We hear things retrospectively when we have understood them - Marcel Proust
To give Russell his due, he saw through to the murderous reality of the Soviet regime when others - such as Beatrice & Sidney Webb and that first class shit George Bernard Shaw did not - in the company of hundreds of thousands of others who swallowed the Marxist theory.There is a video clip on YouTube with Shaw advocating gas chambers for those who did not go along with it.
Bertrand Russell, there's a blast from the past. In London in the 50's it was difficult to avoid him or his followers. Oddly enough, we were agreed about the Suez Crisis, he on grounds of principle, me because it was a major cock up from start to finish and I was in the middle of it and had handled the files.
Interesting - many thanks. I liked the comparison with Cromwell; the rigid text-based orthodoxy.In Russell's defence, his lack of expressed horror was probably due to the fact that buttoned-up Englishmen of his generation and social class preferred understatement.I have never really known what to make of Russell. I've never had the brain-power to even tackle his specialism, which is mathematical logic. I've read lots of his other writings about ethical and social issues (I can see a copy of his book "The Conquest of Happiness" from where I sit now) but they strike me as benevolently bland. The sort of thing that any well-educated upper-class chap would have written if he had a sufficiently buzzy bee in his bonnet. I guess once you get famous for being good at something, then people assume your opinions across the board are worth listening to.
Edward - yes I once planned to post the YouTube clip where Shaw advocates gas chambers but the video quality wasn't very good. As an aside, not so long ago I came across a question asking to why it is still okay to describe oneself as a socialist in view of all the twentieth century horrors inflicted in the name of socialism. It's an interesting question.Demetrius - I'm sure the cock up reasoning was sound. Principle is not so reliable.Sam - Russell always struck me as benevolently bland too, although I haven't read anything of his for years. I think you are right in that once you get famous for being good at something, people do assume your opinions are worthwhile. We see it all the time of course, but however often it falls over as an assumption it is still with us.
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