Thursday, April 21, 2011

H. L. Mencken Quotes

So I guess today is Mencken day because while looking up the last quote to see if it was real I came across others which seemed relevant to our political atmosphere.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
It seems since the advent of talk radio and the internet, they can no longer control the message to the extent they need to - witness the global warming crash and burn - and have pushed the red button, so to speak, on the economy in order to create a crisis which is in no way imaginary.
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.

Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.

All government, of course, is against liberty.

--H. L. Mencken
The following quote seems to have become popular while George Bush was in office. Hard as it may be to believe, it is even more relevant now. One only hopes we can start an uphill trend.
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

--H. L. Mencken

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