Friday, June 8, 2018

Lippmann v. Dewey (1910s & 1920s)

Click here for an article dated October 2, 205, at The Electric Agora, entitled "Lippmann and Dewey: Debating Democracy in the Age of Metropolis."
Walter Lippmann, a journalist and social critic, made a name for himself through a series of works published in the 1910’s and 1920’s, in which he questioned the logic behind democracy and the capacity of the ordinary citizen to fulfill their civic obligations, in the industrial age. Having been disabused of any romantic notions about electoral politics and the machinery of democratic legislation by his teacher, British political scientist Graham Wallas, Lippmann would go on to argue for the idea that men commonly were not rational, and that the modern world was too complex for them to play the role that liberal democracy expected.
Philosopher and educator John Dewey agreed with Lippmann about the fundamental problem of an unenlightened populace to democracy, but where Lippmann advocated appointing advisory boards of experts to advise government, Dewey advocated political education of the masses. Lippmann saw the problem and sought a way around it; Dewey saw the same problem and sought to correct it. This article is relevant today, when a know-nothing demagogue has manipulated an ignorant, gullible populace into supporting changes detrimental to the well-being of American citizenry.


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