An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





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 (1826-1977, British economist, critic)


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


Walter Benjamin (1982-1940, German critic, philosopher)


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.


Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923, French actress)


Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


The world will only, in the end, follow those who have despised as well as served it.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


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 (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


There are certain times when public opinion is the worst of all opinions.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


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.


James F. Cooper (1789-1851, American novelist)


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 L


Aleister Crowley (1875-1947, British occultist)


What we call public opinion is generally public sentiment.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


American public opinion is like an ocean -- it cannot be stirred by a teaspoon.


Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978, American Vice President)


Ah! Sir, a boy's being flogged is not so severe as a man's having the hiss of the world against him.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


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.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


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.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


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 (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


Every person is a fool in some person's opinion.


Spanish Proverb (Sayings of Spanish origin)


A man must know how to fly in the face of opinion; a woman to submit to it.


Anne Germain De Stael (1766-1817, French-Swiss novelist)


It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of the kingdom.


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745, Anglo-Irish satirist)


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.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Public Opinion... an attempt to organize the ignorance of the community, and to elevate it to the dignity of physical force.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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