It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.

— Walter Lippmann

The most unique Walter Lippmann quotes that will transform you to a better person

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.

68

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.

61

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

57

When all think alike, then no one is thinking

49

The press does not tell us what to think, it tells us what to think about.

40

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.

32

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?

28

All achievement should be measured in human happiness.

25

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

23

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.

22

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

21

The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction.

Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.

19

About Walter Lippmann

Quotes 247 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Journalist
Birthday September 23, 1889

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.

15

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

15

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

14

Only the very rarest of princes can endure even a little criticism, and few of them can put up with even a pause in the adulation.

14

When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.

13

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

11

A regime, an established order, is rarely overthrown by a revolutionary movement; usually a regime collapses of its own weakness and corruption and then a revolutionary movement enters among the ruins and takes over the powers that have become vacant.

11

A rational man acting in the real world may be defined as one who decides where he will strike a balance between what he desires and what can be done.

10

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.

10

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

10

There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral.

10

Corrupt, stupid grasping functionaries will make at least as big a muddle of socialism as stupid, selfish and acquisitive employers can make of capitalism.

10

The disesteem into which moralists have fallen is due at bottom to their failure to see that in an age like this one the function of the moralist is not to exhort men to be good but to elucidate what the good is. The problem of sanctions is secondary.

10

Ignore what a man desires and you ignore the very source of his power

9

Very few established institutions, governments and constitutions .

..are ever destroyed by their enemies until they have been corrupted and weakened by their friends.

9

A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society.

Without criticism and reliable and intelligent reporting, the government cannot govern. For there is no adequate way in which it can keep itself informed about what the people of the country are thinking and doing and wanting.

9

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.

8

Every fairly intelligent person is aware that the price of respectability is a muffled soul bent on the trivial and the mediocre.

8

Brains, you know, are suspect in the Republican Party.

8

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.

7

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.

7

In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men.

It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.

7

There are at least two distinct selves, the public and regal self, the private and human.

7

Many a time I have wanted to stop talking and find out what I really believed.

6

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.

6

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.

6

Men are mortal, but ideas are immortal.

5

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.

5

The consent of the governed" is more than a safeguard against ignorant tyrants: it is an insurance against benevolent despots as well.

5

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.

5

And the principle which distinguishes democracy from all other forms of government is that in a democracy the opposition not only is tolerated as constitutional but must be maintained because it is in fact indispensable.

5

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

5

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.

5

The first principle of a civilized state is that the power is legitimate only when it is under contract.

4

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.

4

Once you touch the biographies of human beings, the notion that political beliefs are logically determined collapses like a pricked balloon.

4

To keep a faith pure, man had better retire to a monastery.

4
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