Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2008

Bertrand Russel über Liberalismus

Bertrand Russel war ein hochgeachter englischer Mathematiker und Philosoph, der dem damaligen Zeitgeist der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts entsprechend wie viele Intellektuelle dem Sozialismus zuneigte, allerdings Bolschewismus und Faschismus ablehnte.

Zur Verteidigung der Menschenrechtslehre schrieb er 1938 in seinem politologischen Buch "Power" mit Zugeständnissen an die Gegner derselben:

"It is customary in our day to pour scorn on the Rights of Man, as a piece of shallow eighteenth-century rhetoric. It is true that, philosophically considered, the doctrine is indefensible; but historically and pragmatically it was useful, and we enjoy many freedoms which it helped to win. (...)
It is obvious that the doctrine is, in origin and sentiment, anti-governmental. The subject of a despotic government holds that he should be free to choose his religion as he pleases, to exercise his business in all lawful ways without bureaucratic interference, to marry where he loves, and to rebel against an alien domination. Where governmental decisions are necessary, they should - so the advocate of the Rights of Man contends - be the decisions of a majority or of their representatives, not of an arbitrary and merely traditional authority such as that of kings and priests. These views gradually prevailed throughout the civilised world, and produced the peculiar mentality of Liberalism, which retains even when in power a certain suspicion of governmental action.
Individualism has obvious logical and historical relations to Protestantism, which asserted its doctrines in the theological sphere, although it often abandoned them when it acquired power. Through Protestantism, there is a connection with early Christianity, and with its hostility to the pagan State. There is also a deeper connection with Christianity, owing to its concern with the individual soul."

(Bertrand Russel: Power, Routledge 2005, S. 90 f.)

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