George Carlin - Noam Chomsky - Paul Nurse & BBC Horizon TV - George Washington - Janeane Garofalo - Edward Bernays - Edmund Burke - Bertrand Russell - Philip Z Zelikow - Abraham Lincoln - James Buchanan - Douglas Adams - Johann Kaspar Lavater - James F Cooper - Walter Lippmann -
Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, Garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here ... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope. George Carlin
What the public wants is called politically unrealistic. Translated into English that means Power and Privilege are opposed to it. Noam Chomsky
Such ideas have ample resonance until today, including Locke’s stern doctrine that common people should be denied the right even to discuss public affairs. This doctrine remains a basic principle of modern democratic states, now implemented by a variety of means to protect the operations of the state from public scrutiny: classification of documents on the largely fraudulent pretext of national security, clandestine operations, and other measures to bar the rascal multitude from the political arena. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
After the American revolution, rebellious and independent farmers had to be taught by force that the ideals expressed in the pamphlets of 1776 were not to be taken seriously. The common people were not to be represented by countrymen like themselves, that know the people’s sores, but by gentry, merchants, lawyers, and others who hold or serve private power. Jefferson and Madison believed that power should be in the hands of the ‘natural aristocracy’. ibid.
Critics have objected on several grounds, from safety issues to environmental concerns. The GM debate once again raises the question of public trust in Science. There is a gap between the fears of some sections of the public, and the opinion of scientists that what they are doing is both useful and safe. Professor Sir Paul Nurse, president Royal Society, Horizon: Science Under Attack, 2011
We scientists hadn’t gone out there and asked what bothered the public. We hadn’t talked to them about the issue. We’d not had dialogue with them. Scientists had forgotten that we don’t operate in a bubble. We cannot take the public for granted. We have to talk to them. We have to communicate the issues. We have to earn their trust if Science really is going to benefit society. ibid.
Scientists have got to get out there. They have to be open about everything they do. They do have to talk to the media. Even if it does sometimes put their reputation at doubt. Because if we do that, it will be filled by others who don’t understand the science, and who may be driven by politics or ideology. This is far too important to be left to the polemicists and commentators in the media. Scientists have to be there too. ibid.
There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. George Washington
Taking into account the public’s regrettable lack of taste, it is incumbent upon you not to fit in. Janeane Garofalo, ‘Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy, and Sexual Satisfaction’
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country ... We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society ... In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons ... who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind. Edward L Bernays, Propaganda
It is a general popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare. Edmund Burke
One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny. Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness, 1930
Contemporary history is defined functionally by those critical people and events that go into forming the public’s presumptions about its immediate past. The idea of public presumption is akin to the notion of public myth, but without the negative connotation of the word myth.
Such presumptions are beliefs thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with any real certainty) and shared with the relevant political community. Philip Z Zelikow, thesis on Social Conditioning, co-producer 9/11 Commission Report
Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who moulds public opinion is greater than he who enacts laws. Abraham Lincoln
There’s certainly no measurable concept that’s meaningful that could be called the Public Interest because how do you weigh different interests of different groups and what they can get out of it? The public interest as a politician thinks it does not mean it exists – it is what he thinks is good for the country. And if he would come out and say that, that’s one thing, but behind this hypocrisy of calling something the Public Interest as if it exists – that was what I was trying to tear down. Professor James Buchanan
‘My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre,’ Ford muttered to himself, ‘and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes.’ Douglas Adams, Life, The Universe and Everything
The public seldom forgives twice. Johann Kaspar Lavater, Aphorisms on Man c.1788
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
The common interests very largely elude public opinion entirely, and can be managed only by a specialized class whose personal interests reach beyond the locality. Walter Lippmann
The public must be put in its place [so that we may] live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered beast. Walter Lippmann