Momentum in spite

“In excited times, a politician needs no power of reasoning, no apprehension of impersonal facts, and no shred of wisdom. What he must have is the capacity of persuading the multitude that what they passionately desire is attainable, and that he, through his ruthless determination, is the man to attain it.”

― Bertrand Russell, Power: A New Social Analysis (1938), Ch. III: The Forms of Power, p. 49

Greater good and grace

“Democracy requires, in fact, a rather difficult combination of individual initiative with submission to the majority. It requires that a man who has strong political convictions should argue for them and do what he can to make them the convictions of the majority, but that if the majority proves adverse, he should submit with a good grace.”

— Bertrand Russell, What Is Democracy? (1953)

Old-fashioned progressive

“I retain the tastes and prejudices of an old-fashioned liberal. I like democracy. I like individual liberty, and I like culture. I do not like to see ignorant or despotic officials interfering needlessly with private lives; I do not like to see creative thought crushed by the tyranny of stupid majorities. I do not like persecution, whether by majorities or of minorities. I am suspicious of government and distrustful of politicians; but insofar as there must be government I prefer that it should be democratic.”

— Bertrand Russell, Citizenship in a Great State (1943)

Comfort in confidence

“People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.”

— Bertrand Russell, The Art of Philosophizing and Other Essays (1942)

På usikker grund

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

– Bertrand Russell