The Indispensable Opposition. Walter Lippmann. Appreciation Study

PSRemeshChandra By PSRemeshChandra, 15th May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

A must read for all who love mankind and human speech. An apt admonishment from a long-gone American writer whose great eloquence and excellent arguments in favour of the liberty of speech is once more brought to public attention. His bold opinions are dire predictions which help envision the rise of China as the most oppressive tyrannical rule in the modern world. Going through the article we will wonder whether it is China’s story told 50 years in advance.

Man knows how to speak on one's back, so freedom of speech exists.

Walter Lippmann was a famous American writer whose learned lips here speaks to the common man about the principles of freedom of speech in democracies and its suppression in dictatorships. The need for a good, creative and bold opposition in a civilized society is well established. Since the time of man's formation of his society as clans and tribes, the question of whether all shall have an equal chance for expression of their opinions in the clans or tribes has been a subject for unending debate. Since man knows how to speak on one's back, expression of opinions has been going on uninterrupted through ages irrespective of the system of rule. Though Lippmann’s ideas on the liberty of speech are too lofty to be compramised and his analysis comprehensive, it should be admitted that his language is not as liquid or lucid as the language of C.E.M. Joad, A.G.Gardiner or Robert Lynd.

Stability of civilization depends on the willingness to consider others' opinions.

Stability of a civilization depends much on the willingness of people to consider everyone’s opinions. The French philosopher Voltaire once said: “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Opinions of opponents must be tolerated, because freedom of speech is an essential ingredient to civilization. Liberty of opinion is a luxury upon which is based the very life of civilization. But liberty of opinion is safe only in pleasant times and only with men of tolerance, for these magnanimous personalities are not deeply and vitally concerned about opposing opinions.

NOTE: Due to technical reasons, I am unable to post the full article with pictures here. Sorry. But substitute arrangements have been made for you read it in full with pictures in my blog Sahyadri Books Trivandrum absolutely free, with permission to download or copy. Thanking you, P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

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American Essayists And Journalists, American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Essays, English Literature, Essays, Freedom Of Opinion, Freedom Of Speech, Liberty Of Speech, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Political Philosophy, Politics, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, The Indispensable Opposition, Walter Lippmann

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author in English and Malayalam. Unmarried, single. Mother University educated, father British Council-trained Teacher. Lives in Trivandrum.

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
16th May 2011 (#)

Does anyone remember, in the picture shown above, released in 1945 to trace a fugitive, who is the fugitive mentioned?

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
7th Jun 2011 (#)

It was one of those few pictures created by artists and released by Anti Nasi Forces to trace their fugitive Adolph Hitler.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Jun 2011 (#)

Excellent article. Growing up, Walter Lippmann was a hero of mine.

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
11th Jun 2011 (#)

Yes Dear Kinsman,
It is a fine article of his and his arguments also are still very much relevant. He was a hero of democratic thoughts, liberty and freedom of thought. I was very late to come across this author and you were indeed very lucky to have inspired by him from your very early years. I read your poem On The Mountain Side and ran then and there to my mountain again because I was so fascinated by the mountain top atmosphere you created and reminded in the poem.

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
19th Jul 2018 (#)

I am deleting a few paragraphs from this post. The full post can be read in my blog Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Blogspot.

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