Human society in ethics and politics
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First published in 1954, Human Society in Ethics and Politics is Bertrand Russell's last full account of his ethical and political positions relating to both politics and religion. Ethics, he argues, are necessary to man because of the conflict between intelligence and impulse - if one were without the other, there would be no place for ethics. Man's impulses and desires are equally social and solitary. Politics and ethics are the means by which we as a society and as individuals become socially purposeful and moral codes inculcate our rules of action.
old-fashioned schoolmaster, wish to consider yourself full of universal benevolence, and at the same time derive great pleasure from caning boys. In order to reconcile these two desires you have to persuade yourself that caning has a reformatory influence. If a psychiatrist tells you that it has no such influence on some peculiarly irritating class of young sinners, you will fly into a rage and accuse him of being coldly intellectual. There is a splendid example of this pattern in the furious
example: if marriage were not permanent, fathers would have no part in education; but fathers are useful, both because they are more rational than mothers, and because they have the physical strength needed for punishment; therefore marriage should be permanent. Or again: brothers and sisters ought not to marry, because, if the affection of brother and sister were joined to that of husband and wife, the total would be so great as to lead to an excess of passion. I am not examining the validity of
fear, the natural reaction is an impulse to deceit or rebellion. It is natural to young children to respect their parents, but schoolboys are less apt to respect their teachers, with the result that only fear of punishment, not sense of sin, restrains them from many acts of disobedience. Disobedience, if it is to feel sinful, must be disobedience to an authority inwardly respected and acknowledged. A dog caught stealing a leg of mutton may have this feeling if he is caught by his master, but not
essential message of Marx was the supremacy of the Red man, because none of the Red men in Mexico were capitalists. It is obvious that this doctrine of the supremacy of a section of mankind can only breed endless strife, with periodic changes as to which group is to be dominant. At each stage there will have to be oppression and cruelty to preserve the supremacy of the momentary Lords of the World. At all times there will be fear of insurrection, police tyranny, and indignant suffering for large
occurred in the Mohammedan world. The Empire of the Caliph broke up into many fragments, which, though nominally re-united under the Turks (except for Morocco and Spain), never again acquired any real unity. It is difficult in the history of the world hitherto to discern any long-term movement either towards more cohesion or towards more rivalry. A mere alternation is all that seems discernible. And this is still true in the most recent history: Austria-Hungary has been disrupted, the British