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 Walter Lippmann Quotes
29 Famous Quotes by Walter Lippmann
9/23/1889 - 12/14/1974
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About Walter Lippmann

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.

Leadership Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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People that are orthodox when they are young are in danger of being middle-aged all their lives.

Inspirational Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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

Honor Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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

Leadership Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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

Opposition Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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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.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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No serious historian of politics would imagine that he had accounted for the protective tariff of the system of bounties or subsidies, for the monetary and banking laws, for the state of law in regard to corporate privileges and immunities, for the actual status of property rights, for agricultural or for labor policies, until he had gone behind the general claims and the abstract justifications and had identified the specifically interested groups which promoted the specific law.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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Free institutions are not the property of any majority. They do not confer upon majorities unlimited powers. The rights of the majority are limited rights. They are limited not only by the constitutional guarantees but by the moral principle implied in those guarantees. That principle is that men may not use the facilities of liberty to impair them. No man may invoke a right in order to destroy it.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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The war for liberty never ends. One day liberty has to be defended against the power of wealth, on another day against the intrigues of politicians, on another against the dead hand of bureaucrats, on another against the patrioter and the militarist, on another against the profiteer, and then against the hysteria and the passions of the mobs, against obscurantism and stupidity, against the criminal and against the overrighteous. In this campaign every civilized man is enlisted till he dies, and he only has known the full joy of living who somewhere and at some time has struck a decisive blow for the freedom of the human spirit.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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For the principle of majority rule is the mildest form in which the force of numbers can be exercised. It is a pacific substitute for civil war in which the opposing armies are counted and victory is awarded to the larger before any blood is shed.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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..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.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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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.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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The search for moral guidance which shall not depend upon external authority has invariably ended in the acknowledgment of some new authority.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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It is all very well to talk about being the captain of your soul. It is hard, and only a few heroes, saints, and geniuses have been the captains of their souls for any extended period of their lives. Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort which it brings.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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Except in the sacred texts of democracy and in the incantations of orators, we hardly take the trouble to pretend that the rule of the majority is not at bottom a rule of force. What other virtue can there be in fifty-one percent except the brute fact that fifty-one is more than forty-nine? The rule of fifty-one per cent is a convenience, it is for certain matters a satisfactory political device, it is for others the lesser of two evils, and for others it is acceptable because we do not know any less troublesome method of obtaining a political decision. But it may easily become an absurd tyranny if we regard it worshipfully, as though it were more than a political device. We have lost all sense of its true meaning when we imagine that the opinion of fifty-one per cent is in some high fashion the true opinion of the whole hundred per cent, or indulge in the sophistry that the rule of a majority is based upon the ultimate equality of man.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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What the public does is not to express its opinions but to align itself for or against a proposal. If that theory is accepted, we must abandon the notion that democratic government can be the direct expression of the will of the people. We must abandon the notion that the people govern. Instead we must adopt the theory that, by their occasional mobilizations as a majority, people support or oppose the individuals who actually govern. We must say that the popular will does not direct continuously but that it intervenes occasionally.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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It is the very essence of despotism that it can never afford to fail. This is what distinguishes it most vitally from democracy. In a despotism there is no organized opposition which can take over the power when the Administration in office has failed. All the eggs are in one basket. Everything is staked on one coterie of men. When the going is good, they move more quickly and efficiently than democracies, where the opposition has to be persuaded and conciliated. But when they lose, there are no reserves. There are no substitutes on the bench ready to go out on the field and carry the ball. That is why democracies with the habit of party government have outlived all other forms of government in the modern world. They have, as it were, at least two governments always at hand, and when one fails they have the other. They have diversified the risks of mortality, corruption, and stupidity which pervade all human affairs. They have remembered that the most beautifully impressive machine cannot run for very long unless there is available a complete supply of spare parts.

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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

Politics / government Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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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.

Leadership Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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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.

Morality Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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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.

Negativity Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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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.

Perspective Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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When all men think alike, no one thinks very much.

Perspective Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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We shall assume that what each man does is based not on direct and certain knowledge, but by pictures made by himself or given to him. If his atlas tells him the world is flat he will not sail near what he believes to be the edge of our planet for fear of falling off. If his maps include a fountain of eternal youth, a Ponce de Leon will go off in quest of it. If someone digs up yellow dirt that looks like gold, he will for a time act exactly as if he has found gold. The way in which the world is imagined determines at any particular moment what men will do. It does not determine what they will achieve. It determines their effort, their feelings, their hopes, not their accomplishments and results.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Walter Lippmann

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