People said it because other people said it. They did not know why it was being said and heard everywhere. They did not give or ask for reasons. 'Reason,' Dr. Pritchett had told them, 'is the most naive of all superstitions.' 'The source of public opinion?' said Claude Slagenhop in a public radio speech. 'There is no source of public opinion. It is spontaneously general. It is a reflex of the collective instinct of the collective mind.
When modern sociologists talk of the necessity of accommodating one's self to the trend of the time, they forget that the trend of the time at its best consists entirely of people who will not accommodate themselves to anything. At its worst it consists of many millions of frightened creatures all accommodating themselves to a trend that is not there. And that is becoming more and more the situation.. Every man speaks of public opinion, and means by public opinion, public opinion minus his opinion.