It is common to say that public opinion does not exist
there; but such a statement is not wholly correct.
It does exist, but it
is an out-of-door public opinion - a man's view of men. There is, for
example, a strong public opinion against hypocrisy in California, as
more than one clerical renegade has found, to his discomfiture. The
pretense to virtue is the one vice that is not forgiven. If a man be not
a liar, few questions are asked, least of all the delicate one as to the
"name he went by in the states." What we commonly call public opinion -
the cut and dried decision on social and civic questions - is made up in
the house. It is essentially feminine in its origin, the opinion of the
home circle as to how men should behave. In California there is little
which corresponds to the social atmosphere pervading the snug,
white-painted, green-blinded New England villages, and this little
exists chiefly in the southern counties, in communities of people
transported in block - traditions, conventionalities, prejudices, and
all. There is, in general, no merit attached to conformity, and one may
take a wide range of rope without necessarily arousing distrust.
Speaking broadly, in California the virtues of life spring from within,
and are not prescribed from without. The young man who is decent only
because he thinks that some one is looking, would do well to stay away.
The stern law of individual responsibility turns the fool over to the
fool-killer without a preliminary trial.
Enter page number
Page 10 of 23
Words from 2400 to 2667