Bertrand RussellBertrand Russell, [Bertrand Arthur William Russell] (1872-1970) Philosopher, educator

Bertrand Russell Quote

“The laws in question can, therefore, only be justified by the theory of vindictive punishment, which holds that certain sins, though they may not injure anyone except the sinner, are so heinous as to make it our duty to inflict pain upon the delinquent. This point of view, under the influence of Benthamism, lost its hold during the nineteenth century. But in recent years, with the general decay of Liberalism, it has regained lost ground, and has begun to threaten a new tyranny as oppressive as any in the Middle Ages.”

Bertrand RussellBertrand Russell
~ Bertrand Russell

The Recrudescence of Puritanism, in Sceptical Essays, 1928

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

I'm not sure what "laws in question" are here being discussed. It alludes a flavor of victimless crimes. Benthamism is generally associated with socialism's welfare state, it bringing about the greatest pleasure (an enslaving misnomer). A vindictive act would indicate an injured third party seeking revenge (no victimless event). If the quote's reference is saying liberalism once covered a categorical protection  there being no crime if there is no injured third party; and, that the state is abandoning such protections by expanding oppressive tyranny, witnessed in the Middle Ages (???), I could give it 5 stars for an accurate observation.

Ronw13, Oregon

Spoken like a true Qadesh hedonism. Such individuals elected to public office, have brought about the destruction of a moral society. This being seen clearly in the world today. 

jim k, Austin

I'm with Mike on this one.


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.