Mass Psychology Under A Scientific Dictatorship

Tyranny Unmasked, Bertrand Russell

This subject [mass psychology and the art of persuasion] will make great strides when it is taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship. Anaxagoras maintained that snow is black, but no one believed him. The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray.

Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.

Source: Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, AMS Press, New York, pg. 30. Bertrand Arthur William Russell, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. Although Russell claimed he was neither Marxist or Socialist, he was a consistent enthusiast for democracy and world government, and he advocated the establishment of a democratic international government.

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