Bertrand Russell Unpopular Essays

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Trade brings contacts with foreigners and erodes dogmatism, and successful trading requires an ability to see your partner’s point of view.

Liberalism is a "live and let live” approach, one that eschews fanaticism; it accepts no truths, but rather, holds opinions on a tentative basis.

Liberalism concerns itself not with what opinions are held, but how they are held.

This is the approach of science, though not of theology.

This leads to an insincere philosophy, one that responds not solely to truth but to the fear that “clear thinking would lead to anarchy...[p. Protagoras and Hume, skeptics both, are exceptions.

It wasn’t the skeptics, but rather the empiricists Democritus and Locke, who were the formidable intellectual opponents with whom Plato and Hegel had to contend.24].”Once you “know” where history leads, you can justify any sort of compulsion to help people along the path.Autocracy thinks itself justified by some such dogma.The earth once produced “harmless trilobites and butterflies [p. Peace will return, though, as the earth returns to a state where it cannot support life.Philosophers are not content with the undirected change of the earth.Hegel (in his own conceit) knew what others did not, and a strong government could force them to act in their own best interest.Russell quotes Heraclitus, “to whom Hegel was deeply indebted,” as noting that ‘Every beast is driven to the pasture with blows.’ Russell’s caustic retort: “Let us, in any case, make sure of the blows; whether they lead to a pasture is a matter of minor importance…[p.Hegel somehow is able to conclude from these philosophical foundations that “true liberty consists in obedience to an arbitrary authority, that free speech is an evil, that absolute monarchy is good…[p. The intermediate steps involve the logic of the ‘dialectio,’ the uncovering of “contradictions in abstract ideas and correcting them by making them less abstract [p.22],” with ideas thereby progressing to the Absolute Idea.They note features of the world they like, and others that they don’t like, and then claim that an immutable law of history is leading to an increase in the former and decrease in the latter.“At the same time the winning side, for reasons which remain somewhat obscure, is represented as the side of virtue [p.


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