The 'public' is a phantom, the phantom of an opinion...

The 'public' is a phantom, the phantom of an opinion supposed to exist in a vast number of persons who have no effective interrelation and though the opinion is not effectively present in the units. Such an opinion is spoken of as 'public opinion,' a fiction which is appealed to by individuals and by groups as supporting their special views. It is impalpable, illusory, transient; ''tis here, 'tis there, 'tis gone'; a nullity which can nevertheless for a moment endow the multitude with power to uplift or destroy.

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