Monday, November 14, 2016

Wisdom from H.L. Mencken

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 β€” 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 plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
βˆ’ Henry Louis Mencken, writing for the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920, in an article entitled "Bayard vs. Lionheart" and reprinted in the book β€˜On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump's ghost writer for his book about deals said that he thought there is nothing inside him.

7:35 am, November 20, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie. Mencken sounds a bit elitist to me... maybe more than a little bit.

10:04 pm, November 22, 2016  
Anonymous Al said...

In the midst of the irrationality of things, the tragicomedy genre thrives. The same could be said of Dante's. that in a linear sense, it was elitist. But at the same time, paradoxically it offset the seemingly insane, the inhumane, the transgression of the sacred line in the human affairs, the absurdities. The mind finds its equilibrium in the sarcasm and the irreverent humor, regardless whether the object is a class of laborers, a gang of corporate manipulators, or a horde of megalomaniacs. Times when people are caught between the carnivalesque and the violence of self-destruction or social revolt, amidst the celebration of the ideologues. Some find refuge among the Menckens in our midst; others in silence, the ultimate playground of all paradoxes.

11:39 am, November 23, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas, Maggie.

7:35 am, December 25, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is still the only the only thing I've read about the subject that even comes close to capturing the grief, the folly, the absurdity of it, as well as the grave responsibility shared by all of us, especially those of us living in the western parts of the world.

6:35 pm, March 06, 2017  

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