Ideas that Have Harmed Mankind from "Unpopular Essays" by Bertrand Russell . The misfortunes of human beings may be divided into two classes: First, those inflicted by the non-human environment and, second, those inflicted by other people. As mankind have progressed in knowledge and technique, the second class has become a continually increasing percentage of the total. In old times, famine, for example, was due to natural causes, and although people did their best to combat it, large numbers of them died of starvation. At the present moment large parts of the world are faced with the threat of famine, but although natural causes have contributed to the situation, the principal causes are human. For six years the civilized nations of the wo... (From : http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2528/br_ide....)
Translated from the French by Robert Helms "La Justice de Paix" first appeared in La France on July 24, 1885, and was later anthologized in Lettres de ma Chaumiere, dedicated to Guy de Maupassant. The Justice of the Peace occupied a ground floor hearing room in the village's town hall that looked out onto the square. The stark, tiled room was divided in the middle by a sort of railing made of whi... (From : Mid-Atlantic Infoshop.)
We do not recognize the right of the majority to impose the law on the minority, even if the will of the majority in somewhat complicated issues could really be ascertained. The fact of having the majority on one’s side does not in any way prove that one must be right. Indeed, humanity has always advanced through the initiative and efforts of individuals and minorities, whereas the majority, by its very nature, is slow, conservative, submissive to superior force and to established privileges. But if we do not for one moment recognize the right of majorities to dominate minorities, we are even more opposed to domination of the majority by a minority. It would be absurd to maintain that one is right because one is in a minority. If at a... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Godwin, William. Of Population. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, Paternoster Row, 1820. CHAPTER X. Sparta An accurate and instructive experiment on the subject of population appears to be afforded us by the institutions of Sparta. There is nothing more memorable in the history of mankind, than the code of laws digested by Lycurgus for that people; and this code seems to have operated in full vigor for five hundred years. Lycurgus, we are told, divided the entire lands of the republic into 39,000 equal portions; of which thirty thousand were distributed to the rural citizens of the state, and nine thousand to the inhabitants of the capital. One of the leading principles of his code was to regard marriage as a duty, and the having a family of children as honorable. The age of marriage was fixed; and is conjectured by Barthelemi to have been thirty for the males, and twenty for the female citizens. "Those w...
Again there are murders, again disturbances and slaughter in the streets, again we shall have executions, terror, false accusations, threats and anger on the one side; and hatred, thirst for vengeance, and readiness for self-sacrifice, on the other. Again all Russians are divided into two hostile camps, and are committing and preparing to commit the greatest crimes. Very possibly the disturbances that have now broken out may be suppressed, though it is also possible that the troops of soldiers and of police, on whom the Government place such reliance, may realize that they are being called on to commit the terrible crime of fratricide-and may refuse to obey. But even if the present disturbance is suppressed, it will not be extinguished, but... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The Century Magazine, July 1929, Vol. 118, No. 3, Pgs. 311-315 The Twilight Of Science Is The Universe Running Down Bertrand Russell It is a curious fact that just when the man in the street has begun to believe thoroughly in science, the man in the laboratory has begun to lose his faith. When I was young, no physicist entertained the slightest doubt that the laws of physics give us real information about the motions of bodies, and that the physical world does really consist of the sort of entities that appear in the physicist's equations. The philosophers, it is true, throw doubt upon this view, and have done so ever since the time of Berkeley; but since their criticism never attached itself to any point in the detailed procedure of scienc... (From : Anarchy Archives.)