Walter Bagehot - Men Quotes
11 Sourced Quotes
You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor... Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to think other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's habits.
Nine tenths of modern science is in this respect the same: it is the produce of men whom their contemporaries thought dreamers - who were laughed at for caring for what did not concern them - who, as the proverb went, 'walked into a well from looking at the stars' - who were believed to be useless, if anyone could be such.
Efficiency in an assembly requires a solid mass of steady votes; and these are collected by a deferential attachment to particular men, or by a belief in the principles that those men represent, and they are maintained by fear of those men - by the fear that if you vote against them, you may soon yourself have no vote at all.
But the mass of the old electors did not analyse very much: they liked to have one of their "betters" to represent them; if he was rich they respected him much; and if he was a lord, they liked him the better. The issue put before these electors was, which of two rich people will you choose? And each of those rich people was put forward by great parties whose notions were the notions of the rich—whose plans were their plans. The electors only selected one or two wealthy men to carry out the schemes of one or two wealthy associations.