Public Opinion

Public Opinion

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Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann

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Public Opinion

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Book Excerpt

or Roosevelt, everything evil originated in the Kaiser Wilhelm, Lenin and Trotsky. They were as omnipotent for evil as the heroes were omnipotent for good. To many simple and frightened minds there was no political reverse, no strike, no obstruction, no mysterious death or mysterious conflagration anywhere in the world of which the causes did not wind back to these personal sources of evil.

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Worldwide concentration of this kind on a symbolic personality is rare enough to be clearly remarkable, and every author has a weakness for the striking and irrefutable example. The vivisection of war reveals such examples, but it does not make them out of nothing. In a more normal public life, symbolic pictures are no less governant of behavior, but each symbol is far less inclusive because there are so many competing ones. Not only is each symbol charged with less feeling because at most it represents only a part of the population, but even within that part there is infinitely less suppression of individual diff

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Very good text explaining why voters can't get enough information to make an intelligent decision, and can't properly use the information they do get. Why democracy will never work, and why even a republic of elected officials is hamstrung. Quite pessimistic.
Lippmann offers a solution something like a technocracy, but there is no real evidence what he proposes will be any different.