“And since my moral system rests on my accepted version of the facts, he who denies either my moral judgments or my version of the facts, is to me perverse, alien, dangerous. How shall I account for him? The opponent always has to be explained, and the last explanation that we ever look for is that he sees a different set of facts. Such an explanation we avoid, because it saps the very foundation of our own assurance that we have seen life steadily and seen it whole. It is only when we are in the habit of recognizing our opinions as a partial experience seen through our stereotypes that we become truly tolerant of an opponent. Without that habit, we believe in the absolutism of our own vision, and consequently in the treacherous character of all opposition. For while men are willing to admit there are two sides to a “question,” they do not believe there are two sides to what they regard as a ‘fact.'” (Lippmann, 69)

Lippmann, Walter. Public Opinion. Dover Publications, 2004. (Original: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.)

*Lippmann’s quote is non-exclusive; i.e. we’re the other-guy as much as the other-guy is the other guy.  But, here’s the kicker, we need other-guys.  And so,

** I recommend ten minutes of your time to read Lippmann’s essay entitled “The Indispensable Opposition.” The Atlantic, 1939. Link here.

***I also suggest my post Hobbes’ Humility Check

****And Resistance is….

 

3 thoughts on “A Walter Lippmann (1922) quote worth contemplating. Timely. Series 3.1.

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