Bertrand Russell’s “The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed”

Tom Talks Politics

I’ve been reading a book by Bertrand Russell off and on called Unpopular Essays. I read an interesting and on the whole convincing essay in the book today called “The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed,” in which he condemns the tendency among writers and moralists to “think ill of their neighbors and acquaintances, and therefore…think well of the sections of mankind to which they themselves do not belong.” A “rather curious form” of this elitism, he contends, is “the belief in the superior virtue of the oppressed…the eighteenth century, while conquering America from the Indians, reducing the peasantry to the condition of pauper laborers, and introducing the cruelties of early industrialism, loved to the sentimentalize about the ‘noble savage’ and the ‘simple annals of the poor.'” “The belief in their ‘spiritual’ superiority was part and parcel of the determination to keep them inferior economically and politically,” he contends.

So…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at https://utopiayouarestandinginit.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/why-call-my-blog-utopia-you-are-standing-in-it/

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