War and Power

From Proposed Roads To Freedom, by Bertrand Russell, published 1919:

Not only does the concentration of power tend to cause wars, but, equally, wars and the fear of them bring about the necessity for the concentration of power. So long as the community is exposed to sudden dangers, the possibility of quick decision is absolutely necessary to self-preservation. The cumbrous machinery of deliberative decisions by the people is impossible in a crisis, and therefore so long as crises are likely to occur, it is impossible to abolish the almost autocratic power of governments. In this case, as in most others, each of two correlative evils tends to perpetuate the other. The existence of men with the habit of power increases the risk of war, and the risk of war makes it impossible to establish a system where no man possesses great power.

Comments

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 28, 2003 - 13:16

After almost 13 years of deception and deceit by Iraq, the United Nations Security Council certainly qualifies as having been quite “deliberative” in my opinion.

Joey Brieno's picture
Joey Brieno on January 28, 2003 - 14:36

This is why God created genius; that someone like Russell could spend a few minutes creating such a piece of text so the rest of humanity could spend an eternity marveling at its truth and discovering the virtually unlimited range of lessons contained therein.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 28, 2003 - 15:42

Not only does the Bush Administration tend to cause wars, but, equally, wars and the fear of them bring about the necessity for the Bush Administration.
So long as America is exposed to sudden dangers, the
possibility of quick decision is absolutely necessary to
self-preservation. The cumbrous machinery of democracy
is impossible in a crisis, and therefore so long as crises are likely to occur, it is impossible to abolish the almost autocratic power of the Bush Administration.
In this case, as in most others, each of two correlative evils tends to perpetuate the other. The existence of the Bush Family increases the risk of war,and the risk of war makes it impossible to establish a government without Bush.

Rob's picture
Rob on January 28, 2003 - 17:35

Not only do madmen like Saddam Hussein tend to cause wars, but, equally, wars and the fear of them bring about the necessity for a brutal, sadistic dictatorship. So long as the community is exposed to sudden dangers, state controlled media is absolutely necessary to self-agrandization. The cumbrous machinery of sanity is impossible in a crisis, and therefore so long as crises are likely to occur, it is impossible to abolish the total and absolute tyranny of Saddam’s rule. In this case, as in most others, each of two correlative evils tends to perpetuate the other. The existence of psychopathic dictators increases the risk of war, and the risk of war makes it impossible to establish a system where Iraqis can enjoy basic human rights.

Joey Brieno's picture
Joey Brieno on January 29, 2003 - 13:13

If I spend l0 hours trying to get a winding pin reinserted into a valuable time-piece, I am justified in giving up the “effort” and smashing the F’n thing with a hammer!

- or to say that another way -

After almost 13 years of deception and deceit by Iraq, the United Nations Security Council certainly qualifies as having been quite “deliberative” in my opinion.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 29, 2003 - 14:42

Nice misrepresentation, Kevin. Funny how we accuse others of doing exactly what we do, huh?

Dan Q.'s picture
Dan Q. on January 29, 2003 - 18:38

Saddam, sir, is no valuable time-piece! Anybody who thinks so, I would suggest, needs to check their own winding pin!

Add new comment