Bertrand Russell quotes: Education should aim at destroying free will

Leif’s Blog

In the book “The Impact of Science on Society”, published in 1951, the following quotes are found:

  • “Education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished.”  (Page 50 – The Intended Result of Education)

  • “After all, most civilized and semi-civilized countries known to history and had a large class of slaves or serfs completely subordinate to their owners.  There is nothing in human nature that makes the persistence of such a system impossible.  And the whole development of scientific technique has made it easier than it used to be to maintain a despotic rule of a minority.  When the government controls the distribution of food, its power is absolute so long as they can count on the police and the armed forces.  And their loyalty can be secured by giving them some of the privileges of the governing class.  I do not see how any internal movement of revolt can ever bring freedom to the oppressed in a modern scientific dictatorship.” (Page 54 – Scientific Dictatorship)
  • “There are three ways of securing a society that shall be stable as regards population.  The first is that of birth control, the second that of infanticide or really destructive wars, and the third that of general misery except for a powerful minority.” (Page 103-104 – Bacteriological War, Population and World Government)
  • “My conclusion is that a scientific society can be stable given certain conditions.  The first of these is a single government of the whole world, possessing a monopoly of armed force and therefore able to enforce peace.  The second condition is a general diffusion of prosperity, so that there is no occasion for envy of one part of the world by another.  The third condition (which supposes the second fulfilled) is a low birth rate everywhere, so that the population of the world becomes stationary, or nearly so.  The fourth condition is the provision for individual initiative both in work and in play, and the greatest diffusion of power compatible with maintaining the necessary political and economic framework.  The world is a long way from realizing these conditions, and therefore we must expect vast upheavals and appalling suffering before stability is attained.  But, while upheavals and suffering have hitherto been the lot of man, we can now see, however dimly and uncertainly, a possible future culmination in which poverty and war will have been overcome, and fear, where it survives, will have become pathological.  The road, I fear, is long, but that is no reason for losing sight of the ultimate hope.” (Page 113-114 – World Army & Massive Upheavals)

(Swedish translations of these quotes were found at 2008-07-10 00:39:38.  Not there 2008-07-16.  English originals later obtained from several web pages.)

Start the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *