TIME

Mueller offers a lesson in the power of reason

The special counsel’s 22-month investigation captivated the nation—for good and ill

ALMOST A CENTURY AGO, IN THE AFTERMATH OF the First World War, the journalist Walter Lippmann, then 32 years old, published an influential and disturbing critique of democracy and its future. The mood in the U.S. was anxious—about immigration, about race, about women, about the nation’s role in the world, about civil liberties, about religion, even about science (the Scopes trial was a few years off). The 1920 Census had found that more Americans now lived in cities than on unlike our own.

Into this climate came Lippmann’s book Public Opinion, which argued that the complexity of the changing world made true perception and genuinely popular self-government impossible. Skeptical about the capacity of democracy to arrive at

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