Sunday, July 18, 2010


Bertrand Russell wrote “Political Ideals” in 1917 and here is a quote from it. As you will see, it applies to the USA today just like it applied perfectly to Europe in nineteen hundreds:

You can read the ebook at

The present economic system concentrates initiative in the hands of a
small number of very rich men. Those who are not capitalists have,
almost always, very little choice as to their activities when once
they have selected a trade or profession; they are not part of the
power that moves the mechanism, but only a passive portion of the
machinery. Despite political democracy, there is still an
extraordinary degree of difference in the power of self-direction
belonging to a capitalist and to a man who has to earn his living.

Economic affairs touch men's lives, at most times, much more
intimately than political questions. At present the man who has no
capital usually has to sell himself to some large organization, such
as a railway company, for example. He has no voice in its management,
and no liberty in politics except what his trade-union can secure for
him. If he happens to desire a form of liberty which is not thought
important by his trade-union, he is powerless; he must submit or

Exactly the same thing happens to professional men. Probably a
majority of journalists are engaged in writing for newspapers whose
politics they disagree with; only a man of wealth can own a large
newspaper, and only an accident can enable the point of view or the
interests of those who are not wealthy to find expression in a
newspaper. A large part of the best brains of the country are in the
civil service, where the condition of their employment is silence
about the evils which cannot be concealed from them. A Nonconformist
minister loses his livelihood if his views displease his congregation;
a member of Parliament loses his seat if he is not sufficiently supple
or sufficiently stupid to follow or share all the turns and twists of
public opinion. In every walk of life, independence of mind is
punished by failure, more and more as economic organizations grow
larger and more rigid. Is it surprising that men become increasingly
docile, increasingly ready to submit to dictation and to forego the
right of thinking for themselves? Yet along such lines civilization
can only sink into a Byzantine immobility.

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