Bertrand Russell

His conviction in 1916 resulted in Russell being fined £100 (equivalent to £6,000 in 2021), which he refused to pay in hope that he would be sent to prison, but his books were sold at auction to raise the money. The books were bought by friends; he later treasured his copy of the King James Bible that was stamped "Confiscated by Cambridge Police".

I wish to make it plain that Russell himself is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for the writing of the pamphlet.... I wrote it without his knowledge and, when I sent him the typescript and asked for his permission to print it, I suggested that, unless it contained misstatement of fact, he should make no comment on it. He agreed to this... no word has been changed as the result of any suggestion from him.

Upon the death of his elder brother Frank, in 1931, Russell became the 3rd Earl Russell.

Bertrand Russell was opposed to war from a young age; his opposition to World War I being used as grounds for his dismissal from Trinity College at Cambridge. This incident fused two of his most controversial causes, as he had failed to be granted Fellow status which would have protected him from firing, because he was not willing to either pretend to be a devout Christian, or at least avoid admitting he was agnostic.

He later described the resolution of these issues as essential to freedom of thought and expression, citing the incident in Free Thought and Official Propaganda, where he explained that the expression of any idea, even the most obviously "bad", must be protected not only from direct State intervention, but also economic leveraging and other means of being silenced:

Russell first married Alys Whitall Smith (died 1951) in 1894. The marriage was dissolved in 1921 with no issue. His second marriage was to Dora Winifred Black MBE (died 1986), daughter of Sir Frederick Black, in 1921. This was dissolved in 1935, having produced two children:

Russell's third marriage was to Patricia Helen Spence (died 2004) in 1936, with the marriage producing one child:

For the advancement of science and protection of liberty of expression, Russell advocated The Will to Doubt, the recognition that all human knowledge is at most a best guess, that one should always remember:

Political and social activism occupied much of Russell's time for most of his life. Russell remained politically active almost to the end of his life, writing to and exhorting world leaders and lending his name to various causes.

This subject 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 grey. 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. As yet there is only one country which has succeeded in creating this politician's paradise. The social effects of scientific technique have already been many and important, and are likely to be even more noteworthy in the future. Some of these effects depend upon the political and economic character of the country concerned; others are inevitable, whatever this character may be.

In future such failures are not likely to occur where there is dictatorship. Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so.

Below is a selected bibliography of Russell's books in English, sorted by year of first publication: