1889-1974, American Journalist
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 – [Law and Lawyers]
A useful definition of liberty is obtained only by seeking the principle of liberty in the main business of human life, that is to say, in the process by which men educate their responses and learn to control their environment.
Walter Lippmann – [Freedom]
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]
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 – [Conservatives]
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 – [Alliances]
Between ourselves and our real natures we interpose that wax figure of idealizations and selections which we call our character.
Walter Lippmann – [Character]
Corrupt, stupid grasping functionaries will make at least as big a muddle of socialism as stupid, selfish and acquisitive employers can make of capitalism.
Walter Lippmann – [Corruption]
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 – [Culture]
Football strategy does not originate in a scrimmage: it is useless to expect solutions in a political campaign.
Walter Lippmann – [Elections]
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]
Ignore what a man desires and you ignore the very source of his power
Walter Lippmann – [Desire]
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]
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]
In making the great experiment of governing people by consent rather than by coercion, it is not sufficient that the party in power should have a majority. It is just as necessary that the party in power should never outrage the minority.
Walter Lippmann – [Minorities]
In really hard times the rules of the game are altered. The inchoate mass begins to stir. It becomes potent, and when it strikes, it strikes with incredible emphasis. Those are the rare occasions when a national will emerges from the scattered, specialized, or indifferent blocs of voters who ordinarily elect the politicians. Those are for good or evil the great occasions in a nation's history.
Walter Lippmann – [Difficulties]
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]
Let a human being throw the energies of his soul into the making of something, and the instinct of workmanship will take care of his honesty.
Walter Lippmann – [Crafts]
Many a time I have wanted to stop talking and find out what I really believed.
Walter Lippmann – [Belief]
No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people.
Walter Lippmann – [Education]
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]