An Earl’s insight of the dependent citizen

Wise Up Journal
10.09.2009

Elitist Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872-1970), was a Nobel Prize winner, worked on the education of young children and an award winner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. A highly respected man by the excessively rich dominant minority. He held views about the middle and lower classes some might describe as inhumane and others as psychopathic. His obsession on studying human behaviour to better utilise human resources did lead to him publishing insightful if not troublesome realities of human psychology.

The domesticated and dependent city citizen

Page 44 of his book The Impact of Science on Society (1952) (ISBN0-415-10906-X):

“In industry, the integration brought about by scientific technique is much greater [than agriculture] and more intimate.

“One of the most obvious results of industrialism is that a much larger percentage of the population live in towns than was formerly the case. The town dweller is a more social being than the agriculturist, and is much more influenced by discussion. In general, he works in a crowd, and his amusements are apt to take him into still larger crowds. The course of nature, the alternations of day and night, summer and winter, wet or shine, make little difference to him; he has no occasion to fear that he will be ruined by frost or drought or sudden rain. What matters to him is his human environment, and his place in various organisations especially.

“Take a man who works in a factory, and consider how many organisations affect his life. There is first of all the factory itself, and any larger organisation of which it may be a part. Then there is the man’s trade union and his political party. He probably gets house room from a building society or public authority. His children go to school. If he reads a newspaper or goes to a cinema or looks at a football match, these things are provided by powerful organisations. Indirectly, through his employers, he is dependent upon those from whom they buy their raw material and those to whom they sell their finished product. Above all, there is the State, which taxes him and may at any moment order him to go and get killed in war, in return for which it protects him against murder and theft so long as there is peace, and allows him to buy a fixed modicum of food.”

Page 40 of The Impact of Science on Society (1952) :

“I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology. This study is immensely useful to practical men, whether they wish to become rich or to acquire the government. It is, of course, as a science, founded upon individual psychology, but hitherto it has employed rule-of-thumb methods which were based upon a kind of intuitive common sense. Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called ‘education’.”

Page 187 of Bertrand Russell’s other book The Scientific Outlook (1931):

“From the technique of advertising it seems to follow that in the great majority of mankind any proposition will win acceptance if it is reiterated in such a way as to remain in the memory. Most of the things that we believe we believe because we have heard them affirmed; we do not remember where or why they were affirmed, and we are therefore unable to be critical even when the affirmation was made by a man whose income would be increased by its acceptance and was not backed by any evidence whatever. Advertisements tend, therefore, as the technique becomes perfected, to be less and less argumentative, and more and more merely striking. So long as an impression is made, the desired result is achieved.

“For scientific purposes I suggest the following experiment. Let two soaps, A and B, be manufactured, of which A is excellent and B abominable; let A be advertised by stating its chemical composition and by testimonials from eminent chemists; let B be advertised by the bare statement that it is the best, accompanied by the portraits of famous Hollywood beauties. If man is a rational animal, more of A will be sold than of B. Does anyone, in fact, believe that this would be the result?

“On the whole, the Soviet Government and the Communist religion are those which hitherto have best understood the use of advertisement. They are, it is true, somewhat hampered by the fact that most Russians cannot read; this obstacle, however, they are doing their best to remove.

Page 191 of The Scientific Outlook (1931):

Modern inventions and modern technique have had a powerful influence in promoting uniformity of opinion and making men less individual than they used to be.

“A newspaper with a large circulation can hire the most expensive legal talent to defend it against libel suits, and can often conceal from all but serious students its misstatements of facts.

“In a suburban train in the morning, one man may be reading the Daily Mail and another the Daily Express, but if by some miracle they should fall into conversation they would not find much divergence in the opinions they had imbibed or in the facts of which they had been informed. Thus for reasons which are ultimately technical and scientific, the newspapers have become an influence tending to uniformity and increasing the rarity of unusual opinions.”

Page 190 of The Scientific Outlook (1931):

“Education has two very different purposes; on the one hand it aims at developing the individual and giving him knowledge which will be useful to him; on the other hand it aims at producing citizens who will be convenient for the State

“Among those who are not well paid credulity is more advantageous to the State; consequently children in school are taught what they are told and are punished if they express disbelief. In this way a conditioned reflex is established, leading to a belief in anything said authoritatively by elderly persons of importance.

“the State does not aim at producing a scientific habit of mind, except in a small minority of experts, who are well paid, and therefore, as a rule, supporters of the status quo.”

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