"The public must be put in its place,
so that it may exercise its own powers,
but no less and perhaps even more,
so that each of us may live free
of the trampling and the roar
of a bewildered herd."
Walter Lippmann
(1889-1974) American writer, journalist, and political commentator
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Reader comments about this quote:
It's not clear who Lippmann was referring to as "a bewildered herd." or even who he's referring to as "the public" or even who is "us." Clearly, he, naturally, included himself in the ruling class. Chomsky takes "a bewildered herd" as a reference to America's lower classes.How can we truly be free when we are so divided by class with one class ruling of the rest?
 -- WASanford, Pleasant Hill, CA     
    "The public must be put in its place" NOT ! ! ! The individual sovereign(s) must put his / her servants in their place.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The quote is confusing....
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
    I'd like to see the quote in context -- the public must be put in its place, but who is responsible for that? I think you can read this different ways. Mike, when the individual sovereigns give up their responsibilities to 'authorities', which is primarily the case today, they are easily oppressed. "The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers" -- yes, I agree with that, in that "its place" is as the noble sovereign citizen. But who will get the public to assume its sovereign responsibilities? I suppose it must be from among us, within us. What is most unclear about the quote is what the "public's place" is.

    The second part of the quote speaks to that 'place' as being one that is separate from the herd mentality which so often crushes the individuality of a person.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    To thy on self be true ? One must be taught to be self sufficient. To have a wife one must build a home. Then guard it !! Please !! The bewildered herd are those wanting someone to lead them. We as sovereign individuals lead our lives as we are taught. Have you been into the bush very much, you will meet your resolve ! Live or die ? Men cry at night for the calamity of the oppressed. Knowing there is a better way. Peace and pursue it !!
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    It remains confusing as it was when it first appeared...
     -- Robert Edwards, Somewhere in the USA     
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