Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Walter Lippmann on the New Republic: "We have no ... propaganda to grind."

This entry -- a footnote to an article on Creel and Lippmann during World War I -- is a work in progress; updated 5/22/2016; suggestions welcome -- please email john.h30@gmail.com

Walter Lippmann on the New Republic: We have no ... propaganda
to grind

From Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (1980): 62-63:
[Joining The New Republic,] Lippmann could not have been more pleased with the magazine and his new colleagues. He had a prestigious job with a good salary, could write what mattered to him and work closely with influential men. "We're starting a weekly here next fall," he wrote Van Wyck Brooks early in the winter of 1914, "a weekly of ideas -- with a paid up capital -- God save us -- of 200,000 ["For forty years years the Straight family subsidized the NR at an average cost of some $100,000 a year -- Steele, 62]. The age of miracles, sir, has just begun," ... [e]xplaining [to Brooks] that the [magazine's] substance would be "American, but [JB -- but?] sophisticated and critical [.]" ... The magazine's objective was to "infuse American emotions with American thought" -- to be, in another words, a vehicle of cultural nationalism. "We have no party axe or propaganda to grind," he underlined. "We shall be socialistic in direction, but not in method or phrase or allegiance. If there is any word to cover our ideal, I suppose it is humanistic, somewhat sharply distinguished ... from humanitarianism." ...

Lippmann image from
[By joining The New Republic] Lippmann was meeting different people from those he had known as a muckraker and socialist. Some were rich,  many were eminent -- very few were radicals. They were progressives in a patrician way, with a sense, like Theodore Roosevelt's, of noblesse oblige . ...
Lippmann cultivated these people for what the could teach him and their ability to advance his career. Influence, he now believed, rested not on trying to convert the masses, but on reaching the people whose opinions mattered. The radicals, he felt, lived in a small world of plots, promises, and hyperbole. He would be out of the constricting circle of the Masses and the Call, away from the true believers and professional agitators.
Later the great would seek him out. At twenty-four he sought them out. 

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