Start your review of The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism Write a review Shelves: history , history-communism The principles of the Sermon on the Mount are admirable, but their effect upon average human nature was very different from what was intended. Those who followed Christ did not learn to love their enemies or to turn the other cheek. They learned instead to use the Inquisition and the stake, to subject the human intellect to the yoke of an ignorant and intolerant priesthood, to degrade art and extinguish science for a thousand years. These were the inevitable results, not of the teaching, but of fanatical belief in the teaching. The hopes which inspire Communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically, and are likely to do as much harm. They will give credit for the positive changes they see, but will also mercilessly scrutinize your failings.
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Early life and background[ edit ] Russell as a four-year-old Childhood home, Pembroke Lodge Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born on 18 May at Ravenscroft, Trellech , Monmouthshire , into an influential and liberal family of the British aristocracy. Both were early advocates of birth control at a time when this was considered scandalous. His paternal grandfather, the Earl Russell , had been asked twice by Queen Victoria to form a government, serving her as Prime Minister in the s and s.
They established themselves as one of the leading British Whig families, and participated in every great political event from the Dissolution of the Monasteries in — to the Glorious Revolution in — and the Great Reform Act in In January , his father died of bronchitis following a long period of depression. Frank and Bertrand were placed in the care of their staunchly Victorian paternal grandparents, who lived at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park.
His grandfather, former Prime Minister Earl Russell , died in , and was remembered by Russell as a kindly old man in a wheelchair. One could challenge the view that Bertrand stood up for his principles, based on his own well-known quotation: "I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
The atmosphere at Pembroke Lodge was one of frequent prayer, emotional repression, and formality; Frank reacted to this with open rebellion, but the young Bertrand learned to hide his feelings. He remarked in his autobiography that his keenest interests were in "nature and books and later mathematics saved me from complete despondency;"  only his wish to know more mathematics kept him from suicide.
Russell wrote: "I spent all my spare time reading him, and learning him by heart, knowing no one to whom I could speak of what I thought or felt, I used to reflect how wonderful it would have been to know Shelley, and to wonder whether I should meet any live human being with whom I should feel so much sympathy. He became acquainted with the younger George Edward Moore and came under the influence of Alfred North Whitehead , who recommended him to the Cambridge Apostles.
He quickly distinguished himself in mathematics and philosophy, graduating as seventh Wrangler in the former in and becoming a Fellow in the latter in Their marriage began to fall apart in when it occurred to Russell, while he was cycling, that he no longer loved her. It was to be a hollow shell of a marriage. In he taught German social democracy at the London School of Economics.
The Italians had responded to Georg Cantor , making a science of set theory ; they gave Russell their literature including the Formulario mathematico. In he published The Principles of Mathematics , a work on foundations of mathematics. It advanced a thesis of logicism , that mathematics and logic are one and the same. This, along with the earlier The Principles of Mathematics, soon made Russell world-famous in his field.
In he became a University of Cambridge lecturer at Trinity College, where he had studied. He was considered for a Fellowship, which would give him a vote in the college government and protect him from being fired for his opinions, but was passed over because he was "anti-clerical", essentially because he was agnostic.
He was approached by the Austrian engineering student Ludwig Wittgenstein , who became his PhD student. Russell viewed Wittgenstein as a genius and a successor who would continue his work on logic. Wittgenstein was, at that time, serving in the Austrian Army and subsequently spent nine months in an Italian prisoner of war camp at the end of the conflict. In , because of his lack of a Fellowship, he was dismissed from Trinity College following his conviction under the Defence of the Realm Act Russell played a significant part in the Leeds Convention in June , a historic event which saw well over a thousand "anti-war socialists" gather; many being delegates from the Independent Labour Party and the Socialist Party, united in their pacifist beliefs and advocating a peace settlement.
After the event, Russell told Lady Ottoline Morrell that, "to my surprise, when I got up to speak, I was given the greatest ovation that was possible to give anybody". The books were bought by friends; he later treasured his copy of the King James Bible that was stamped "Confiscated by Cambridge Police". I had no engagements, no difficult decisions to make, no fear of callers, no interruptions to my work. I read enormously; I wrote a book, "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy" Hardy wrote a page pamphlet titled Bertrand Russell and Trinity—published later as a book by Cambridge University Press with a foreword by C.
The ensuing pressure from the Fellows induced the Council to reinstate Russell. In January , it was announced that Russell had accepted the reinstatement offer from Trinity and would begin lecturing from October. In July , Russell applied for a one year leave of absence; this was approved. He spent the year giving lectures in China and Japan.
In January , it was announced by Trinity that Russell had resigned and his resignation had been accepted. This resignation, Hardy explains, was completely voluntary and was not the result of another altercation. The reason for the resignation, according to Hardy, was that Russell was going through a tumultuous time in his personal life with a divorce and subsequent remarriage.
Russell contemplated asking Trinity for another one-year leave of absence but decided against it, since this would have been an "unusual application" and the situation had the potential to snowball into another controversy. I wrote it without his knowledge and, when I sent him the typescript and asked for his permission to print it, I suggested that, unless it contained misstatement of fact, he should make no comment on it.
He agreed to this Between the wars[ edit ] In August , Russell travelled to Soviet Russia as part of an official delegation sent by the British government to investigate the effects of the Russian Revolution. In his autobiography, he mentions that he found Lenin disappointing, sensing an "impish cruelty" in him and comparing him to "an opinionated professor".
He cruised down the Volga on a steamship. His experiences destroyed his previous tentative support for the revolution. For example, he told them that he had heard shots fired in the middle of the night and was sure that these were clandestine executions, but the others maintained that it was only cars backfiring. Bertrand Russell, having died according to the Japanese press, is unable to give interviews to Japanese journalists". Russell arranged a hasty divorce from Alys, marrying Dora six days after the divorce was finalised, on 27 September Russell supported his family during this time by writing popular books explaining matters of physics , ethics, and education to the layman.
From to the Russells divided their time between London and Cornwall , spending summers in Porthcurno. On 8 July Dora gave birth to her third child Harriet Ruth. After he left the school in , Dora continued it until Russell and Peter had one son, Conrad Sebastian Robert Russell , 5th Earl Russell, who became a prominent historian and one of the leading figures in the Liberal Democrat party.
He opposed rearmament against Nazi Germany. In , he wrote in a personal letter: "If the Germans succeed in sending an invading army to England we should do best to treat them as visitors, give them quarters and invite the commander and chief to dine with the prime minister. He concluded that Adolf Hitler taking over all of Europe would be a permanent threat to democracy.
In , he adopted a stance toward large-scale warfare called "relative political pacifism": "War was always a great evil, but in some particularly extreme circumstances, it may be the lesser of two evils.
The matter was however taken to the New York Supreme Court by Jean Kay who was afraid that her daughter would be harmed by the appointment, though her daughter was not a student at CCNY.
Russell soon joined the Barnes Foundation , lecturing to a varied audience on the history of philosophy; these lectures formed the basis of A History of Western Philosophy. His relationship with the eccentric Albert C.
Barnes soon soured, and he returned to the UK in to rejoin the faculty of Trinity College. By this time Russell was world-famous outside academic circles, frequently the subject or author of magazine and newspaper articles, and was called upon to offer opinions on a wide variety of subjects, even mundane ones.
En route to one of his lectures in Trondheim , Russell was one of 24 survivors among a total of 43 passengers of an aeroplane crash in Hommelvik in October He said he owed his life to smoking since the people who drowned were in the non-smoking part of the plane.
This does not mean that I am opposed to socialism. His series of six broadcasts, titled Authority and the Individual,  explored themes such as the role of individual initiative in the development of a community and the role of state control in a progressive society. Russell continued to write about philosophy. He wrote a foreword to Words and Things by Ernest Gellner , which was highly critical of the later thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein and of ordinary language philosophy.
Gilbert Ryle refused to have the book reviewed in the philosophical journal Mind , which caused Russell to respond via The Times. The result was a month-long correspondence in The Times between the supporters and detractors of ordinary language philosophy, which was only ended when the paper published an editorial critical of both sides but agreeing with the opponents of ordinary language philosophy.
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