Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
A Preface to Politics
By Walter Lippmann
(American writer upon public questions, born 1889)
WE have almost no spiritual weapons against classicalism: universities, churches, newspapers are by-products of a commercial success; we have no tradition of intellectual revolt. The American college student has the gravity and mental habits of a Supreme Court judge; his wild oats are rarely spiritual; the critical, analytical habit of mind is distrusted. We say that knocking is a sign of the sorehead and we sublimate criticism by saying that every knock is a boost. America does not play with ideas; generous speculation is regarded as insincere, and shunned as if it might endanger the optimism which underlies success. All this becomes such an insulation against new ideas that when the Yankee goes abroad he takes his environment with him.