “the painful spectacle of all my heroes, from Andre Gide to Bernard Shaw, displaying toward Stalin an imbecile credulity which an African witch-doctor would have found enviable.” Information about Stalin’s purges was available, but nobody wanted to listen. Muggeridge’s own paper, the Guardian, rewrote his reports to reinforce its editorial line.

He resigned and went back to India to edit the Calcutta Statesman in 1934, leaving his wife and three children in London. The immensity of suffering in India, which as a reporter he first encountered, horrified and then bored him; he diverted himself by writing a biography of Samuel Butler, titled The Earnest Atheist. Muggeridge, though an agnostic, attacked Butler’s view that “Christianity is true (only) insofar as it fosters beauty.” For Muggeridge it was all or nothing, not some tepid esthetic hoax.

Muggeridge was back in England for World War II, during which he served as a spy in Lourenco Marques in Mozambique. Like most institutions he found the Secret Service bunglingly corrupt: “My first impression of this strange and diverse collection of human beings was that they must constitute a false front or facade. When I had been fully vetted and tried out, I thought, I should be taken off to some other place, and there make contact with the real Secret Service. It took me quite a time to realize that this was not so.”

Espionage in Mozambique was a lonely business: at one point Muggeridge became so despondent that he drove out to the ocean with the intention of swimming until he drowned. It was only splashing in the water that Muggeridge realized that, inconsequential as he was, his life must have some purpose on earth; he struggled back to shore to discover what it could be.

In 1953 Muggeridge was appointed editor of Punch, the urbane humor magazine, where he spent the next four years “trying to discover what, if anything, was funny enough to make the English laugh.” In most cases, he found, institutions were not worth satirizing because they were funnier in reality than any exaggeration could possibly improve upon.

The advent of television in the 1950s made Muggeridge a nationally, later internationally, known figure. He complemented his scathing and witty reports with equally scathing and witty books. He was the Mike Wallace of his time, but he had more than a razor tongue: he had philosophical range and humor. The celebrities he interviewed, from Billy Graham to Winston Churchill, regarded him as one of them. He hobnobbed with literary figures like Anthony Powell, T.S. Eliot, George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, and Ian Fleming.

Muggeridge’s critical nature led him to discover the pretentions of the very progressive world view he had been raised to espouse. In his own life he found sex turned from a process of loving into an end-in-itself. Covering local mores in Racine, Wisconsin, he discovered a flood of pornography titillating locals at a drug store. And he realized what the lofty ideals of Voltaire, Havelock Ellis, D. H. Lawrence, and Freud, had come down to — “This sordid display of printed matter; not in Sodom or Gomorrah, but in Racine, Wisconsin; not in Byzantine scenes of debauchery, but in a drug store; no vine leaves to put in the hair, but only hamburgers and ice-cream sundaes to swallow; no nymphs and satyrs, but only cheesecake, and the sad dreams of forlorn lovers whose mistresses come to them through the camera lens, that most ubiquitous of panderers.”

In a famous essay “Down With Sex” Muggeridge had the insight that sexual promiscuity is fundamentally anti-religious because it reverses the Christian formula: “We are to die in the spirit and be re-born in the flesh, rather than the other way round.” Muggeridge deplored the obsession with sex: “We have all got sex on the brain, which is a most unseemly place to have it.”

Muggeridge considered conversion to Christianity in the early 1960s, but held back because he could not give up drinking, smoking, overeating, and promiscuity. “I felt it was necessary that my personal life should not be a disgrace to the Christian religion.”

But he wrote wistfully about the decline of Christianity. Witnessing the social tumult of the 1960s in America, Muggeridge commented, “Previous civilizations have been overthrown from without by the incursion of barbarian hordes. Christendom has dreamed up its own dissolution in the minds of its own intellectual elite. Our barbarians are home produced, indoctrinated at public expense, urged on by the media, dismantling Christendom.”

He surprised media colleagues in 1967 by declaring, “We today need faith more than any other thing on earth.” But Muggeridge meant for others, not himself. He saw religion as a social cement, a civilizing force for the unruly. He also appreciated the cultural contributions of Christianity — which inspired Shakespeare, Raphael, Pascal, and Dostoyevsky, all Muggeridge favorites — but felt he could savor them from outside the Church. Muggeridge believed in believing in God, but he wasn’t a Christian — not yet.

It was his encounter with Mother Teresa which brought the change of spirit. He was filming a documentary on her Sisters of Charity for the BBC. She taught him that it was not all the good deeds of the world which finally mattered, but in whose name they were performed. Welfare programs served a purpose, but Christian love was for a person. Christianity is not about numbers, it is about a man who was also God.

Muggeridge articulated the difference between Christianity and the Welfare State in his famous book on Mother Teresa, Something Beautiful for God: “Imagine Bernard Shaw and a mental defective on a raft that will hold only one of them. In worldly terms, the obvious course would be for Shaw to pitch the mental defective into the sea, and save himself to write more plays for the edification of mankind. Christianly speaking, jumping off and leaving the mental defective in possession of the raft would give a greater glory to human life itself of greater worth than all the plays that ever have been, or will be, written.”

In 1971 Muggeridge declared that he was a practicing Christian. He wrote three books about Christ: A Third Testament, Jesus: The Man Who Lives, and Jesus Rediscovered. He said he did not believe in the theory of evolution, which he commented “will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future.” He said he felt that “In this world I’m a stranger. I don’t belong here. I am staying here for a bit, arid it’s a very nice place, an interesting place, but I don’t belong here.”

Muggeridge’s Christian convictions did not sit well with students and faculty at the University of Edinburgh, where he was Rector and honorary lecturer. In 1973 Muggeridge resigned his posts rather than approve the students’ request for permitting drugs and birth control pills to be distributed on campus. Ironically the university chaplains were the ones who denounced Muggeridge’s position the most.

In the last decade Muggeridge has grown increasingly pessimistic about the fate of the modern world. But Christian hope has sustained him. In a moving essay “But Not of Christ,” he wrote, “Let us then as Christians rejoice that we see around us on every hand the decay of the institutions and instruments of power, see intimations of empires falling to pieces, money in total disarray, dictators and parliamentarians alike nonplussed by the confusion and conflicts which encompass them. For it is precisely when every eartly hope has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming, when every recourse this world offers, moral as well as material, has been explored to no effect, when in the shivering cold the last twig has been thrown onto the fire and in the gathering darkness every glimmer of light has finally flickered out; it is then that Christ’s hand reaches out sure and firm.”

Recently Muggeridge interviewed Alexander Solzhenitsyn for the BBC when the Russian dissident came to London to receive the Templeton Prize for Religion. Muggeridge said during the conversation that the most heartening development in the last 50 years was “the revival of the Christian faith in Russia, the one place in the world where I would have expected it would have no chance of surviving.”

After the interview Muggeridge commented that Solzhenitsyn could have remained in the Soviet Union as a successful and indulged writer, but “the reason he didn’t choose this was that in his prison camp he learned something he hadn’t known before. He learned in the prison camp the one thing you would have expected him not to learn, what it really means to be free. He realized that we can be free only if we are free in our souls.”

Muggeridge has since made several documentaries on the anti-religious movement in the Soviet Union for radio and TV. He says, “The strange and mysterious and highly amusing thing is that probably you would have very great difficulty in finding a single Marxist in the U.S.S.R. You would only find Marxists among left-wing Jesuits in the faculties of universities in the West, which is one of God’s little jokes.”

Finally, last year, the great British journalist decided to take the final step and become a Catholic. He consulted his wife and they decided to do it together. Muggeridge says it was the most profound moment in his life. He says he felt “a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that has long been ringing, of finding a place at a table that has long been left vacant.”

By Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza is an American conservative political commentator, author, and former college president.