Sunday, August 22, 2004


From a letter from Bertrand Russell to the editor of The Observer (12th Jan, 1963, p. 30). Via Yours faithfully, Bertrand Russell (ed. Ray Perkins, Jr.), pp. 406--407.

   Have we all become savage? Why do we turn, inevitably, towards ferocity in dealing with political opponents -- towards maiming or killing or sentencing them to disproportionately long imprisonment?
   I think it is because we live in an atmosphere of fear bred by present political policies. We have been conditioned to accept cruelty, even the threat of extermination, as the sole means of defending a way of life that seems to prove itself, by such a result, hardly worth defending.