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Walter Lippmann's the long-run champ of Capitol Hill correspondents. The item here- representative selections from a half-century output in books, pamphlets, editorials, columns, articles- shows what impressive, influential judgments he's rendered from the days of Wilson and Harding to those of Eisenhower and Kennedy. Critically committed to liberal democracy, rabid about right and rational behavior, he is, above all, the treasurer of the golden mean: insatiable desire, he says, is the major misery of modern man, whether of the Left or Right. And that, of course, is the running theme; its variations play out, among others, McCarthy, an example of deranged constitutionalism; the dupes of Stalin; the fallacies of Rusk and Dulles; campaign oratory: getting more and more vehement about less and less; progressive economics like Governor Rockefeller's; the pitfalls of public opinion (""for when everyone is supposed to have a judgement about everything nobody in fact is going to know much about anything""); and the rantings of revolutionaries (""I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles""). He seems fonder of Theodore than of Franklin and of Churchill more than either; his true heroes belong to Jefferson's natural aristocracy, like Gandhi they are regenerate men, needing no disciplines from without because they have been transformed from within. If Lippmann is too good to be gritty, he's still that rara avis, a man of conscience and conviction.

Pub Date: July 12th, 1963
Publisher: Random House