If the intellectual has any function in society, it is to preserve a cool and unbiased judgment in the face of all solicitations to passion... During the war, the ordinary virtues, such as thrift, industry, and public spirit, were used to swell the magnitude of the disaster by producing a greater energy in the work of mutual extermination.
There is no real love of virtue without the knowledge of public good.
A moral decision is the loneliest thing that exists. Knowledge is shed abroad everywhere. Anybody may dip his cup into that great sea and take out what he can. It is a public appropriation from a public store. But what the man himself must do as a moral being, what ordering he shall make of his life, what allegiance he shall choose, what cause he shall cleave to - this is decided in that solitude where his soul in authentic presence lives with no other companion than the Final Authority which he recognizes as supreme.
We are too much inclined to underrate the power of moral influence, the influence of public opinion, and the influence of the principles to which great men - the lights of the world, and of the present age - have given their sanction.
When any person of really eminent virtue becomes the object of envy, the clamor and abuse by which he is assailed is but the sign and accompaniment of his success in doing service to the public. And if he is truly a wise man, he will take no more notice of it than the moon does of the howling of the dogs. Her only answer to them is to shine on.
Bureaucracies are designed to perform public business. But as soon as a bureaucracy is established, it develops an autonomous spiritual life and comes to regard the public as its enemy.
Public opinion is no more than this. What people think that other people think.
The best government rests on the people, and not on the few, on persons and not on property, on the free development of public opinion and not on authority.
The law of the Sabbath is the keystone of the arch of public morals; take it away, and the whole fabric falls.
Today education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.
We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
For the mass public, it is easier to understand problems if they are reduced to black/white dichotomies. It is easier to understand policies if they are attached to individuals who are simplistically labeled as hawks or doves. Yet in today’s world any attempt to reduce its complexities to a single set of ideological propositions, to a single personality, or to a single issue is in itself a distortion. Such a distortion also raises the danger that public emotions could become so strong as to make the management of a genuinely complex foreign policy well-nigh impossible.
The public man needs but one patron, namely, the lucky moment.
Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
The history of the world is the record of the weakness, frailty and death of public opinion.
The public buys its opinions as it buys its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.
Public sentiment will come to be, that the man who dies rich dies disgraced.
At the bottom of a good deal of bravery that appears in the world there lurks a miserable cowardice. Men will face powder and steel because they cannot face public opinion.
Minds do not act together in public; they simply stick together; and when their private activities are resumed, they fly apart again.
Language is the apparel in which your thoughts parade before in public. Never clothe them in vulgar and shoddy attire.