Authority and the Individual

Russell argued for a "scientific society", where war would be abolished, population growth would be limited, and prosperity would be shared. He suggested the establishment of a "single supreme world government" able to enforce peace, claiming that "the only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation".
Russell argued for a “scientific society”, where war would be abolished, population growth would be limited, and prosperity would be shared. He suggested the establishment of a “single supreme world government” able to enforce peace, claiming that “the only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation”.

“The ministry is making utmost efforts to gather information and secure the safe return of our citizens,” a statement by Serbia’s foreign ministry said.

November 9, 2015, on kidnapping of two envoys

Today, Libya is a failed state. Western military intervention has caused all of the worst-scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country and Sirte region have become a haven for ISIS terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya.

In this backdrop we went through the works of Bertrand Russell-one of the great thinkers of the 20th century, who made some interesting remarks about Authority, people and government

In his Reith Lectures, published in 1949as Authority and the Individual, Russell argued that human nature had not changed much over the centuries and that we instinctively divide mankind into friends and foes, co-operating with the one and competing with the other. He therefore sees the need for government , whose primary aim should be ‘security, justice and conservation.’

The passionate skeptic became even more cynical in his old age. Meditating on the progressive school he had helped set up with his wife Dora, he wrote in his autobiography-

“ To let the children go free was to establish a reign of terror, in which the strong kept the weak trembling and miserable. A school is like the world: only government can prevent brutal violence.

Nevertheless, despite the parting of ways from the anarchies over the unruly nature of man, Russell’s writings were profoundly libertarian.

He remained throughout his life a staunch defender of freedom of thought:

Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible. Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions and comfortable habits. Thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages

Voices from Ground

The Pakistani school of Tripoli is one of the most popular ones. I know many locals who see this as the best school available at a reasonable price in Tripoli of today.

“What will happen to my children” one worried father tells of how his son is taking tuitions for the Sent-Up Preparatory exams which is mandatory to pass before giving the Board exams.

A few weeks back, he was stopped while returning from Zawia.

“They were going to kill me. I told them, what you want. I have children. If you want money, I will give you. They took my new passport , and tore it up. Probably supporters of the previous regime.”

Murray Bookchin’s stress on Cultural and social context of technology

In next entry we will discuss some works of the Thinker Murray Bookchin. The NATO sponsored regime change led to imbalance of ground level forces. Without any proper way to protect a government, common people feel threatened

‘‘Collectively, the Libyan leadership and the international community failed, for a variety of reasons, to be able to manage that. As soon as we lost control of the militias—I think the latest figure is 200,000 and something: a ridiculous number of people on the payroll as providing security—it was very difficult to create the conditions for a Government of any kind to be able to exercise its role as the Executive, if, as regularly happens, the Prime Minister and his Ministers were taken hostage by armed groups’’

Former British Ambassador to Libya- Dominic Asquith,

speaking in front of House of Commons committee on Libya

Words to consider


The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole


A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced


The state of being stable


Nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government


Community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws and organizations.


In an atmosphere where even envoys are not safe, we thought about the above mentioned works of Bertrand Russell- one of the great Libertarian philosphers of 20th century and the meanings of the words given.

“We know the meanings of these words” one Reading group member remarked impatiently.

“But we need to rediscover their meanings in our contexts” another member replied.


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