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

Bertrand Russell Quote

“We may define a Puritan as a man who holds that certain kinds of acts, even if they have no visible bad effects upon others than the agent, are inherently sinful, and, being sinful, ought to be prevented by whatever means is most effectual - the criminal law if possible, and, if not that, then public opinion backed by economic pressure.”

Bertrand RussellBertrand Russell
~ Bertrand Russell

The Recrudescence of Puritanism, in Sceptical Essays, 1928

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

It appears the author is here advocating victimless crime enforcement through or by multiple means. By "the law of nature and of nature's God", where no natural law has been broken (infringement of another, their rights or property) there can be NO offering to, or consideration of offered up, or induction to a de jure criminal justice system. Sin, transgression and iniquity are completely different with uniquely differing definitions (results may be the same but the source is very different). To assign the domain of sin to a crime may or may not be accurate.

Jasmine, Gothenburg
  • Reply
Jasmine, Gothenburg Mike, Norwalk 2/9/20

No he argues against victimless crimes. He is against puritanism. 

Mike, Norwalk
  • Reply
Mike, Norwalk Mike, Norwalk 5/27/22

Within the scope of the here described religious zealot, theocratic canons would supersede the secular "laws of nature and of nature's God"; and, the demigods of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land would be considered 'Puritins". 

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

What Mr Russell is saying here is the honest wholesome individual typical meets much opposition. I personally wholeheartedly support the pure hearted kind decent soul who tries to push the human force in the positive direction. The farther away from the grave the more positive and correct.


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