Drift and Mastery: An Attempt to Diagnose the Current Unrest by Walter Lippmann, William E. Leuchtenburg, Ganesh Sitaraman

By Walter Lippmann, William E. Leuchtenburg, Ganesh Sitaraman

In 1914, an excellent younger political journalist released a e-book arguing that the U.S. had entered a interval of “drift”—a loss of keep watch over over quickly altering forces in society. He highlighted the tensions among growth and consolidation, traditionalism and progressivism, and emotion and rationality. He wrote to persuade readers that they can stability those tensions: they can be prepared, effective, and practical with out sacrificing impulse, selection, or liberty. Mastery over glide is possible, Walter Lippmann argued, via diligent awareness to evidence and making energetic offerings. Democracy, Lippman wrote, is “a use of freedom, an include of opportunity.”
            Lippman’s Drift and Mastery became essentially the most very important and influential records of the innovative flow. It is still a precious textual content for figuring out the political considered early twentieth-century the USA and a lucid exploration of undying subject matters in American executive and politics. exceptional historian Walter Leuchtenberg’s 1986 creation and notes are retained during this edition.

            Ganesh Sitaraman, who has supplied a foreword for this centennial variation, means that Lippmann’s vintage nonetheless has a lot to assert to twenty-first-century progressives. The underlying recommendations for our time, he believes, are just like these of Lippman’s period. Sitaraman contends that American society can regain mastery over glide via reforming finance and decreasing inequality, via rethinking the connection among organisations and employees, and by way of embracing adjustments in social life.

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Between the honest adherent of machine politics and the corruptionist himself the muckrakers made no sharp distinction. And that was because they had in a vague way come to expect positive action from men in office. They looked for better school systems, or health campaigns, or a conservation policy, that is for fairly concrete social measures, and officials who weren't for them were lumped together and denounced. The official might have read too much Adam Smith, or been too much of a lawyer, or taken orders from the boss, or a bribe from a lobbyist-the rough result was the same: he wasn't for what public opinion had come to expect, and the muckrakers laid their traps for him.

Remarkable results have already been produced. Every one of us, for example, must wonder at times how the President of the United States ever does all the things the papers say he does. When, for example, does the man sleep? And is he omniscient? The fact is that administration is becoming an applied science, capable of devising executive methods for dealing with tremendous units. No doubt the President with his increasing responsibilities is an overworked man. No doubt there are trusts badly administered.

It issued a report on the bankruptcy of the Frisco railway which contained a condemnation of certain private bankers for offering bonds to the investing public when the bankers should have known that the road was insolvent. The Commission was saying that the investor couldn't know, that he was in the hands of experts, and that the experts have a trust to perform. You couldn't very well go to greater lengths in announcing the impotence of private property. For where in the name of sanity have all the courage, foresight, initiative gone to, what has happened to all the rugged virtues that are supposed to be inherent in the magic of property?

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