with qualities deserving the most sincere esteem and praise, but he has not distinction.
In truth, everything is against distinction in America
, and against the sense of elevation to be gained through admiring and respecting it. The glorification of “the average man,” who is quite a religion with statesmen and publicists there, is against it. The addiction to “the funny man,” who is a national misfortune there, is against it. Above all, the newspapers are against it.
It is often said that every nation has the government it deserves.
What is much more certain is that every nation has the newspapers it deserves.
The newspaper is the direct product of the want felt; the supply answers closely and inevitably to the demand.
I suppose no one knows what the American
newspapers are, who has not been obliged, for some length of time, to read either those newspapers or none at all. Powerful and valuable contributions occur scattered about in them.
But on the whole, and taking the total impression and effect made by them, I should say that if one were searching for the best means to efface and kill in a whole nation the discipline of respect, the feeling for what is elevated, one could not do better than take the American