Proposed RoadsTo FreedomBy Bertrand Russell

Ξ May 18th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized |


Ain't this just the truth though.

So often the means are allowed to become the enemy of, and utterly defeat, the ends.

    "Nevertheless, though the desire for human welfare is what at bottom determines the broad lines of such men's lives, it often happens that, in the detail of their speech and writing, hatred is far more visible than love. The impatient idealist--and without some impatience a man will hardly prove effective--is almost sure to be led into hatred by the oppositions and disappointments which he encounters in his endeavours to bring happiness to the world.

    The more certain he is of the purity of his motives and the truth of his gospel, the more indignant he will become when his teaching is rejected. Often he will successfully achieve an attitude of philosophic tolerance as regards the apathy of the masses, and even as regards the whole-hearted opposition of professed defenders of the status quo. But the men whom he finds it impossible to forgive are those who profess the same desire for the amelioration of society as he feels himself, but who do not accept his method of achieving this end. The intense faith which enables him to withstand persecution for the sake of his beliefs makes him consider these beliefs so luminously obvious that any thinking man who rejects them must be dishonest, and must be actuated by some sinister motive of treachery to the cause. Hence arises the spirit of the sect, that bitter, narrow orthodoxy which is the bane of those who hold strongly to an unpopular creed.

    So many real temptations to treachery exist that suspicion is natural. And among leaders, ambition, which they mortify in their choice of a career, is sure to return in a new form: in the desire for intellectual mastery and for despotic power within their own sect. From these causes it results that the advocates of drastic reform divide themselves into opposing schools, hating each other with a bitter hatred, accusing each other often of such crimes as being in the pay of the police, and demanding, of any speaker or writer whom they are to admire, that he shall conform exactly to their prejudices, and make all his teaching minister to their belief that the exact truth is to be found within the limits of their creed.

    The result of this state of mind is that, to a casual and unimaginative attention, the men who have sacrificed most through the wish to benefit mankind APPEAR to be actuated far more by hatred than by love. And the demand for orthodoxy is stifling to any free exercise of intellect. This cause, as well as economic prejudice, has made it difficult for the ``intellectuals'' to co-operate practically with the more extreme reformers, however they may sympathize with their main purposes and even with nine-tenths of their program."

 

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