Where’s Walter Lippmann when we need him?

Columnist and author Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was considered the most influential journalist of the 20th century.

Who is the Walter Lippmann of our day?  Richard Rahn, who writes for the Washington Times, comes the closest.  He focuses on ideas and problems, and avoids the politically divisive “left-right” labels.  I highly recommend his columns:  https://www.washingtontimes.com/staff/richard-w-rahn/

Lately I’ve been reading “The Good Society,” by Walter Lippmann (his best book), and see that he was highly influenced by Mises and Hayek, so that he rejected socialist central planning….although he supported Keynesian monetary and fiscal policy.

Walter Lippmann

Here is a short summary of his approach:

“Lippmann’s style was distinctive and very effective with his audience.  He did not patronize and was resolutely nonpartisan.  He supported candidates for public office whose positions pleased him regardless of party affiliation.  He could and often did change his mind about people and politics.  He read widely and made every effort not to be identified with any group or ideology.  For example, although he drew from both traditions he was careful not to present himself either as a Keynesian or an Austrian.  He was often impatient and he tended to become disillusioned quickly with politicians after they had been elected, especially presidents of the United States.

“Often he experienced and reflected upon a problem well in advance of bringing it to his readers.  He preferred to make use of theory only after he had gathered a lot of empirical evidence….His style was to lay out his arguments simply and without jargon.

“It is impossible to gauge precisely Lippmann’s influence upon his readers, but it must have been substantial.  Indeed, it seems he could help to make or break a political career, and he could speed or retard the passage of a bill through Congress.”  — Craufurd D. Goodwin, “Walter Lippmann: Public Economist” (Harvard University Press, 2014), pp. 2-3.

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