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I don't know if Brits missed mine, but I know I missed yours. :-)

Fiery Freddie Trueman, famous cricketer, now retired, Charles. Alas, I'm a Brit who didn't get your pun. But, since it's Easter, I'll applaud anyway.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Hertfordshire
England
But great as is the influence of the motives we have been considering, there is one which outweighs them all. I mean the love of power. Love of power is closely akin to vanity, but it is not by any means the same thing. What vanity needs for its satisfaction is glory, and it is easy to have glory without power. The people who enjoy the greatest glory in the United States are film stars, but they can be put in their place by the Committee for Un-American Activities, which enjoys no glory whatever.

In England, the King has more glory than the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister has more power than the King. Many people prefer glory to power, but on the whole these people have less effect upon the course of events than those who prefer power to glory. When Bl cher, in 1814, saw Napoleon's palaces, he said, "Wasn't he a fool to have all this and to go running after Moscow." Napoleon, who certainly was not destitute of vanity, preferred power when he had to choose.

To Bl cher, this choice seemed foolish. Power, like vanity, is insatiable. Nothing short of omnipotence could satisfy it completely. And as it is especially the vice of energetic men, the causal efficacy of love of power is out of all proportion to its frequency. It is, indeed, by far the strongest motive in the lives of important men.Love of power is greatly increased by the experience of power, and this applies to petty power as well as to that of potentates. In the happy days before 1914, when well-to-do ladies could acquire a host of servants, their pleasure in exercising power over the domestics steadily increased with age. Similarly, in any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford. Since power over human beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than to permit pleasure.

If you ask your boss for leave of absence from the office on some legitimate occasion, his love of power will derive more satisfaction from a refusal than from a consent. If you require a building permit, the petty official concerned will obviously get more pleasure from saying "No" than from saying "Yes". It is this sort of thing which makes the love of power such a dangerous motive.
But it has other sides which are more desirable. The pursuit of knowledge is, I think, mainly actuated by love of power. And so are all advances in scientific technique. In politics, also, a reformer may have just as strong a love of power as a despot. It would be a complete mistake to decry love of power altogether as a motive. Whether you will be led by this motive to actions which are useful, or to actions which are pernicious, depends upon the social system, and upon your capacities.

If your capacities are theoretical or technical, you will contribute to knowledge or technique, and, as a rule, your activity will be useful. If you are a politician you may be actuated by love of power, but as a rule this motive will join itself on to the desire to see some state of affairs realized which, for some reason, you prefer to the status quo. A great general may, like Alcibiades, be quite indifferent as to which side he fights on, but most generals have preferred to fight for their own country, and have, therefore, had other motives besides love of power.

The politician may change sides so frequently as to find himself always in the majority, but most politicians have a preference for one party to the other, and subordinate their love of power to this preference. Love of power as nearly pure as possible is to be seen in various different types of men. One type is the soldier of fortune, of whom Napoleon is the supreme example. Napoleon had, I think, no ideological preference for France over Corsica, but if he had become Emperor of Corsica he would not have been so great a man as he became by pretending to be a Frenchman.

Such men, however, are not quite pure examples, since they also derive immense satisfaction from vanity. The purest type is that of the eminence grise - the power behind the throne that never appears in public, and merely hugs itself with the secret thought: "How little these puppets know who is pulling the strings." Baron Holstein, who controlled the foreign policy of the German Empire from
1890 to 1906, illustrates this type to perfection. He lived in a slum;he never appeared in society; he avoided meeting the Emperor, except on one single occasion when the Emperor's importunity could not be resisted; he refused all invitations to Court functions, on the ground that he possessed no court dress. He had acquired secrets which enabled him to blackmail the Chancellor and many of the Kaiser's intimates. He used the power of blackmail, not to acquire wealth, or fame, or any other obvious advantage, but merely to compel the adoption of the foreign policy he preferred. In the East, similar characters were not very uncommon among eunuchs.

to be continued tomorrow.
This is part of an installment of Bertrand Russell's 1950 Nobel Lecture "What Desires Are Politically Important". The full text is at http://xahlee.org/Periodic dosage dir/ p2/russell-lecture.html

Xah
http://xahlee.org/PageTwo dir/more.html
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Robert Bannister wrote in a message to All:
RB> From: Robert Bannister (Email Removed)
War is always in some sense wrong, but there are times when it's a necessary wrong and there are times when it isn't.

RB> In "modern" times, most civilised people think the only justifiable RB> war is one of defence. First strike mentality is, to say the least, RB> a bit 19th Century, and as usual it has created more problems than RB> it set out to solve.
But you will find it difficult to get the devotees of Realpolitik to see that.

Steve Hayes
WWW: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm E-mail: (Email Removed) - If it doesn't work, see webpage.

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That's because few Americans know about cricket.

I don't know if Brits missed mine, but I know I missed yours. :-)

They were essentially the same, but with differing implementations and spellings of the surname. The cricketing one is commemorated (though still alive) by a portrait at Yorks HQ entitled The Gathering Storm .

Mike.
By your logic, there can be no right and wrong ... a necessary wrong and there are times when it isn't.

In "modern" times, most civilised people think the only justifiable war is one of defence. First strike mentality is, to say the least, a bit 19th Century, and as usual it has created more problems than it set out to solve.

Usually, but times change. I think that the War in Iraq was a mistake, and a good illustration of the dangers of such a course, but I also think that the decoupling of weapons of mass destruction from national responsibility means that preemptive war may in some cases be necessary and morally justifiable.

Josh
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In "modern" times, most civilised people think the only justifiable ... has created more problems than it set out to solve.

Usually, but times change. I think that the War in Iraq was a mistake, and a good illustration of the ... weapons of mass destruction from national responsibility means that preemptive war may in some cases be necessary and morally justifiable.

I'm still waiting for the moral justification for condoning torture, possibly using torture and certainly shipping prisoners to other countries where it was known that torture would be used. I suspect the same mentality is involved in pre-emptive war.

Rob Bannister
Usually, but times change. I think that the War in ... war may in some cases be necessary and morally justifiable.

I'm still waiting for the moral justification for condoning torture, possibly using torture and certainly shipping prisoners to other countries where it was known that torture would be used. I suspect the same mentality is involved in pre-emptive war.

I'd say the mentality is "better this than let them blow us up."

Josh
I'm still waiting for the moral justification for condoning torture, ... used. I suspectthe same mentality is involved in pre-emptive war.

I'd say the mentality is "better this than let them blow us up."

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Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I don't know if Brits missed mine, but I know I missed yours. :-)

Fiery Freddie Trueman, famous cricketer, now retired, Charles. Alas, I'm a Brit who didn't get your pun. But, since it's Easter, I'll applaud anyway.

Good man to admit you missed it. (See how it works, Coop?)

'True man' sounds like Truman. He, as you know, approved the bombing of innocent women and children, not to use a cliché, in Japan. In Britain, Truman is probably not the household word it is in the US, so Brits can be forgiven for missing my little joke. Americans can not be so easily forgiven, to make another play on words. I'm having fun today.
Charles Riggs
There are no accented letters in my email address.
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