Saturday, June 01, 2019

Newman on Opinion Journalism

Most men in this country like opinions to be brought to them, rather than to be at the pains to go out and seek for them. They like to be waited on, they like to be consulted, for they like to be their own centre. As great men have their slaves or their body-servants for every need of the day, so, in an age like this, when every one reads and has a voice in public matters, it is indispensable that they should have persons to provide them with their ideas, the clothing of their mind, and that of the best fashion. Hence the extreme influence of periodical publications at this day, quarterly, monthly, or daily; these teach the multitude of men what to think and what to say. And thus is it that, in this age, every one is, intellectually, a sort of absolute king, though his realm is confined to himself or to his family; for at least he can think and say, though he cannot do, what he will, and that with no trouble at all, because he has plenty of intellectual servants to wait on him. Is it to be supposed that a man is to take the trouble of finding out truth himself, when he can pay for it? So his only object is to have cheap knowledge; that he may have his views of revelation, and dogma, and policy, and conduct,—in short, of right and wrong,—ready to hand, as he has his table-cloth laid for his breakfast, and the materials provided for the meal.

Bl. John Henry Newman, "Christ Upon the Waters--Part 2", Sermons Preached on Various Occasions.

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