Keyboard commandos, 19th century edition

‘So it is with the unanimity of the Press. It has been explained to me: as soon as there is a war their revenue is doubled. How can they help considering that the fate of the people and the Slavs–and all the rest of it?’

‘There are many papers I don’t like, but that is unfair,’ said Koznyshev.

‘I would make only one stipulation,’ continued the Prince. ‘Alphonse Karr put it very well before the war with Prussia. “You think war unavoidable? Very well! He who preaches war–off with him in a special legion to the assault, to the attack, in front of everybody else!”‘

‘The editors would be fine!’ remarked Katavasov, laughing loudly, and picturing to himself the editors of his acquaintance in that chosen legion.

‘Oh, but they’d run away,’ said Dolly, ‘and only be a hindrance.’

‘And if they run, put grapeshot behind them, or Cossacks with whips!’ said the Prince.

‘That is a joke, and excuse me, Prince, not a good joke,’ said Koznyshev.

‘I don’t see that it is a joke, that . . .’ began Levin, but Koznyshev interrupted him.

‘Every member of Society is called upon to do his proper task,’ he said. ‘And men of thought perform theirs by expressing public opinion. The unanimous and complete expression of public opinion is a service rendered by the Press, and is also a gratifying phenomenon. Twenty years ago we should have been silent, but now we hear the voice of the Russian people, who are ready to arise as one man and to sacrifice themselves for their oppressed brethren. That is a great step and a sign of power!’

–Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, part VIII, chapter 16

Any resemblance to current affairs is purely coincidental.

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