In the Court of Public Opinion

Sunday, October 21, 2012 – In the Court of Public Opinion

Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity. ~ Lord (John Emerich Edward Dalberg) Acton

Public opinion is a second conscience. ~ William R. Alger

Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to drink other men’s thoughts, to speak other men’s words, to follow other men’s habits. ~ Walter Bagehot

Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know. ~ Walter Benjamin

Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments. ~ Walter Benjamin

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. ~ William Blake

Men get opinions as boys learn to spell by reiteration chiefly. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than to keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered. ~ Samuel Butler

Opinions are made to be changed – or how is truth to be got at? ~ Lord (George Gordon) Byron

Wonderful Force of Public Opinion! We must act and walk in all points as it prescribes; follow the traffic it bids us, realize the sum of money, the degree of influence it expects of us, or we shall be lightly esteemed; certain mouthfuls of articulate wind will be blown at us, and this what mortal courage can front? ~ Thomas Carlyle

There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion. ~ Winston Churchill

What you think of me is none of my business. ~ Terry Cole-Whittaker

Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. ~ Mark Twain

All political revolutions, not affected by foreign conquest, originate in moral revolutions. The subversion of established institutions is merely one consequence of the previous subversion of established opinions. ~ John Stuart Mill

It is always brave to say what everyone thinks. ~ Georges Duhamel

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions. ~ Albert Einstein

Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information. ~ John Erskine

If forty million people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one, but the wise man is foolish to give them the lie. ~ W. Somerset Maugham

It’s not that I don’t have opinions, rather that I’m paid not to think aloud. ~ Yitzhak Navon

The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, and the skillful direct it. ~ Jeane Platiere

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible. ~ Bertrand Russell

But it is just when opinions universally prevail and we have added lip service to their authority that we become sometimes most keenly conscious that we do not believe a word that we are saying. ~ Virginia Woolf

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. ~ W. Edwards Deming

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

The circumstances of the world are so variable that an irrevocable purpose or opinion is almost synonymous with a foolish one. ~ William H. Seward

Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow. ~ Glen Beaman

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~ George Carlin

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them. ~ George Bernard Shaw

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane. ~ Oscar Wilde

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us. ~ Quentin Crisp

I have opinions of my own – strong opinions – but I don’t always agree with them. ~ George Bush

All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions. ~ William Butler Yeats

Obstinacy and vehemence in opinion are the surest proofs of stupidity. ~ Bernard Barton

By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. ~ Oscar Wilde

In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own. ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. ~ Edward Bernays

The latter part of a wise person’s life is occupied with curing the follies, prejudices and false opinions they contracted earlier. ~ Jonathan Swift

False opinions are like false money, struck first of all by guilty men and thereafter circulated by honest people who perpetuate the crime without knowing what they are doing. ~ Joseph De Maistre

Conscience in most men, is but the anticipation of the opinions of others. ~ Jeremy Taylor

Call your opinions your creed, and you will change them every week. ~ Phillips Brooks

The oppression of any people for opinion’s sake has rarely had any other effect than to fix those opinions deeper, and render them more important. ~ Hosea Ballou

The best rules to form a young man, are, to talk little, to hear much, to reflect alone upon what has passed in company, to distrust one’s own opinions, and value others that deserve it. ~ William Temple

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