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by Walter Lippmann

  • ISBN: 1599866846
  • Category: Politics
  • Author: Walter Lippmann
  • Subcategory: Politics & Government
  • Other formats: azw docx mobi mbr
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: FQ Classics (October 1, 2007)
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • FB2 size: 1822 kb
  • EPUB size: 1497 kb
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 146
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Public Opinion is a book by Walter Lippmann, published in 1922

Public Opinion is a book by Walter Lippmann, published in 1922. It is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially of the irrational and often self-serving social perceptions that influence individual behavior and prevent optimal societal cohesion.

LibriVox recording of Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann. Read in English by progressingamerica. Public Opinion (1922), by Walter Lippman, is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially the irrational, and often self-serving, social perceptions that influence individual behavior, and prevent optimal societal cohesion. Introduction by author).

FREE shipping on qualifying offers. Public Opinion by Walter Lippman, is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially the irrational.

In what is widely considered the most influential book ever written.

Wading River, Long Island. Men were writing books describing that world. They trusted the picture in their heads. Behold! human beings living in a sort of underground den, which has a mouth open. And then over four years later, on a Thursday morning, came the news of an armistice, and people gave vent to their unutterable relief that the slaughter was over. Yet in the five days before the real armistice came, though the end of the war had been celebrated, several thousand young men died on the battlefields. Looking back we can see how indirectly we know the environment in which nevertheless we live.

Public opinion is irrelevant to the policy-making process. Books by Walter Lippmann at HathiTrust. Works by Walter Lippmann at JSTOR. Political leaders ignore public opinion because most Americans can neither "understand nor influence the very events upon which their lives and happiness are known to depend. Further information: Neoliberalism. Works by Walter Lippmann at Project Gutenberg.

Public Opinion" is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially the irrational, and often .

Public Opinion" is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially the irrational, and often self-serving, social perceptions that influence individual behavior, and prevent optimal societal cohesion. The descriptions of the cognitive limitations people face in comprehending their socio-political and cultural environments, proposes that people must inevitably apply an evolving catalogue of general stereotypes to a complex reality, rendered "Public Opinion" a seminal text in the fields of media studies, political science, and social psychology.

Walter Lippmann is ranked among the most influential public figures of his era, and his reputation endures as one of history's greatest journalists. In Public Opinion, Lippmann examines democratic theory, citizenship in a democratic society, and the role of the media in forming public perceptions, expectations, and actions. Where mass opinion dominates the government," the author observes, "there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern.

Progressive journalist Walter Lippman’s 1922 book Public Opinion still offers a relevant critique of the concept of public .

Progressive journalist Walter Lippman’s 1922 book Public Opinion still offers a relevant critique of the concept of public opinion and journalists’ power to shape it. First in a two-part series. The great journalist and public philosopher Walter Lippmann, in his 1922 book Public Opinion, helps us understand the deeper problem underlying the crisis of journalism: democratic citizens cannot form a truly public opinion. At the level of the nation, public opinion is either manufactured or a phantom-in either case it is not the product of a knowledgeable citizenry engaged in an expansive act of deliberation.

An instrumental work on todays outlook on the dominance of media in democracy, Public Opinion, is a key work by author Walter Lippmann. Does the manufacturing of consent amount to a democracy in the way democracy is practiced? Does the mass media have a control over the public opinion? These are questions that are more important today with the emergence of new technologies like the internet, and older technologies, like television, which are being politically dominated by an opportunistic media. Public Opinion is a highly recommended work for those who are interested in understanding the role of media and public opinion in politics and also those who enjoy the writings of Walter Lippmann.
Reviews about Public Opinion (7):
Written in 1921 following the disillusionment of WW1, this work explains how popular 'democratic' nations function. That is - not how they are supposed to function - according to ideal wish, but how it did function in the war. Lippmann was there and changed the national will. How? Why?

''For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see. In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.'' (855)

This is a key theme. What is seen must be given. Facts are never found, they are arranged. Presents Aristotle's defense of slavery as example-

''Aristotle, therefore, excluded entirely that destructive doubt. Those who are slaves are intended to be slaves. Each slave holder was to look upon his chattels as natural slaves. When his eye had been trained to see them that way, he was to note as confirmation of their servile character the fact that they performed servile work, that they were competent to do servile work, and that they had the muscles to do servile work.''

The slave owner saw the ''fact'' of the person as a ''natural'' slave. His perception does not allow any other ''fact'' into his mind.

''This is the perfect stereotype. Its hallmark is that it precedes the use of reason; is a form of perception, imposes a certain character on the data of our senses before the data reach the intelligence.'' (1004)

Lippmann provides an ''stereotype'' (worship of progress) that drives American society . . .

''"It is not easy," he writes, "for a new idea of the speculative order to penetrate and inform the general consciousness of a community until it has assumed some external and concrete embodiment, or is recommended by some striking material evidence. In the case of Progress both these conditions were fulfilled (in England) in the period 1820-1850."

''The most striking evidence was furnished by the mechanical revolution. "Men who were born at the beginning of the century had seen, before they had passed the age of thirty, the rapid development of steam navigation, the illumination of towns and houses by gas, the opening of the first railway." In the consciousness of the average householder miracles like these formed the pattern of his belief in the perfectibility of the human race.''

These 'miracles' were proof that the 'god of progress' is alive and protecting his worshippers. What else did this 'religion' teach? -

''This pattern, taken up by others, reinforced by dazzling inventions, imposed an optimistic turn upon the theory of evolution. That theory, of course, is, as Professor Bury says, neutral between pessimism and optimism. But it promised continual change, and the changes visible in the world marked such extraordinary conquests of nature, that the popular mind made a blend of the two. Evolution first in Darwin himself, and then more elaborately in Herbert Spencer, was a "progress towards perfection."

''The stereotype represented by such words as "progress" and "perfection" was composed fundamentally of mechanical inventions. And mechanical it has remained, on the whole, to this day.''

Mechanical progress does not produce mental, emotional, spiritual, political or any other type of progress. Human life is not 'mechanical'. The stereotype is delusional.

Chapter I: The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads

Chapter II: Censorship and Privacy
Chapter III: Contact and Opportunity
Chapter IV: Time and Attention
Chapter V: Speed, Words, and Clearness

Chapter VI: Stereotypes
Chapter VII: Stereotypes as Defense
Chapter VIII: Blind Spots and Their Value
Chapter IX: Codes and Their Enemies
Chapter X: The Detection of Stereotypes

Chapter XI: The Enlisting of Interest
Chapter XII: Self-Interest Reconsidered

Chapter XIII: The Transfer of Interest
Chapter XIV: Yes or No
Chapter XV: Leaders and the Rank and File

Chapter XVI: The Self-Centered Man
Chapter XVII: The Self-Contained Community
Chapter XVIII: The Role of Force, Patronage and Privilege
Chapter XIX: The Old Image in a New Form: Guild Socialism
Chapter XX: A New Image

Chapter XXI: The Buying Public
Chapter XXII: The Constant Reader
Chapter XXIII: The Nature of News
Chapter XXIV: News, Truth, and a Conclusion

Chapter XXV: The Entering Wedge
Chapter XXVI: Intelligence Work
Chapter XXVII: The Appeal to the Public
Chapter XXVIII: The Appeal to Reason

From the Introduction -

''And so in the chapters which follow we shall inquire first into some of the reasons why the picture inside so often misleads men in their dealings with the world outside. Under this heading we shall consider first the chief factors which limit their access to the facts.''

Public opinion of the world is wrong, distorted. Why?

''They are the artificial censorships, the limitations of social contact, the comparatively meager time available in each day for paying attention to public affairs, the distortion arising because events have to be compressed into very short messages, the difficulty of making a small vocabulary express a complicated world, and finally the fear of facing those facts which would seem to threaten the established routine of men's lives.''

''From this it proceeds to examine how in the individual person the limited messages from outside, formed into a pattern of stereotypes, are identified with his own interests as he feels and conceives them.''

''In the succeeding sections it examines how opinions are crystallized into what is called Public Opinion, how a National Will, a Group Mind, a Social Purpose, or whatever you choose to call it, is formed.''

''There follows an analysis of the traditional democratic theory of public opinion. The substance of the argument is that democracy in its original form never seriously faced the problem which arises because the pictures inside people's heads do not automatically correspond with the world outside.''

''My conclusion is that they ignore the difficulties, as completely as did the original democrats, because they, too, assume, and in a much more complicated civilization, that somehow mysteriously there exists in the hearts of men a knowledge of the world beyond their reach.''

''I argue that representative government, either in what is ordinarily called politics, or in industry, cannot be worked successfully, no matter what the basis of election, unless there is an independent, expert organization for making the unseen facts intelligible to those who have to make the decisions.''

This 'independent, expert organization' was created by Wilson to get populace to support the war. It worked. Lippmann was part of this. This work is the result.

Lippmann concludes with this somber judgement -

''Until reason is subtle and particular, the immediate struggle of politics will continue to require an amount of native wit, force, and unprovable faith, that reason can neither provide nor control, because the facts of life are too undifferentiated for its powers of understanding.''

This is a sad loss of faith in 'reason' as cure. The enlightenment has failed with WW1. Lippmann does not imagine the horror to soon follow.

''And yet, even when there is this will to let the future count, we find again and again that we do not know for certain how to act according to the dictates of reason. The number of human problems on which reason is prepared to dictate is small.''

Lippmann now looks to something else beyond 'reason'. What? He doesn't know.

Pascal wrote (four hundred years ago) in the dawn of the worship of 'reason' -

''The last proceeding of reason is to recognize that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it. It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this. But if natural things are beyond it, what will be said of supernatural?''
Buy ANY OTHER printing of this book. "Public Opinion" is an expired copywrite / public domain text, so someone published this through a self-publish service called "Createspace" (by Amazon). SHAME on amazon for producing such terrible quality. Cover is cheap, low resolution, text is mismatched fonts, the contents page just lists "Chapter I, II, etc." without chapter titles. The original text is great but this edition is crap. Sending it back. Buy a better edition or read this book online through Project Gutenberg.
It's 100 pages too long. I read more than half of it slowly, steadily, and absorbed some interesting insights from the mind of Mr. Lippmann. After about page 220 (out of 317) however, he begins droning on about... I really can't tell you because it seems to have nothing to do with the topic/title of the book. The first 2/3's of the book is accurate, meaning it speaks on Public Opinion: Lippmann talks about how difficult it is to form a central government that has a realistic view of all of it's cities, provinces, etc.. He also speaks on how many filters there are between the "informed citizen" and the actual event taking place, let's say, across the world. He references many books that carry interesting titles, but the author loses focus 2/3's of the way and it caused me to lose focus as well. I was urging myself to continue. One more page, one more page, one more page. Though I didn't complete the book, I am finished reading it. If you're curious, give it a go. But basic curiosity will not hold you up through the dense, wild, intellectual forest that this book turns into towards the end. If you are a political scientist, a sociologist, or something of the like, you may make it through. thank you
The philosopher John Dewey once referred to this book as "perhaps the most effective indictment of democracy as currently conceived ever penned." Like Dewey, I believe that imperfect democracy is preferable to rule by a technocratic elite. Nevertheless, Lippmann makes a powerful case for his position. This book does what works of political philosophy are supposed to do: it challenges and upsets the reader while refusing to offer any easy answers.
We find some interesting discussion on the social state of the early 20th Century, but biased by his secular and humanistic view, the author describes his completely distorted view of mankind. He spouses education as the solution for the human plight, basically what was defended by his contemporary John Dewey. Arrogant view of the activity of the news media personnel, pretty much of what we encounter today.

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