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The Impact Of Science On Society By Bertrand Russell


The impact of science on society
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"There is, it must be confessed, a psychological difficulty about a single world government. The chief source of social cohesion in the past, I repeat, has been war: the passions that inspire a feeling of unity are hate and fear. These depend upon the existence of an enemy, actual or potential. It seems to follow that a world government could only be kept in being by force, not by the spontaneous loyalty that now inspires a nation at war. I will return to this problem at a later stage." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 27

"The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray.

Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen. As yet there is only one country which has succeeded in creating this politician's paradise." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 30

"The completeness of the resulting control over opinion depends in various ways upon scientific technique. Where all children go to school, and all schools are controlled by the government, the authorities can close the minds of the young to everything contrary to official orthodoxy. Printing is impossible without paper, and all paper belongs to the State. Broadcasting and the cinema are equally public monopolies. The only remaining possibility of unauthorized propaganda is by secret whispers from one individual to another. But this, in turn, is rendered appallingly dangerous by improvements in the art of spying." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 45-46

"It is to be expected that advances in physiology and psychology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in totalitarian countries. Fichte laid it down that education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished... In future such failures are not likely to occur where there is dictatorship. Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 49-50

"A totalitarian government with a scientific bent might do things that to us would seem horrifying. The Nazis were more scientific than the present rulers of Russia, and were more inclined towards the sort of atrocities than I have in mind. They were said-I do not know with what truth to use prisoners in concentration camps as material for all kinds of experiments, some involving death after much pain. If they had survived, they would probably have soon taken to scientific breeding. Any nation which adopts this practice will, within a generation, secure great military advantages. The system, one may surmise, will be something like this: except possibly in the governing aristocracy, all but 5 per cent of males and 30 per cent of females will be sterilized. The 30 per cent of females will be expected to spend the years from eighteen to forty in reproduction, in order to secure adequate cannon fodder. As a rule, artificial insemination will be preferred to the natural method." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 50

"I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing. There are others, which, one must suppose, opponents of birth control would prefer. War, as I remarked a moment ago, has hitherto been disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological war may prove more effective. If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 103

"There are three ways of securing a society that shall be stable as regards population. The first is that of birth control, the second that of infanticide or really destructive wars, and the third that of general misery except for a powerful minority" The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 104

"These considerations prove that a scientific world society cannot be stable unless there is a world government. It may be said, however, that this is a hasty conclusion. All that follows directly from what has been said is 'that, unless there is a world government which' secures universal birth control, there must from time to time be great wars, in which the penalty of defeat is widespread death by starvation. That is exactly the present state of the world, and some may hold that there is no reason why it should not continue for centuries. I do not myself believe that this is possible. The two great wars that we have experienced have lowered the level of civilization in many parts of the world, and the next is pretty sure to achieve much more in this direction. Unless, at some stage, one power or group of powers emerges victorious and proceeds to establish a single government of the world with a monopoly of armed force, it is clear that the level of civilization must continually decline until scientific warfare becomes impossible-that is until science is extinct." The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 104-105

"The need for a world government, if the population problem is to be solved in any humane manner, is completely evident on Darwinian principles. Given two groups, of which one has an increasing and the other a stationary population, the one with the increasing population will (other things being equal) in time become the stronger. After victory, it will cut down the food supply of the vanquished, of whom many will die! Therefore there will be a continually renewed victory of those nations that, from a world point of view, are unduly prolific. This is merely the modern form of the old struggle for existence. And given scientific powers of destruction, a world which allows this struggle to continue cannot be stable" The Impact of Science on Society By Bertrand Russell Page 105

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