In the Age of the Feuilleton, in brief, the social demandnthat we have unjustified opinions, expressive of our personahtynand class-loyalty, is a mechanism of social control.nReally to think that what we choose to say is true admits thenpossibility that we and our leaders might be wrong. Toninquire into the rahonal grounding of the opinions currentlynon offer reminds us that most of us have no epistemicnright to any opinion on most subjects of importancen(including, of course, the question of who does have such anright on any particular subject: Who has a right to annopinion on the ancient Assyrian copula, the reliability overnthe next thousand years of current techniques of radioactivenwaste disposal, or whether property—as it is currentlyndistributed—is theft?).nRelativists can hardly be absolute in their own defensenand must rationally allow those with the strongest claim tonknow to have their way. Absolutists may hold even theirnown leader to judgment. What leaders want in their partiesnis a dogmatic relativism, a sense of superior wisdom that bynabandoning (verbally) all claim to truth is spared the rigorsnof self-examination. That is what opiniatrety amounts to:nperseverance in opinions that even the opinionated do notnseriously think are rational or true. The having of suchnopinions is what pollsters, feuilletonists, and party hacksnrequire of us. Freedom correspondingly requires us tonconfess, Socratically, our ignorance, and to suspect thenopinionated of a like defect.nThe Enlightenment sages who required that we reservenour opinion till we have checked the reasoning and evidencenthat might support one view or another had far toonindividualist a notion of what counted as sound rationalnpractice. Life is too short for each of us to check everynseparate dictum before endorsing it, and too demanding ofnparticular action for us always to refrain from judgment.nWhat I offer as my opinion is not opiniatrety merelynbecause I cannot adequately outline what would leadnrational inquirers to that conclusion.nWe are entitled to our prejudices and accepted truths,nand those who claim to have no prejudice have usuallynfailed to inspect their axiom-set with proper clarity. Opiniatretynis not to purvey accepted wisdom without quitenknowing how to prove it. It is to adopt as one’s ownnwhatever the breath of fashion and class-loyalty may blow.nThe Enlightenment solution has exacerbated the problem:nSince no one can, in fact, completely check acceptednwisdom, but no one can ever do without a prejudice or two,nthe opinionated classes are condemned to rely upon opinionsnthat they know they should not have, to changenopinions as they change dresses, by following fashion andntheir friends’ expressions.nThen, how do we maintain a properly and practicallynSocratic stance? Only by wearing another badge, by actingnin loyalty to an ideal community whose goal is truth. In thenAge of the Feuilleton we can revere the true society ofnscholars, no one of whom could by himself check everynprejudice but who can hope to cooperate over the centuriesnin distilling truth. “The opinion that is fated to be ultimatelynagreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by thentruth, and the object represented in this opinion is real.”nPierce’s faith in that destiny, or his representation of thatnfaith in ultimate agreement as a necessary postulate ofnYEARS AFTERWARDnby Fred ChappellnAn epilogue to The Wind in the WillowsnThey’re decades older now, and TimenHas brought its autumn change to Toad,nTo Rat, to Mole. No more for themnThe rigors of the Open Road,nEncounters colorful and strangenWith every kind of Wayfarer.nThey know they shall no longer rangenSo wide. Before his cozy firenMole sits his armchair, his feet up,nAnd listens to November windnPuff his chimney like a pipe.nHe reads his paper to the end.nPerhaps this evening Rat will comenFor an unaggressive game of chessnAnd a crumb of gossip. And a crumbnOf Wensleydale and watercress.nPerhaps no one will come, and MolenShall spend the hours in reverienWhile the wind dampens its raw brawl;nThen rise to brew a cup of tea;nThen sink into his chair again.nThose days of high emprise appearnWith the May-wine freshness of spring rainnAnd paint their pictures in the fire.nSo long ago . . . Now they all slip.nAbstracted, comfortable, and grubby.nInto old age. Though Toad has taken upnHang gliding—as a sort of hobby.nFred Chappell is author of Source (LouisiananState University).nscientific reason, is rationally accepted only by those whonthink the world is founded on that real, not just ideal,ncommunity. As Lossky wrote in The World as an OrganicnWhole in 1928, “According to [concrete ideal-realism] thenultimate ground of the world is God, who transcends thenworld and is more than perfect—a Being that stands abovenperfection. The proximate ground of the world, and ancomponent part of it, is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdomnof the Spirit as a realized ideal. Even the beings that arenfarthest removed from it may hope to attain it, for thatnkingdom really exists, and by the grace of God, its raysnlighten, if only to a small extent, each one of us, helping usnto endure the sorrows and burdens of the imperfect lifenwhich is our self-chosen doom.” Opiniatrety and arbitraryngovernment are resisted best by those who acknowledge thatnall of us live under judgment, that there are absolutes, and antruth already known to Heaven.nnnAPRIL 1987/ISn