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 :: 1889-1974, American Journalist

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We forge gradually our greatest instrument for understanding the world -- introspection. We discover that humanity may resemble us very considerably -- that the best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbors is to know ourselves.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Self-knowledge]

 

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The principles of the good society call for a concern with an order of being -- which cannot be proved existentially to the sense organs -- where it matters supremely that the human person is inviolable, that reason shall regulate the will, that truth shall prevail over error.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Society]

 

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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.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Sociology]

 

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In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.
~ Walter Lippmann - [State]

 

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Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Thoughts and Thinking]

 

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Unless the reformer can invent something which substitutes attractive virtues for attractive vices, he will fail.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Virtue]

 

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The effort to calculate exactly what the voters want at each particular moment leaves out of account the fact that when they are troubled the thing the voters most want is to be told what to want.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Voting]

 

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If all power is in the people, if there is no higher law than their will, and if by counting their votes, their will may be ascertained -- then the people may entrust all their power to anyone, and the power of the pretender and the usurper is then legitimate. It is not to be challenged since it came originally from the sovereign people.
~ Walter Lippmann - [People]

 

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When philosophers try to be politicians they generally cease to be philosophers.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Philosophers and Philosophy]

 

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Successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies. The decisive consideration is not whether the proposition is good but whether it is popular -- not whether it will work well and prove itself but whether the active talking constituents like it immediately. Politicians rationalize this servitude by saying that in a democracy public men are the servants of the people.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Politicians and Politics]

 

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The chief element in the art of statesmanship under modern conditions is the ability to elucidate the confused and clamorous interests which converge upon the seat of government. It is an ability to penetrate from the nanve self-interest of each group to its permanent and real interest. Statesmanship consists in giving the people not what they want but what they will learn to want.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Politicians and Politics]

 

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The ordinary politician has a very low estimate of human nature. In his daily life he comes into contact chiefly with persons who want to get something or to avoid something. Beyond this circle of seekers after privileges, individuals and organized minorities, he is aware of a large unorganized, indifferent mass of citizens who ask nothing in particular and rarely complain. The politician comes after a while to think that the art of politics is to satisfy the seekers after favors and to mollify the inchoate mass with noble sentiments and patriotic phrases.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Politicians and Politics]

 

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The man who will follow precedent, but never create one, is merely an obvious example of the routineer. You find him desperately numerous in the civil service, in the official bureaus. To him government is something given as unconditionally, as absolutely as ocean or hill. He goes on winding the tape that he finds. His imagination has rarely extricated itself from under the administrative machine to gain any sense of what a human, temporary contraption the whole affair is. What he thinks is the heavens above him is nothing but the roof.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Precedents]

 

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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.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Prejudice]

 

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Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main ballpark.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Property]

 

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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.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Prophecy]

 

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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.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Public Office]

 

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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.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Public Opinion]

 

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Where mass opinion dominates the government, there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society. It may, if it cannot be arrested and reversed, bring about the fall of the West.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Public Opinion]

 

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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.
~ Walter Lippmann - [Purpose]

 

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