Walter Lippmann quotes

  • It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Inspirational #Positive #Music

  • He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Honor #Duty #Dangerous

  • There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Lying #Mean #Community

  • The Bill of Rights does not come from the people and is not subject to change by majorities. It comes from the nature of things. It declares the inalienable rights of man not only against all government but also against the people collectively.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Rights #People

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Stars #Lying #Moving

  • The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Time #Men #Ideas

  • 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

    #Men #Soul #Purpose

  • The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opposition than from his fervent supporters.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Learning #Glowing #Politics

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Leadership #Business #Common Sense

  • 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

    #Men #Justice #Liberty

  • The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Inspirational #Change #Success

  • It is often very illuminating...to ask yourself how you got at the facts on which you base your opinion. Who actually saw, heard, felt, counted, named the thing, about which you have an opinion?
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Saws #Facts #Opinion

  • Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read and the speeches they hear, their table-talk, gossip, controversies, historical sense and scientific training, the values they appreciate, the quality of life they admire. All communities have a culture. It is the climate of their civilization.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Book #Civilization #Names

  • Successful ... 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Successful #Insecure #Men

  • There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Law #Devil #Journalism

  • Behind innocence there gathers a clotted mass of superstition, of twisted and misdirected impulse; clandestine flirtation, fads, and ragtime fill the unventilated mind.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Mind #Fads #Superstitions

  • Industry is a better horse to ride than genius.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Horse #Business #Genius

  • Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at its source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Strong #Skills #People

  • When all think alike, then no one is thinking
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Funny Inspirational #Thinking

  • Before you can begin to think about politics at all, you have to abandon the notion that there is a war between good men and bad men.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #War #Men #Thinking

  • We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy's side of the front is always propaganda and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #War #Cynical #Humanity

  • Brains, you know, are suspect in the Republican Party.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Humorous #Party #Brain

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Pride #Temptation #Arguing

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Change #Mean #Social

  • True opinions can prevail only if the facts to which they refer are known; if they are not known, false ideas are just as effective as true ones, if not a little more effective.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Ideas #Justice #Littles

  • The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Exercise #May #Live Free

  • We must protect the right of our opponents to speak because we must hear what they have to say.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Opponents #Civil Rights #Speak

  • The American's conviction that he must be able to look any man in the eye and tell him to go to hell is the very essence of the free man's way of life.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Eye #Men #Essence

  • Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Order #Tyrants #Events

  • A country survives its legislation. That truth should not comfort the conservative nor depress the radical. For it means that public policy can enlarge its scope and increase its audacity, can try big experiments without trembling too much over the result. This nation could enter upon the most radical experiments and could afford to fail in them.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Country #Depressing #Mean

  • Without order or authority in the spirit of man the free way of life leads through weakness, disorganization, self-indulgence, and moral indifference to the destruction of freedom itself. The tragic ordeal through which the Western world is passing was prepared in the long period of easy liberty, during which men . . . forgot that their freedom was achieved by heroic sacrifice. . . . They forgot that their rights were founded on their duties. . . . They thought it clever to be cynical, enlightened to be unbelieving, and sensible to be soft.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Life #Clever #Sacrifice

  • Robinson Crusoe, the self-sufficient man, could not have lived in New York city.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #New York #Men #Cities

  • The world is a better place to live in because it contains human beings who will give up ease and security in order to do what they themselves think worth doing. They do the useless, brave, noble, divinely foolish, and the very wisest things that are done by Man. And what they prove to themselves and to others is that Man is no mere creature of his habits, no automaton in his routine, but that in the dust of which he is made there is also fire, lighted now and then by great winds from the sky.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Giving Up #Men #Thinking

  • No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Hair #People #Democracy

  • When men are brought face to face with their opponents, forced to listen and learn and mend their ideas, they cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilized men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men may voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Children #Reality #Men

  • An alliance is like a chain. It is not made stronger by adding weak links to it. A great power like the United States gains no advantage and it loses prestige by offering, indeed peddling, its alliances to all and sundry. An alliance should be hard diplomatic currency, valuable and hard to get, and not inflationary paper from the mimeograph machine in the State Department.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Offering #Stronger #Machines

  • In the blood of the martyrs to intolerance are the seeds of unbelief
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Blood #Belief #Intolerance

  • Almost always tradition is nothing but a record and a machine-made imitation of the habits that our ancestors created. The average conservative is a slave to the most incidental and trivial part of his forefathers glory - to the archaic formula which happened to express their genius or the eighteenth-century contrivance by which for a time it was served.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Average #Genius #Machines

  • Certainly he is not of the generation that regards honesty as the best policy. However, he does regard it as a policy.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Honesty #Doe #Generations

  • There is but one bond of peace that is both permanent and enriching: The increasing knowledge of the world in which experiment occurs.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Peace #World #Increasing Knowledge

  • A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society. ... A great society is simply a big and complicated urban society.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Media #Privilege #Urban

  • Lovers who have nothing to do but love each other are not really to be envied; love and nothing else very soon is nothing else.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Love #Lovers

  • To understand is not only to pardon, but in the end to love.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Forgiveness #Ends #Pardon

  • You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative; the jolliest steamroller will not plant flowers.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Flower #Technology #Inspire

  • 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

    #Fall #Government #Order

  • Very few established institutions, governments and constitutions ...are ever destroyed by their enemies until they have been corrupted and weakened by their friends.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Government #Enemy #Constitution

  • The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event ... For it is clear enough that under certain conditions men respond as powerfully to fictions as they do to realities.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Reality #Men #Feelings

  • While the right to talk may be the beginning of freedom, the necessity of listening is what makes that right important.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Listening #Important #May

  • A really good diplomat does not go in for victories, even when he wins them.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Success #Winning #Victory

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Education #Cost #Needs

  • We are all captives of the picture in our head - our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #World #Belief

  • But what is propaganda, if not the effort to alter the picture to which men respond, to substitute one social pattern for another?
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Effort #Patterns

  • The life of a savage is beset by glowering terrors: from birth to death he lives in an animated world; where the sun and the stars, sticks, stones, and rivers are obsessed with his fate. He is busy all the time in a ritual designed to propitiate the abounding jealousies of nature. For his world is magical and capricious, the simplest thing is occult.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Stars #Fate #Rivers

  • To keep a faith pure, man had better retire to a monastery.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Monasteries #Retiring

  • It is at the cross-roads that skepticism is born, not in a hermitage.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Crosses #Born #Skepticism

  • There is nothing disastrous in the temporary nature of our ideas. They are always that. But there may very easily be a train of evil in the self-deception which regards them as final. I think God will forgive us our skepticism sooner than our Inquisitions.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Thinking #Self #Ideas

  • The systems of stereotypes may be the core of our personal tradition, the defenses of our position in society. They are an ordered more or less consistent picture of the world, to which our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts and our hopes have adjusted themselves. They may not be a complete picture of the world, but they are a picture of a possible world to which we are adapted. In that world, people and things have their well-known places, and do certain expected things. We feel at home there. We fit in. We are members.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Home #People #Comfort

  • The common interests very largely elude public opinion entirely, and can be managed only by a specialised class.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Class #Elude #Public Opinion

  • For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see. In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Confusion #Blooming #World

  • If somebody can create an absolute system of beliefs and rules of conduct that will guide a business man at eleven o'clock in the morning, a boy trying to select a career, a woman in an unhappy love affair--well then, surely no pragmatist will object. He insists only that philosophy shall come down to earth and be tried out there.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Morning #Philosophy #Boys

  • Newspapers necessarilyand inevitably reflect, and therefore, in greater or lesser measure, intensify, the defective organization of public opinion.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Organization #Public Opinion #Opinion

  • Usually it is the stereotyped shape assumed by an event at an obvious place that uncovers the run of the news.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Running #Shapes #Events

  • The news is not a mirror of social conditions, but the report of an aspect that has obtruded itself.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Mirrors #News #Social

  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody is thinking.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Thinking

  • The predominant teachings of this age are that there are no limits to man's capacity to govern others and that, therefore, no limitations ought to be imposed upon government. The older faith, born of long ages of suffering under man's dominion over man, was that the exercise of unlimited power by men with limited minds and self-regarding prejudices is soon oppressive, reactionary, and corrupt. The older faith taught that the very condition of progress was the limitation of power to the capacity and the virtue of rulers.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Teaching #Exercise #Men

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Travel #Discovery #Soul

  • I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Rights #Names #Demand

  • I do not despise genius-indeed, I wish I had a basketful of it. But yet, after a great deal of experience and observation, I have become convinced that industry is a better horse to ride than genius. It may never carry any man as far as genius has carried individuals, but industry-patient, steady, intelligent industry-will carry thousands into comfort, and even celebrity; and this it does with absolute certainty.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Horse #Intelligent #Men

  • A better distribution of incomes would increase that efficiency by diverting a great fund of wealth from the useless to the useful members of society. To cut off the income of the useless will not impair their efficiency. They have none to impair. It will, in fact, compel them to acquire a useful function.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Cutting #Useless #Facts

  • The emancipated woman has to fight something worse than the crusted prejudices of her uncles; she has to fight the bewilderment in her own soul.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Uncles #Fighting #Soul

  • Where there is no danger of overt action there is rarely any interference with freedom. That is why there has so often been amazing freedom of opinion within an aristocratic class which at the same time sanctioned the ruthless suppression of heterodox opinion among the common people. When the Inquisition was operating most effectively against the bourgeois who had lapsed into heresy, the princes of the Church and the nobles enjoyed the freedom of the Renaissance.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Class #People #Church

  • The news of the days it reaches the newspaper office is an incredible medley of fact, propaganda, rumor, suspicion, clues, hopes, and fears, and the task of selecting and ordering that news is one of the truly sacred and priestly offices in a democracy. For the newspaper is in all literalness the bible of democracy, the book out of which a people determines its conduct.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Book #People #Office

  • We are concerned in public affairs, but immersed in our private ones.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Affair #Concerned

  • The writers who have nothing to say, are the ones you can buy, the others have too high a price.
    -- Walter Lippmann

  • Democracy is much too important to be left to public opinion.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Important #Democracy #Public Opinion

  • Men are mortal, but ideas are immortal.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Ideas #Immortal

  • Nobody has yet found a way of bombing that can prevent foot soldiers from walking.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Military #Feet #Soldier

  • Though it is disguised by the illusion that a bureaucracy accountable to a majority of voters, and susceptible to the pressure of organized minorities, is not exercising compulsion, it is evident that the more varied and comprehensive the regulation becomes, the more the state becomes a despotic power as against the individual. For the fragment of control over the government which he exercises through his vote is in no effective sense proportionate to the authority exercised over him by the government.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Exercise #Government #Minorities

  • In places where men are used to differences they inevitably become tolerant.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Differences #Used

  • All achievement should be measured in human happiness.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Happiness #Achievement #Should

  • Unless our ideas are questioned, they become part of the furniture of eternity.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Ideas #Furniture #Eternity

  • The unions are the first feeble effort to conquer the industrial jungle for democratic life. They may not succeed, but if they don't their failure will be a tragedy for civilization, a loss of cooperative effort, a baulking of energy, and the fixing in American life of a class-structure.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Loss #Civilization #Class

  • Liberty may be an uncomfortable blessing unless you know what to do with it. That is why so many freed slaves returned to their masters, why so many emancipated women are only too glad to give up the racket and settle down. For between announcing that you will live your own life, and the living of it lie the real difficulties of any awakening.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Giving Up #Real #Lying

  • Nothing is easier than to simplify life and them make a philosophy about it. The trouble is that the resulting philosophy is true only of that simplified life.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Life #Philosophy #Trouble

  • Our life is managed from behind the scenes: we are actors in dramas that we cannot interpret. Of almost no decisive event can we say: this was our own choosing. We happen upon careers, necessity pushing, blind inclination pulling. If we stop to think we are amazed that we should be what we are.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Life #Drama #Thinking

  • Whenever we accept an idea as authority instead of as instrument, an idol is set up. We worship the plough, and not the fruit.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Ideas #Idols #Fruit

  • It is better to catch the idol-maker than to smash each idol.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Idols #Makers

  • Leaders are the custodians of a nation's ideals, of the beliefs it cherishes, of its permanent hopes, of the faith which makes a nation out of a mere aggregation of individuals.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Leader #Custodians #Belief

  • The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Travel #Adventure #Usa

  • 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

    #Age #Taught #Insight

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

    #Inspirational #Vices #Failing

  • 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

    #Progress #Use #Movement

  • Ignore what a man desires and you ignore the very source of his power.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Power #Desire

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Peace #Wall #War

  • Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort it brings.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Freedom #Men #Effort

  • Men who are orthodox when they are young are in danger of being middle-aged all their lives.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Men #Danger #Young

  • It is perfectly true that that government is best which governs least. It is equally true that that government is best which provides most.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Government

  • 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

    #Citizens #Public Opinion #Comeback

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Success #Congratulations #Tired

  • 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.
    -- Walter Lippmann

    #Kings #People #Ears

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