Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 - December 14, 1974)
Born: 23rd September, 1889
Died: 14th December, 1974
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Journalist
Region: New York City, New York
Notable works: "The Phantom Public", "Public Opinion"

Walter Lippmann Facts

Biography

Walter Lippmann, (born Sept. 23, 1889, New York City--died Dec. 14, 1974, New York City), American newspaper commentator and author who in a 60-year career made himself one of the most widely respected political columnists in the world.

While studying at Harvard (B.A., 1909), Lippmann was influenced by the philosophers William James and George Santayana. He helped to found (1914) The New Republic and served as its assistant editor under Herbert David Croly. Through his writings in that liberal weekly and through direct consultation, he influenced Pres. Woodrow Wilson, who is said to have drawn on Lippmann's ideas for the post-World War I settlement plan (Fourteen Points) and for the concept of the League of Nations. Lippmann was briefly (1917) an assistant to Secretary of War Newton D. Baker. Wilson sent him to take part in the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles (1919).

After writing editorials (1921-29) for the reformist World, Lippmann served as its editor (1929-31) and then moved to the New York Herald Tribune. On Sept. 8, 1931, his column, "Today and Tomorrow," first appeared; eventually, it was syndicated in more than 250 newspapers in the United States and about 25 other nations and won two Pulitzer Prizes (1958, 1962). In preparing his commentaries, he traveled throughout the world. His first book, A Preface to Politics (1913), was mildly socialistic, but Drift and Mastery (1914) was anti-Marxist, and in The Good Society (1937) he repudiated socialism entirely. During World War II he warned against a postwar return of the United States to an isolationist policy. Essays in the Public Philosophy (1955) evoked some criticism for its natural-law theory.

In perhaps his most influential book, Public Opinion (1922; reissued 1956; paperback ed., 1965), Lippmann seemed to imply that ordinary citizens can no longer judge public issues rationally, since the speed and condensation required in the mass media tend to produce slogans rather than interpretations. In The Phantom Public (1925) he again treated the problem of communication in politics; while continuing to doubt the possibility of a true democracy, he nonetheless rejected government by an elite.

Top 45 Walter Lippmann quotes

Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much.
Alike
Men
Much
No-one
Think
Thinks
Very
Where
The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.
Behind
Carry
Conviction
Final
He
Him
Leader
Leaves
Men
Other
Test
Will
The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.
Behind
Common
Deal
Genius
Good
Good leader
Grace
Him
Leader
Leave
Sense
Situation
Successfully
Which
It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
Audience
Deaf
Music
Nothing
Requires
Understand
Wisdom
We are quite rich enough to defend ourselves, whatever the cost. We must now learn that we are quite rich enough to educate ourselves as we need to be educated.
Cost
Defend
Educate
Educated
Enough
Learn
Must
Need
Now
Ourselves
Quite
Rich
Whatever
The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief... that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.
Atoms
Belief
Contingent
Forces
Heart
Human
Human heart
Lies
Modern
Modern science
Move
Novelty
Precisely
Preferences
Brains, you know, are suspect in the Republican Party.
Brains
Know
Party
Republican
Republican party
Suspect
You
Once you touch the biographies of human beings, the notion that political beliefs are logically determined collapses like a pricked balloon.
Balloon
Beings
Beliefs
Biographies
Determined
Human
Human beings
Like
Logically
Notion
Once
Political
Political beliefs
Touch
There is nothing so good for the human soul as the discovery that there are ancient and flourishing civilized societies which have somehow managed to exist for many centuries and are still in being though they have had no help from the traveler in solving their problems.
Ancient
Being
Centuries
Civilized
Discovery
Exist
Flourishing
Good
Had
Help
Human
Human soul
Many
Nothing
Industry is a better horse to ride than genius.
Better
Genius
Horse
Industry
Ride
Than
Men who are orthodox when they are young are in danger of being middle-aged all their lives.
Being
Danger
Lives
Men
Middle-aged
Orthodox
Who
Young
The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opposition than from his fervent supporters.
Always
Any
Being
Fervent
Good
His
Human
Human being
Indispensable
Learns
Like
More
Opposition
Other
Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort it brings.
After
Authority
Brings
Consoling
Economy
Effort
Freedom
Little
Men
Most
Preferred
He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.
Conduct
Dangerous
He
Himself
Holds
Honor
Ideal
Inconvenient
Though
Ideals are an imaginative understanding of that which is desirable in that which is possible.
Desirable
Ideals
Imaginative
Possible
Understanding
Which
A man has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.
Conduct
Dangerous
He
Himself
Holds
Honor
Ideal
Inconvenient
Man
Though
When all men think alike, no one thinks very much.
Alike
Men
Much
No-one
Think
Thinks
Very
No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people.
Amount
Ballots
Democracy
Direct
Illiterate
Make
Out
People
Short
Will
Many a time I have wanted to stop talking and find out what I really believed.
Believed
Find
Many
Out
Really
Stop
Talking
Time
Wanted
We are all captives of the picture in our head - our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.
Belief
Exists
Experienced
Head
Our
Picture
Really
World
Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience.
Change
Condition
Conscience
Eternal
Grows
Life
Means
New
Our
Radical
Radical change
Social
Social life
Vessel
The first principle of a civilized state is that the power is legitimate only when it is under contract.
Civilized
Contract
First
Legitimate
Only
Power
Principle
State
The best servants of the people, like the best valets, must whisper unpleasant truths in the master's ear. It is the court fool, not the foolish courtier, whom the king can least afford to lose.
Afford
Best
Court
Ear
Fool
Foolish
King
Least
Like
Lose
Master
Must
People
Servants
There is no arguing with the pretenders to a divine knowledge and to a divine mission. They are possessed with the sin of pride, they have yielded to the perennial temptation.
Arguing
Divine
Knowledge
Mission
Perennial
Possessed
Pretenders
Pride
Sin
Temptation
Yielded
It is perfectly true that that government is best which governs least. It is equally true that that government is best which provides most.
Best
Equally
Government
Governs
Least
Most
Perfectly
Provides
True
Which
When men can no longer be theists, they must, if they are civilized, become humanists.
Become
Civilized
Longer
Men
Must
The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples.
Absorb
Adventure
America
Conquest
Different
Fifty
Great
Longer
People
Social
Wilderness
When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute.
Absolute
Complex
Considerable
Distant
Distortion
Dogmatic
Great
Great masses
Hypothetical
Made
Masses
Often
Over
People
Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main ballpark.
Ballpark
Freedom
Main
Original
Private
Private property
Property
Source
Still
Ages when custom is unsettled are necessarily ages of prophecy. The moralist cannot teach what is revealed; he must reveal what can be taught. He has to seek insight rather than to preach.
Ages
Cannot
Custom
He
Insight
Moralist
Must
Necessarily
Preach
Prophecy
Rather
Reveal
Revealed
Seek
In government offices which are sensitive to the vehemence and passion of mass sentiment public men have no sure tenure. They are in effect perpetual office seekers, always on trial for their political lives, always required to court their restless constituents.
Always
Constituents
Court
Effect
Government
Lives
Mass
Men
Office
Offices
Passion
Perpetual
Political
Public
The private citizen, beset by partisan appeals for the loan of his Public Opinion, will soon see, perhaps, that these appeals are not a compliment to his intelligence, but an imposition on his good nature and an insult to his sense of evidence.
Appeals
Citizen
Compliment
Evidence
Good
Good nature
His
Imposition
Insult
Intelligence
Loan
Nature
Opinion
Partisan
Only the consciousness of a purpose that is mightier than any man and worthy of all men can fortify and inspirit and compose the souls of men.
Any
Compose
Consciousness
Man
Men
Mightier
Only
Purpose
Souls
Than
Worthy
People that are orthodox when they are young are in danger of being middle-aged all their lives.
Being
Danger
Lives
Middle-aged
Orthodox
People
Young
A long life in journalism convinced me many presidents ago that there should be a large air space between a journalist and the head of a state.
Air
Between
Convinced
Head
Journalism
Journalist
Large
Life
Long
Long life
Many
Me
Presidents
Should
The simple opposition between the people and big business has disappeared because the people themselves have become so deeply involved in big business.
Because
Become
Between
Big
Big business
Business
Deeply
Disappeared
Involved
Opposition
People
Simple
Themselves
The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class.
Casual
Class
Make
Mind
Out
Pick
Prejudices
Representative
Sample
Stumble
Supports
Tendency
Then
Which
The time has come to stop beating our heads against stone walls under the illusion that we have been appointed policeman to the human race.
Against
Appointed
Beating
Been
Come
Heads
Human
Human race
Illusion
Our
Policeman
Race
Stone
Stop
When philosophers try to be politicians they generally cease to be philosophers.
Cease
Generally
Philosophers
Politicians
Try
In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.
Administer
Affairs
Among
Conduct
Does
Free
Free society
Justice
Men
Own
Society
State
Who
Social movements are at once the symptoms and the instruments of progress. Ignore them and statesmanship is irrelevant; fail to use them and it is weak.
Fail
Ignore
Instruments
Irrelevant
Movements
Once
Progress
Social
Social movements
Statesmanship
Symptoms
Them
Use
Weak
Success makes men rigid and they tend to exalt stability over all the other virtues; tired of the effort of willing they become fanatics about conservatism.
About
Become
Conservatism
Effort
Exalt
Fanatics
Makes
Men
Other
Over
Rigid
Stability
Success
Tend
What we call a democratic society might be defined for certain purposes as one in which the majority is always prepared to put down a revolutionary minority.
Always
Call
Certain
Defined
Democratic
Democratic society
Down
Majority
Might
Minority
Prepared
Purposes
Put
Revolutionary
The study of error is not only in the highest degree prophylactic, but it serves as a stimulating introduction to the study of truth.
Degree
Error
Highest
Highest degree
Introduction
Only
Serve
Stimulating
Study
Truth
Unless the reformer can invent something which substitutes attractive virtues for attractive vices, he will fail.
Attractive
Fail
He
Invent
Reformer
Something
Unless
Vices
Virtues
Which
Will

Walter Lippmann essays

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