Max Lerner

American journalist and educator (1902–1992)

Maxwell "Max" Alan Lerner (December 20, 1902 – June 5, 1992) was an American journalist and educator known for his controversial syndicated column.

Civil Liberties in War Times by Max Lerner 1940


  • Marilyn Ferguson is the best reporter today on the farther reaches of investigation into the life and human sciences. She represents a new kind of investigative journalist—not a sleuth after the corruptions of a politician but one tracking the spoor of a new research idea in all its windings; following it to its sources and its affinities in allied fields, its conclusions, its implications for the whole spectrum of human thought and consciousness... Nietzsche talked of philosophy as the gay science, the joyful science, and to Marilyn Ferguson the area of knowledge she has staked out for her reporting and synthesizing is a joyful science.
  • I have for some time been impatient with the prevailing sense of pessimism and despair, especially among the intellectual and professional groups of the "New Class." I am not blind to the tragic and absurd, which seem to have been built into our time and perhaps into the human constitution. But I also feel that the sense of hope and possibility is also built in over the millennia of human coping. It is no small part of the new transformative insights that they have released this sense of hope and possibility.
    • Forward to The Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson (1980)

Quotes About Max Lerner

  • To see ourselves as we aren't, but as he would like us to be, read Actions and Passions, by Max Lerner (Simon & Schuster, $3.50). He calls these chapters "Notes on the Multiple Revolution of our Time," which of course they are, since they concern today's upside-down world.
  • Brilliant as he is, Lerner suffers from anguish over the capitalists. He is not pro-Communist... The exigencies of writing each day for a daily might be the cause of his continual harping on the wrongs done minorities, which makes far more noise rather than a sound appeal for their rights. Another safe target are corporations and their selfish attacks on labor unions, and even government regulations against strikes.... His dispatches on the 1948 Philadelphia conventions, both Republican and Democratic, analyze well public sentiment over the two parties and their candidates, even if Lerner guessed wrong about the outcome. His appraisals of the personalities of Wallace, Truman, and others sound solid and reasonable, and much of his thinking on domestic political questions is keen and supportable. All in all, one can disagree with what Lerner writes but still admit that the way he writes is stimulating, pro and con.
  • Max Lerner, an educator, journalist and student of American civilization who was for many years a syndicated columnist for The New York Post, died yesterday... He was 89 ... Mr. Lerner was one of the more conspicuous of the post-World War II nonfiction writers, a humanist whose unabashed liberal conscience led him to the political barricades for more than three decades. Many of his concerns now seem prescient. In 1959, for example, in a speech at Douglass College in New Brunswick, N.J., Mr. Lerner called for the formation of an antiwar elite, making it clear that he was worried about what he saw as growing mediocrity among American students.
  • With all the turmoil of the mid- and late 20th century, Mr. Lerner insisted that he preferred the present "awful but magnificent" era to any other in history. But in a book he wrote in 1957, America as a Civilization: Life and Thought in the United States Today, he talked of his age as a time in which there was a "fear of ideas and the tenacious cult of property." His espousal of ideas regarded as liberal in the 1950's did not sit well with everyone... Between 1932 and 1935, Mr. Lerner served on the faculty of both Sarah Lawrence College and the Wellesley Summer Institute. After a brief stint teaching at Harvard, he edited The Nation magazine for a time and then taught political science at Williams College from 1938 to 1943. Before joining The Post in 1949, he also wrote columns for The New York Star... He continued writing for The Post until two weeks ago.
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