A man must know how to fly in the face of opinion; a woman to submit to it.
Ah! Sir, a boy's being flogged is not so severe as a man's having the hiss of the world against him.
American public opinion is like an ocean — it cannot be stirred by a teaspoon.
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.
It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.
It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of the kingdom.
Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments.
Public opinion contains all kinds of falsity and truth, but it takes a great man to find the truth in it. The great man of the age is the one who can put into words the will of his age, tell his age what its will is, and accomplish it. What he does is the heart and the essence of his age, he actualizes his age. The man who lacks sense enough to despise public opinion expressed in gossip will never do anything great.
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.
Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.
Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.
Public Opinion… an attempt to organize the ignorance of the community, and to elevate it to the dignity of physical force.
The private citizen, beset by partisan appeals for the loan of his Public Opinion, will soon see, perhaps, that these appeals are not a compliment to his intelligence, but an imposition on his good nature and an insult to his sense of evidence.
The world will only, in the end, follow those who have despised as well as served it.
There are certain times when public opinion is the worst of all opinions.
They look for a victim to chivy, and howl him down, and finally lynch him in a sheer storm of sexual frenzy which they honestly imagine to be moral indignation, patriotic passion or some equally allowable emotion, it may be an innocent Negro, a Jew like Leo Frank, a harmless half-witted German; a Christ-like idealist of the type of Debs, an enthusiastic reformer like Emma Goldman.
We must live for the few who know and appreciate us, who judge and absolve us, and for whom we have the same affection and indulgence. The rest I look upon as a mere crowd, lively or sad, loyal or corrupt, from whom there is nothing to be expected but fleeting emotions, either pleasant or unpleasant, which leave no trace behind them.
What we call public opinion is generally public sentiment.
Where mass opinion dominates the government, there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society. It may, if it cannot be arrested and reversed, bring about the fall of the West.
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?