Bertrand Russell Political Ideals Book Report

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Russell, Bertrand. Political Ideals. United States: Watchmaker Publishing, July 9, 2010

Bertrand Russell’s political essay; Political Ideals, was first published in 1917 towards the end of the First World War. Bertrand Russell is considered one of the most prominent Philosophers of the 20th century, winning the Noble Prize for Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought". The time period this essay was written is both historically important while also represent an important period during the life of Russell. The fact that Political Ideals was written while Russell was behind bars for refusing to fight in World War I is a reflection of Russell belief in pacifism and international collaboration. Political Ideals is divided into five chapters: Political Ideals, Capitalism and the Wage System, Pitfalls in Socialism, Individual Liberty and Public Control, National Independence and Internationalism. Each chapter provides an insight into Bertrand Russell’s thoughts, many of which are very much seen as before their time. The topics he covers are very relevant to the time period specifically in concern to the large political changes around the time.

Bertrand Russell believed that a state should be judged by the good or harm they do individuals, their encouragement for creativeness over possessiveness and whether they preserve self-respect. Those three aspects Russell saw as fundamental in the judgement of whether a state accurately and properly reflected the needs of its people. The time period around and during World War I was a time when the role of the state was most prevalent in the lives of its population. The strong nationalistic belief in nearly all countries at the time helped sustain the dominance of the state in society. Russell’s greatest theme throughout the essay is his strong belief in the ingenuity of people and believed that the role of the state was to make sure...
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