Bertrand’s wise words

In 1959, mathematician-philosopher Bertrand Russell had two things he wanted to say to people of the future. Words to think about concerning our ever-shrinking, interconnected world, from a 1959 BBC interview with British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell.

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2 Responses to Bertrand’s wise words

  1. alfy says:

    Following upon Russell’s suggestions is the issue of freedom of speech. This is an absolute, either you believe in it or you don’t. Russell clearly expounds the first view. In our society at the moment it is under some strain. Many people claim to believe in freedom of speech, but what they actually believe in, is the freedom to express a restricted range of “liberal” opinions. True freedom of speech involves being prepared to allow people to express a whole set of opinions that you find personally repugnant.

    The BBC as one of our main outlets of opinion has been guilty over the last 20 years of limiting the expression of certain opinions that are unpopular with the “liberal/labour cabal” controlling output. Examples of unpopular opinions include anything critical of the European Union, any criticism of the supposed consensus on global warming, anything critical of the supposed green issues on energy production, and anything critical of unrestricted immigration.

    As the BBC has now been overtaken by events it has been forced by circumstances to admit some views which it hitherto excluded. In the realm of political comment it restricts its listeners ever hearing any kind of extreme comment, like communism, neo-fascism, fundamentalist Christianity or fundamentalist Islam. It is only when such views are aired that we can claim to have real freedom of speech.

    The way to deal with extremist views is to meet them in open discussion and argument, as Bertrand Russell suggested, not by suppressing them or subtly excluding them in the manner of the BBC.

  2. Deskarati says:

    A very interesting view Alfy but we would prefer not to respond as, here at Deskarati, we have a slightly less political raison d’etre -‘We focus on the uplifting, enjoyable and inspirational’. But,we do have to admit to being big fans of the BBC.

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