The Ideal Of Democracy By Walter Lippmann Essays

The Ideal Of Democracy By Walter Lippmann Essays

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Walter Lippmann explains the ideal of democracy using a few key descriptors. He argues that the root of the mythic notion of democracy is that participatory democracy places too much faith in the hands of the public. Lippmann categorizes the mythic notion of democracy as the individuals who take advantage of the masses and their ignorance. Lippmann challenges this form in Public Opinion because an ineffective and leeching form of government will cripple the world’s economy. Lippmann focuses on the effect that stereotypes have on the public perception of the world, and says this about his stereotype of democracy.
“The stereotype of democracy controlled the visible government; the corrections, the exceptions and adaptations of the American people to the real facts of their environment have had to be invisible, even when everybody knew all about them. It was only the words of the law, the speeches of politicians, the platforms, and the formal machinery of administration that have had to conform to the pristine image of democracy” (Lippmann 185)

Lippmann highlights the lack of transparency with which the government operates. He also explains that the public succumbs to the stereotypes that support the government: news, law enforcement, and politicians. Lippmann then points out that the “visible government” is the aftermath of the assumptions made by the public about democracy. Lippmann argues, “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” (Lippmann 19). This argument makes sense because the interpretation of symbols and fictions, as well as propaganda and stereotyp...

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...e success. The stereotype within this is that society blames “failing schools and the behavior of the poor” instead of the “deepening income inequality and the behavior of the rich” (Reardon 127). This stereotype serves the rich because they get to experience the continuing cycle of success while government programs draw attention to the wrong areas. Lippmann targets this kind of thinking when he says that men need to think in the environment in which they are in, not in their own minds. In the current situation detailed by Reardon, we are looking for solutions in our own minds, which have been tainted by the previously discussed stereotype.

Works Cited

Lippmann, Walter. Public Opinion. New York: Free Paperbacks, 1997. Print.

Reardon, Sean. "No Rich Child Left Behind." Divided. Ed. David Johnston. New York:

New, 2014. Print.

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