The Best Walter Lippmann quotes

Walter Lippmann quotes thumbnail

Walter Lippmann was one of the most influential journalists and public intellectuals of the twentieth century. A prolific writer, his work shaped the thinking of generations of policymakers and thought leaders. In this post, we’ll explore his life and work, and consider his legacy.

We are glad to present you the most inspiring Truth, Opinion, Social, Human Beings, Society, Life, World quotes from Walter Lippmann, and much more.


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About Walter Lippmann

birth of the author

September 23, 1889

death of the author

December 14, 1974

occupation of the author

Writer, Journalist, Political Commentator

education of the author

Harvard University

award of the author

Notable Works:
Founding Editor Of New Republic, Public Opinion

award of the author

Notable Awards:
Pulitzer Prize, 1958, 1962 Presidential Medal Of Freedom

date of the author

Years Active:
1911 – 1971


The news and the truth are not the same thing. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil. โ€” Walter Lippmann

the news and the truth are not the same thing Walter Lippmann quote

What a myth never contains is the critical power to separate its truth from its errors. โ€” Walter Lippmann


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The study of error is not only in the highest degree prophylactic, but it serves as a stimulating introduction to the study of truth. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The function of news is to signalize an event, the function of truth is to bring to light the hidden facts, to set them in relation with each other, and make a picture of reality on which men can act. โ€” Walter Lippmann

We say that the truth will make us free. Yes, but that truth is a thousand truths which grow and change. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The selfโ€“evident truth which makes men invincible is that inalienably they are inviolable persons. โ€” Walter Lippmann

there can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil Walter Lippmann quote

The facts we see depend on where we are placed and the habits of our eyes. โ€” Walter Lippmann


There are at least two distinct selves, the public and regal self, the private and human. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The deepest of all the stereotypes is the human stereotype which imputes human nature to inanimate or collective things. โ€” Walter Lippmann

All achievement should be measured in human happiness. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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

all achievement should be measured in human happiness Walter Lippmann quote

There is an ascendant feeling among the people that all achievement should be measured in human happiness. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Modern men are afraid of the past. It is a record of human achievement, but its other face is human defeat. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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

You don’t have to preach honesty to men with creative purpose. Let a human being throw the engines of his soul into the making of something, and the instinct of workmanship will take care of his honesty. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

This is one of the paradoxes of the democratic movementโ€“that it loves a crowd and fears the individuals who compose itโ€“that the religion of humanity should have no faith in human beings. โ€” Walter Lippmann


Democracy is much too important to be left to public opinion. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Thus the essence of freedom of opinion is not in mere toleration as such, but in the debate which toleration provides: it is not in the venting of opinion, but in the confrontation of opinion. โ€” Walter Lippmann

democracy is much too important to be left to public opinion Walter Lippmann quote

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

The world is vast, the situations that concern us are intricate, the messages are few, the biggest part of opinion must be constructed in the imagination. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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? โ€” Walter Lippmann

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


People that are orthodox when they are young are in danger of being middleโ€“aged all their lives. โ€” Walter Lippmann

life can be swamped by sex very easily if sex is not normally satisfied Walter Lippmann quote

A man cannot sleep in his cradle: whatever is useful must in the nature of life become useless. โ€” Walter Lippmann

To create a minimum standard of life below which no human being can fall is the most elementary duty of the democratic state. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Life can be swamped by sex very easily if sex is not normally satisfied. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

A more conscious life is one in which a man is conscious not only of what he sees, but of the prejudices with which he sees it. โ€” Walter Lippmann

art enlarges experience by admitting us to the inner life of others Walter Lippmann quote

Art enlarges experience by admitting us to the inner life of others. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Redundant Thematics

In Walter Lippmann Statements


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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Men who are orthodox when they are young are in danger of being middleโ€“aged all their lives. โ€” Walter Lippmann

A long life in journalism convinced me many presidents ago that there should be a large air space between a journalist and the head of a state. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Life is an irreversible process and for that reason its future can never be a repetition of the past. โ€” Walter Lippmann

It is in time of peace that the value of life is fixed. The test of war reveals it. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The sovereign people determines life and death and happiness under conditions where experience and experiment alike show thought to be most difficult. ‘the intolerable burden of thought. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The wiser a man is, it seems to me, the more vividly he can see the future as part of the evolving present. He doesn’t break the flow of life, he directs it, hastens it, but preserves its continuity. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The unexamined life, said Socrates, is unfit to be lived by man. This is the virtue of liberty, and the ground on which we may justify our belief in it, that it tolerates error in order to serve truth. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The world is a better place to live in because it contains human beings who will give up ease and security and stake their own lives in order to do what they themselves think worth doing. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann


The people who really matter in social affairs are neither those who wish to stop short like a mule, or leap from crag to crag like a mountain goat. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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

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

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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


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

We are all captives of the picture in our headโ€“our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Whatever truth you contribute to the world will be one lucky shot in a thousand misses. You cannot be right by holding your breath and taking precautions. โ€” Walter Lippmann

The prophecy of a world moving toward political unity is the light which guides all that is best, most vigorous, most truly alive in the work of our time. โ€” Walter Lippmann


There is only one purpose to which a whole society can be directed by a deliberate plan. That purpose is war, and there is no other. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

Men can know more than their ancestors did if they start with a knowledge of what their ancestors had already learned….That is why a society can be progressive only if it conserves its traditions. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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. โ€” Walter Lippmann

In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs. โ€” Walter Lippmann

A large plural society cannot be governed without recognizing that, transcending its plural interests, there is a rational order with a superior common law. โ€” Walter Lippmann

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