Max Lerner


Max Lerner Quotes

  • ''I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. Entry in Who's Who in America (1992).
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  • ''The real sadness of fifty is not that you change so much but that you change so little.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 1 (1959). "Fifty," New York Post (December 18, 1952).
  • ''The tourist who moves about to see and hear and open himself to all the influences of the places which condense centuries of human greatness is only a man in search of excellence.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 1 (1959). "Lo, the Poor Sightseer," New York Post (Sept. 15, 1954).
  • ''There is a hate layer of opinion and emotion in America. There will be other McCarthys to come who will be hailed as its heroes.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 4 (1959). "McCarthyism: The Smell of Decay," New York Post (April 5, 1950). The word "McCarthyism" was first coined in this article, as Lerner affirmed in a later column, Feb. 3, 1954: "For my own part I doubt seriously whether the word will outlast the political power of the man from whom it derives."
  • ''Having a thirteen-year-old in the family is like having a general-admission ticket to the movies, radio and TV. You get to understand that the glittering new arts of our civilization are directed to the teen-agers, and by their suffrage they stand or fall.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 1 (1959). "Teen-ager," New York Post (June 4, 1952).
  • ''A President is best judged by the enemies he makes when he has really hit his stride.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. First published in New York Star (January 9, 1949). "The Education of Harry Truman," pt. 4, The Unfinished Country (1959).
  • ''Next to the striking of fire and the discovery of the wheel, the greatest triumph of what we call civilization was the domestication of the human male.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. First published in New York Post (June 16, 1958). "The Revolt of the American Father," pt. 2, The Unfinished Country (1959).
  • ''There are some who become spies for money, or out of vanity and megalomania, or out of ambition, or out of a desire for thrills. But the malady of our time is of those who become spies out of idealism.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. In The Unfinished Country (1959). "The Tragedy of the Rosenbergs," pt. 4, New York Post (April 9, 1952). Of the atomic secrets spy, Julius Rosenberg.
  • ''The crime of book purging is that it involves a rejection of the word. For the word is never absolute truth, but only man's frail and human effort to approach the truth. To reject the word is to reject the human search.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 4 (1959). "The Vigilantes and the Chain of Fear," New York Post (June 24, 1953). Said of the McCarthy book burnings.
  • ''In our rich consumers' civilization we spin cocoons around ourselves and get possessed by our possessions.''
    Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 1 (1959). "What Shall I Save?" New York Post (Sept. 10, 1952).

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