Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Russell as a prophet...........................?

"Whatever you think is going to happen ten years hence, unless it is something like the sun rising tomorrow that has nothing to do with human relations, you are almost sure to be wrong.   I find this thought consoling when I remember some gloomy prophecies of which I myself have rashly been guilty. . . .
It is safe to assume that a great modern world war will not raise the level of prosperity even among the victors.  Such generalizations are not difficult to know.  What is difficult is to foresee in detail the long-run consequences of a concrete policy.   Bismarck with extreme astuteness won three wars and unified Germany.  The long-run result of his policy has been that Germany has suffered two colossal defeats.  These resulted because he taught Germans to be indifferent to the interests of all countries except Germany, and generated an aggressive spirit which in the end united the world against his successors.  Selfishness beyond a point, whether individual or national, is not wise.  It may with luck succeed, but if it fails failure is terrible.  Few men will run this risk unless they are supported by a theory, for it is only theory that makes men completely incautious."

-Bertrand Russell

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