Men like Einstein proclaim obvious truths about war but are not listened to. So long as Einstein is unintelligible, he is thought wise, but as soon as he says anything that people can understand, it is thought that his wisdom has departed from him. In this folly, governments take a leading part. It seems that politicians would rather lead their countries to destruction than not be in the government. A greater depth of wickedness than this it is not easy to imagine.
出典: Do governments desire war? (written in Aug. 24, 1931 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.]
During the French Revolution, when the Reign of Terror came to an end, it was found that no one was left alive among the politicians except prudent cowards who had changed their opinions quickly enough to keep their heads on their shoulders. The result was twenty years of military glory, because there was no one left among the politicians with sufficient courage to keep the generals in order. The French Revolution was an exceptional time, but wherever organisation exists cowardice will be found more advantageous than courage. Of the men at the head of businesses, schools, lunatic asylums, and the like, nine out of ten will prefer the supple lickspittle to the outspoken man of independent judgement. In politics it is necessary to profess the party programme and flatter the leaders;
出典: The advantages of cowardice (written in Nov. 2, 1931 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.]
Great States have, at present the privilege of killing members of other States whenever they feel so disposed, though this liberty is disguised as the heroic privilege of dying in defence of what is right and just. Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.
出典: Has Man a Future?, G. Allen & Unwin, 1962, p.84]
But a man who acquires a fortune by cruelty and exploitation should be regarded as at present we regard what is called an ‘immoral’ man; and he should be so regarded even if he goes to church regularly and gives a portion of his ill-gotten gains to public objects.
出典: The Harm That Good Men Do，1926]
One of the most important elements of success in becoming a man of genius is to learn the art of denunciation. You must always denounce in such a way that your reader thinks that it is the other fellow who is being denounced and not himself; in that case he will be impressed by your noble scorn, whereas if he thinks that it is himself that you are denouncing, he will consider that you are guilty of ill-bred peevishness.
出典: How to become a man of genius (written in Dec. 28, 1932 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.]
We all ought, of course, to be highly virtuous, but the degree to which we ought to proclaim our own virtue depends upon our profession. A horse dealer or a bookmaker is not expected to have an air of piety, a sailor is not expected to be as nice in his diction as a family physician.
The professions in which a man is allowed to behave in a natural manner are, of course, on the whole less lucrative than those in which a high standard of humbug is required. The corporation lawyer, the corrupt politician, and the popular psychiatrist are expected to utter moral sentiments with profound earnestness and great frequency, but in return for this hard work, they are allowed a suitable remuneration.
出典: On being edifying (written in June 11, 1931 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.]
The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
出典：The Triumph of Stupidity (written in May 10, 1933 and pub. in Mortals and Others: Bertrand Russell’s American Essays, 1931-1935, v.2：p.28.)
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Men whose circumstances have always been more comfortable than those of the majority are, as a rule, incapable of sympathy with those who are less fortunate. Sometimes they are frankly callous, sometimes they adopt the more nauseous view that happiness depends upon the soul and is independent of material well-being, so that they are doing no real harm to the poor in taking more than their share of this world’s goods. Security depending upon exceptional privilege is unjust, and the man who has to find excuses for an injustice by which he profits is bound to acquire a distorted moral sense. On the other hand, the powerful men of the present day who are the victors in a free fight overestimate the value of ruthlessness and of the various acts by which success in competition is achieved.
出典: On economic security (written in Dec. 16, 1931 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.]
Why is it that, if Satan and Beelzebub were nominated as the official candidates and the Archangel Gabriel stood as an independent, the Archangel would have no chance of being elected ? For that is the fact, strange as it may seem.
One reason is that an independent candidate does not command such large campaign funds and therefore cannot generate mass enthusiasm by the techniques in which politicians are adepts. But this reason, again, does not take us all the way, since it leaves us wondering why men are so unwilling to subscribe to the campaign funds of independents. The answer, no doubt, is that independents are not likely to be elected, which is also a reason for not voting for them. But that only brings us back to our first question : why are they not likely to be elected ? …
Meanwhile, let us remember that in a democracy criticism of our politicians is criticism of ourselves – we have the politicians we deserve.
出典: On politician (written in Dec. 16, 1931 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.]
In the life of every man there are some elements that are practically inalterable while there are others which are subject to fluctuations, fortunate or unfortunate. The inalterable elements are taken for granted while those that fluctuate are matters for hope and fear. The character of a man’s emotional life is therefore intimately dependent upon the social system under which he lives, since his emotions will be directed toward what is doubtful rather than toward what is certain. If a man’s income is fixed, he will not think much about money; if his social position is inalterable, he will not be a snob; if he believes his country’s greatness to be unassailable, he will not be a vehement nationalist.
出典: Hope and fear (written in Oct. 7, 1931 and pub. in Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975.)