OPINION

July 28, 1957

SALAZAR: (From «An Athenian’s Notes») The May-June issue of the Portuguese state’s official publication contains the first 14 chapters (more are forthcoming) of the Portuguese Constitution. Articles 22 and 23 are as follows: «Article 22: Public opinion is a fundamental factor in the country’s political and administrative life and it is the state’s duty to repulse any attempt to subvert the truth, justice and the common good. Article 23: The press performs a public service…» Wonderfully true statements and unique, I believe. There is no doubt that in democratic states today, public opinion is a key political factor, something that no government should dare ignore. Public opinion, moreover, is shaped by the press. So the Portuguese Constitution officially recognizes the close relationship between the two and gives the state the right, or rather the duty, to enlighten the public via the press. I admire these statements, but Portugal is governed by a truly wise man, Oliveira Salazar, who naturally inspired these statements, affording public opinion all the importance contained in the phrase: «There is someone who has greater wit than Voltaire and that is public opinion.»