Impact of Science on Society by Bertrand Russell

The Impact of Science on Society, is a book written by Bertrand Russell. It was first published in 1952.

Some key quotes:

“For some reason which I have failed to understand, many people like the system [scientific totalitarianism] when it is Russian but disliked the very same system when it was German. I am compelled to think that this is due to the power of labels; these people like whatever is labelled ‘Left’ without examining whether the label has any justification.”- p56

“The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” – p41

“The completeness of the resulting control over opinion depends in various ways upon scientific technique. Where all children go to school, and all schools are controlled by the government, the authorities can close the minds of the young to everything contrary to official orthodoxy. Printing is impossible without paper, and all paper belongs to the State. Broadcasting and the cinema are equally public monopolies.” – p57

“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so.” – p62

“War, as I remarked a moment ago, has hitherto been disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological war may prove effective. If a Black Death could spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full. There would be nothing in this to offend the conscience of the devout or to restrain the ambition of nationalists. The state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of it? Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other people’s.” – p116 – p117

“Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton. (The Aztecs kept a domesticated alien tribe for the purposes of cannibalism. Their regime was totalitarian)” – p63

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