“He has perpetually occasion to rely on ideas which he has not had leisure to search to the bottom; for he is much more frequently aided by the opportunity of an idea than by its strict accuracy; and, in the long run, he risks less in making use of some false principles, than in spending his time in establishing all his principles on the basis of truth. The world is not led by long or learned demonstrations; a rapid glance at particular incidents, the daily study of the fleeting passions of the multitude, the accidents of the time, and the art of turning them to account, decide all its affairs.”
Conservative diatribe against the tenor of political discourse?
Traditionalist invective against new media and the decline of journalism?
Reactionary complaint against the culture of blogs and social media?
Curmudgeonly rant against all things digital?
This was from the pen of Alexis de Tocqueville writing in the early nineteenth century about the habits of mind induced by America’s democratic society.
Apparently ours was a temperament waiting for a medium to match.