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Free Minds & Free Markets

'My Plan Is to Let People Do Whatever They Please'

The daily newspaper columns of H.L. Mencken

A Saturnalia of Bunk: Selections from the Free Lance, 1911–1915, by H.L. Mencken, edited by S.T. Joshi, Ohio University Press, 259 pages, $49.95

Ohio University PressOhio University PressOh, that H.L. Mencken were alive today!

You don't hear that wistful resurrectionary sentiment voiced much anymore. A modern newspaper columnist writing in Mencken's gleeful style, with its joyful savagery, its jocose sesquipedalianism, its sheer delight in the American language, would be met with astonished horror on the order of Henry James watching a Sam Kinison video or Robby Mook meeting a man who owns a pickup truck. (I should warn you that one cannot write about Mencken without aping him, however clumsily.)

The longtime Baltimore Evening Sun columnist, American Mercury editor, and rumbustiously splenetic critic, who graced this orb from 1880 to 1956, would not be published in any major newspaper today. The reasons he foresaw over a century ago, when he decried the "cheap bullying and cheaper moralizing" whose purpose was the extirpation, the annihilation, of anything resembling a robust exchange of ideas. Two beliefs puffed up the righteous censor, according to Mencken: first, "that any man who dissents from the prevailing platitudes is a hireling of the devil," and second, "that he should be silenced and destroyed forthwith. Down with free speech; up with the uplift!"

Plus ça change and all that.

S.T. Joshi, who has chosen his primary scholarly interests—Mencken, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ambrose Bierce—with a fine eye for readability over reputation, has assembled a selection of Mencken's Evening Sun "Free Lance" columns of 1911–1915 into a book called A Saturnalia of Bunk and contributed an informative introduction to it.

Henry Louis Mencken churned out six of these 1,200-word meringues every week, a vertiginous pace that makes Joyce Carol Oates look like Harper Lee.

Logorrheic bloggers aside, does anyone really have that much to say about the controversies of the day? Mencken once nicked Bierce for reprinting his early work, which was "filled with epigrams against frauds long dead and forgotten, and echoes of old and puerile newspaper controversies." Is A Saturnalia of Bunk similarly irrelevant?

Happily, no. Although Mencken's fusillades against, say, blue laws have grown fusty, his rousing conclusions—"the militant moralist tries to steal liberty and self-respect, and the man who has lost both is a man who has lost everything that separates a civilized freeman from a convict in a chain-gang"—have lost none of their punch.

These columns, composed while their author was on the shy side of middle age, afford, says Joshi, "a nearly complete view of Mencken's political, religious, social, and cultural philosophy as it had evolved up to this point"—and this philosophy would largely remain constant for the rest of his rooted life. (Mencken, a dyed-in-the-wool third-generation Baltimorean, a sardonic citizen of his place, made his home in the house in which he grew up.)

Mencken is in these columns and was until his death a libertarian, with the usual idiosyncratic departures from dogma of any red-blooded man. He puts it plainly: "My plan is to let people do whatever they please, so long as they do not invade the right and freedom of other persons to do the same."

He is, within the boundaries of his time and place, a free speech absolutist. Prohibitionists of all stripes—"snouters" and "absurd fanatics" who would ban alcohol, tobacco, prostitution, vivisection, and Sunday baseball—are pilloried with an outrage that is always anchored in an amused appreciation of the human condition, and never in hatred. No one defends fallen women, the "ladies of vermilion," with quite as much verve as Henry Mencken.

He is contemptuous of democracy, viewing it, Scrooge-like, as a poor excuse to pick another man's pocket. The common people, he says, "are always in favor of the man who promises to get something for them without cost to them—i.e., to steal something for them." To Mencken, democracy is the legitimization of envy, "an attempt to wreak punishment on successful men for the crime of being successful," and politicians are mendacious almost without exception. Yet in later years he covered political conventions with mischievous exuberance. He loved the spectacle, and conceded the American system "provides the only really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind."

On occasion he refers to racial, religious, and ethnic groups in what are meant to be humorous terms. But no editor of the 1920s was more encouraging to talented African-American writers than Mencken was; the last column he ever published, in November 1948, was a rousing denunciation of segregated tennis courts in Baltimore.

His columns as the Great War is breaking out in Europe are baldly pro-German, though he denies that this sympathy is an outgrowth of his own heritage. The kaiser's "German war machine" is a "means of defense only" against perfidious Albion. Biting the hand that fed him, Mencken dissented from the Evening Sun's pro-British line, and vigorously so, contrasting the "Germans with their homeric strength" with "the English with their white livers and their womanish screams for help," though he insists that "I regard the net English contribution to civilization as enormously greater than the German contribution."

His war writing is faintly ridiculous, bordering on parody, as Mencken stands in the long line of pontificators propagandizing for their co-ethnics in far-off conflicts that are none of America's business. At least he refrains from calling for U.S. intervention on the side of the kaiser.

Like ice cream or penicillin, Mencken is best taken in dollops and doses. Two hundred–plus pages of verbal assaults on flapdoodle, balderdash, mountebanks, yeggmen, hokum, and anthropoid paralogists can be wearying. His blithe certitude that "the more fit shall conquer and obliterate the less fit" is less than endearing. He writes, tongue quite out of cheek, that "war is a good thing because it is honest" and that a vigorous engagement therewith is restorative, since "a nation too long at peace becomes a sort of gigantic old maid." A Cheneyesque chicken-hawk couldn't have said it better. His political judgments were sometimes unduly harsh, and he could be supremely unfair to those with whom he disagreed, valuing the bon mot over the deeper understanding—witness his sulfurous nastiness to William Jennings Bryan.

But so what? Despite his superhuman output, Mencken was a man, not a god. (For Mencken's quarrel with the Almighty and His earthly interpreters, see the excellent D.G. Hart's recent Damning Words: The Life and Religious Times of H.L. Mencken.) His joie de vivre, his irrepressible good spirits, his lambent wit, his verbal winks while carving up some poor poltroon (which convey a message of, "Hey, we gave them a show of it—how about we adjourn to the tavern for a seidel or five?")—this is why Mencken is loved even by those who find his Nietzschean spasms off-putting, his anathemas overly broad.

Photo Credit: Ohio University Press

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  • SQRLSY One||

    From the article...

    The common people, he says, "are always in favor of the man who promises to get something for them without cost to them—i.e., to steal something for them."

    That is, we think we can screw over the other guy, using Government Almighty, and the other guy will NOT be able to turn around, and do the same to us! Just because we can SOMETIMES win (for a little while), at this game, does NOT mean that it is a good idea!

    There was a Walt Disney silent movie, way back when, of a bird's-eye view of a "matrix" of Donald Ducks, in a matrix of back yards, and they were all running, in formation, back and forth. They'd all run to the left, and dump their yard trash onto their neighbors on the right, Then, in lockstep, they'd run to the right again, and gather the trash that their neighbor had just dumped on them, and go and dump it on their neighbors to left. On and on...

    This is a near-perfect analogy the the malfunctions of democracy! Does ANYONE know where I can get a copy of that video?!?!? HELP!!!

  • Enemy of the State||

    Bastiat's "great fallacy" charge regarding the government...

  • chemjeff||

    "jocose sesquipedalianism"

    Ha!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Refrain from the excessive utilization of superfluous, pedantic, and sesquipedalian articulations!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Emulate my abstemiousness in this endeavor!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Your commensurate remunerative compensation will encompass augumented peruser comprehension!

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Jocose? Oh No!", I say, 'cause I am exceeding offended by jocularity!

    Before I retreat to my "safe space", though. I just MUST inquire... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoko_Ono will not tell me...
    Is Yoko One, in any way, related to Jocose Oh No?

    Inquiring minds want to KNOW!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Government Almighty DAMN TO HELL the auto spell correctors!!! (Along with the tax collectors).

    "Is Yoko Ono, in any way, related to Jocose Oh No?"

  • silver.||

    I'm glad you're having fun.

    Err, your discernible jocularity inculcates in me an unsubtle satisfaction.

    I bet Mr. Mencken wore out a thesaurus or thirty.

  • Eidde||

    More Bill Kauffman articles, please!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "I regard the net English contribution to civilization as enormously greater than the German contribution."

    In letters, yes. But not so in music and technology. But it makes an interesting debate. As I am a Western elitist this is a better debate than the old West/East one.

    Good article for sure. Mencken would certainly despise today's whackjob Christian Taliban GOP as much as he rightly despised progressives.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Mencken's other great political failure was that his reaction to the snti-German persecutions and lies of the scoundrel Wilson blinded him to the despicable Austrian's efforts to make all anti-Hun propaganda into reality.

  • impartial observer||

    Why do you pretend you and Tony aren't being run by the same person? To the point that you even manufacture fake disagreements so you can reference them later as cover?

    It's been obvious for some time. You're not smart enough to pull it off.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Mencken derided almost all groups (I believe there were some he didn't get to). He may have despised a few, but he was always prepared to play fair if they did something good....in fact he usually admitted to astonishment. His appreciation of Bryan's abilities as a speaker on the occasion of the man's passing was a great exercise in magnanimity.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    today's whackjob Christian Taliban GOP

    An eloquent way to put it indeed. In fact, I'd argue that the modern GOP is even worse than the Taliban. Did you know that some Republicans think religious bakers should not have to bake wedding cakes for same sex couples? If that's not the literal definition of theocracy, I don't know what is.

    The final straw was when they nominated a fundamentalist religious extremist theocrat like Drumpf for the Presidency. By doing so, Republicans have effectively told atheists like myself that we aren't welcome in the party. Of course I already knew I wasn't welcome anyway because of my nonbinary gender identity.

    I must take issue with this part of your post, however.

    As I am a Western elitist this is a better debate than the old West/East one.

    "Western elitist" is a highly problematic label to apply to oneself. It sounds like you're asserting that white people tend to create the best societies, which is nonsense straight out of Alt-Right White Supremacy 101.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    (Supposed to be a reply to Mr. Buttplug. Oops!)

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Trump a "fundamentalist religious extremist theocrat"? That's hilarious. The man doesn't have an authentic religious bone in his body. The only thing more hilarious than watching Trump troll the Christian right for support was watching the evangelical "leadership" embrace him like the Second Coming.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    For anyone who still doesn't understand why all libertarians should support open borders, I give you this tweet from Julian Castro.

    The Hispanic vote in Texas will continue to increase. By 2024 Democrats can win Texas, Arizona and Florida. A big blue wall of 78 electoral votes.

    Once enough new Democratic voters permanently make Texas a blue state, there will never be another Republican President. With Democrats poised to control the White House for decades at a time, and appoint an all-Dem Supreme Court, the Libertarian Moment can finally become reality.

    #BlueWave

  • Rich||

    Estoy ansioso por ser forzado a hablar español.

  • GILMORE™||

    Once enough new Democratic voters permanently make Texas a blue state, there will never be another Republican President.

    I do find it amusing that the left and the Alt-Right apparently seem to share identically racist views that (basically):

    :"'brown people are all guaranteed to be leftists by genetic-destiny, and have no free agency; all non-white immigrants will inevitably turn into permanent constituents for the left"

    Julian Castro is basically indistinguishable from Steve Bannon in this regard.

    I also think its funny that the left seems to think that there's no point adjusting their policy views and political arguments to appeal to the *actual population of citizens in these places*. Citizens are just roadblocks! Their real constituents live in El Salvador and Guatamala, and need to be imported.

    Electoral victory, in their minds, means designing policies to attract these people, and ignoring the needs and concerns of their current, existing constituents. Why bother "winning" new voters? his voters are being born elsewhere, and all he needs to do is wait.

    Effectively, he's telling Texans: "Fuck you, Americans, I'm just going to breed my way to victory and then rule over you"

  • Tony||

    It's insane fabrications like this that makes Republicans feel justified in winning power despite getting fewer votes.

  • Rich||

    "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if weren't for you meddling, I mean, that fucking Electoral College!"

  • GILMORE™||

    Republicans feel justified in winning power despite getting fewer votes.

    well, given that in a constitutional republic like the united states, electoral victory requires winning the majority 'state electoral votes' and not the plurality of cumulative individual votes, this 'feeling' is certainly justified by the basic facts of reality.

    if anything is insanely fabricated, its the belief that 'brown people will vote democrat forever, no matter how stupid our ideas are'

  • Tony||

    That would be an insane belief. I'm sure brown people will be flocking to the alternative any day now, especially given its increasingly warm embrace of their interests.

    If the Electoral College ever handed the presidency to a Democrat who won fewer votes there would be rednecks burning shit in the streets. It's an abomination. Everyone knows it. Only people who hate democracy because their Team wins without it pretend to think otherwise.

  • GILMORE™||

    If the Electoral College ever handed the presidency to a Democrat who won fewer votes there would be rednecks burning shit in the streets.

    You mean like the leftists did in Portland and Berkeley? Like what the media imagined would happen post-election?

    I do think its cute that people on the left think, "You'd act just as badly as we already do" is supposed to be some sort of compelling critique of others... rather than a backhand admission that the left always behaves like children, and engage in retarded imaginary denunciations as a form of projection-defense.

    Its sort of like the people who say, "Yeah well communism killed 100million but like, people die in capitalism too" and think this doesn't just make them seem even more retarded than they already are.

  • Tony||

    The left is incredibly restrained, even deferential. For the shaft they, and by extension the country, have been given at the hands of the antidemocratic plutocrats you spend your life defending, they ought to be severing heads from bodies. "Being a Christian woman, I can't say it!" The curse of being civilized.

  • GILMORE™||

    The left is incredibly restrained, even deferential .... they ought to be severing heads from bodies

    because they lost an election. Yes, they're so deferential and civilized

    ....simply because they're *not murdering people in the streets*

    I wonder how they manage to restrain themselves so. I mean if Trump *is* Hitler, they're being very bad germans by failing to overthrow him posthaste.

    I appreciate the laughs tony. ta.

  • John C. Randolph||

    The left is incredibly restrained,

    Except for that 200 million or so people you murdered in the 20th century, right?

    -jcr

  • MarkLastname||

    You're a lunatic and a sociopath, Tony. The fact that people like you, who yearn for violence against those whose vision of the country (arbitrarily defined by lines on a map) differs from yours, can vote, is precisely why democracy must be restrained.

    Please, go see a therapist and get some meds to even you out, for the sake of the people you might harm if you don't.

  • Flinch||

    Don't call for guillotines Tony: the fever of crusading may put your head in one - mass hysteria doesn't shut down when it should [ever] and is dangerous to all. It's something odd about humanity, and illustrated fairly recently by a US organization that (after meeting it's original mission on balance), continues on into absurdity. You and I know them as MADD.
    As for your assertion that the left is "restrained", list for us a dozen institutions they haven't molested. The Boy Scouts are toast, in case you haven't noticed.

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    Do you ever tire of exposing what a retarded fucking asshole you are?

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    Educate the world what you know are the collective interests of brown people, you useless, racist, steaming pile of shit.

  • Tony||

    Brown people in America have a collective interest in not being targeted for elimination, incarceration, and disenfranchisement by society and the state. I merely presume.

  • GILMORE™||

    Brown people in America have a collective interest in not being targeted for elimination, incarceration, and disenfranchisement

    what a fascinating thought.

    does this mean when you suggested that leftists should be beheading people, that meant, "well, only whites"? I would have presumed it meant any capitalists.

    and re: disenfranchisement

    I can't even imagine how you'd get this past your socialist peers. why, leftists have disenfranchised blacks for about a century. making an entire population welfare-dependent on the state was supposed to be your lifeline for maintaining power. Why, if you started allowing them to make decisions on their own.... why, its possible they might not agree entirely with your socialist program.

    this is why the leftist intersectionality never works. Sooner or later someone decides they don't want other people (e.g. socialist whites) defending their (e.g. black community) interests w/o actually knowing anything about what they actually are.

  • Tony||

    Well good luck with that then. Any day now, blacks will be voting Republican en masse. I'm staring at the clock in rapt suspense.

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    And again it confirms that it's a mouthbreathing bag of middle school cliches. What a fucking monotonous douche you are.

  • Slocum||

    Just as some teams feel justified in winning a post-season series in baseball even though they've scored fewer runs. In 1984 in a series I remember well (but wish I didn't) the Cubs scored 26 runs in the 5 game series. The San Diego Padres scored only 22. Guess who moved on to the World Series? But wait -- if only baseball had been scored like multi-day Cricket Test matches, the Cubs could have been National League champs. Just like Hillary, dey wuz robbed!

  • Finrod||

    Just look at the 1960 World Series, where the Yankees scored twice as many runs as the Pirates yet lost 4 games to 3.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It's not how many runs you score in a playoff series, it's how many when. If you win a game 10-1 and lose the next two 3-1 and 2-1, you have outscored me 12-5 but are behind in the series. It ain't brain surgery

  • Slocum||

    Just as some teams feel justified in winning a post-season series in baseball even though they've scored fewer runs. In 1984 in a series I remember well (but wish I didn't) the Cubs scored 26 runs in the 5 game series. The San Diego Padres scored only 22. Guess who moved on to the World Series? But wait -- if only baseball had been scored like multi-day Cricket Test matches, the Cubs could have been National League champs. Just like Hillary, dey wuz robbed!

  • Slocum||

    Well, the squirrels finally got me

  • SQRLSY One||

    Ha! We now have more nuts than you do!!!

  • Flinch||

    But... cricket was designed to consume a bottle of gin - that doesn't compare to baseball, which is based on beer [that can be consumed all afternoon without forcing a regrouping of fans the next day to conclude the contest]. Still, I like your humor Slocum.

  • Reality||

    "Republicans feel justified in winning power despite getting fewer votes."

    Hi I'm Tony and I don't understand how elections work.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "... that makes Republicans feel justified in winning power despite getting fewer votes."

    So- the rules only matter when they provide you with the results you desire? Got it.

  • MarkLastname||

    He'd support a hereditary monarchy if it imposed his values on everyone.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Effectively, he's telling Texans: "Fuck you, Americans, I'm just going to breed my way to victory and then rule over you"


    That's literally the strategy of Dominionist/Quiverful folks (aka, a sub-type of Christian conservative).

    That said, you don't have to fall back to "genetic destiny" to note (accurately) the lines that folks vote along.

    Tell me someone's race, sex and religion, and I can predict how they voted in the last election to probably 80% accuracy. That's not "destiny", that's "today's politics is the consequence of yesterday's politics".

  • silver.||

    Here's a map of the counties that flipped. Most of them flipped strongly to red.

    OBL is a troll account, but this particular sentiment is complete bullshit. I was as surprised by Trump's victory as anyone, and it clearly demonstrates that the blue wall has cracks. People grow up. They stop worrying about everyone else and start worrying about themselves and their families. They toil at work and relinquish 30-40% of their gross income in various taxes.

    If the boomers-the original hippies-can be flipped to red, any sub-population can.

  • Flinch||

    OBL has a history of poking the bear with prog-like statements, silver. Write that mind off: it's either closed or pimped out.

  • buybuydandavis||

    But demographic statistics so racist!

    We have to treat groups as individuals, whose actions are simply impossible to predict because free will.

    Only nazi racity racists would ever dare to attempt to predict aggregate effects based on aggregate statistics!

  • CE||

    I've heard of this "permanent Electoral majority" somewhere before.... I can't quite place it.... seems like it was around October 2016....

  • GILMORE™||

    ugh

    (*awaiting torrent of tediousness from Winston about Menken+ the Kaiser)

  • Eidde||

    Rolling with the Kaiser

  • Eidde||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I didn't get it. But only because I'm doing Atkin's right now.

  • silver.||

    BUCS, keto is the trendy lo-carb diet this year. Come on.

    Don't taunt dieters with pictures of starches, Eddie.

  • Cloudbuster||

    His blithe certitude that "the more fit shall conquer and obliterate the less fit" is less than endearing.

    Only if you're less fit.

  • Rich||

    Fit to be tied.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I'm in favor of the more-fit reproducing more than the less-fit, absolutely!

    The problem with the old-time Social Darwinists is that they way-too-often equated "fit" with "rich". Way too often, "rich" does NOT equate "fit", it equates being ruthless and greedy, and, especially, being totally willing to unfairly use Government Almighty (and degrees-credentials-licenses, "regulatory capture" wise, rent-seeking "troll under the bridge" wise) to enrich themselves, at the expense of others.

    Any day now, I expect to see a surge of political activity, by electrical engineers seeking to make us get an EE's prescription before we can buy a stereo, radio, or PC!

    Anyway, humans got to be a civilized species by cooperation, more so than by being ruthless. Cooperation, for us, is more "fit" than ruthlessness, in the long run.

  • SQRLSY One||

    This is also why I favor more poor, hard-working,fruit-picking immigrants (legal or otherwise), and less over-paid doctors and lawyers, as immigrants. At least the poor fruit-pickers do NOT act like trolls under the bridge!

  • Azathoth!!||

    'Fit' only has one meaning in the evolutionary sense.

    You are 'fittest' if you reproduce the most.

    That's it.

    Nothing else is 'fit'. 'Fit' or 'fittest' doesn't always mean best, most able, smartest. It means 'breeds most'.

    Black maned lions die earlier than tawny maned lions. But the lionesses LOVE black manes. So they breed more. They're 'fittest'.

  • Lester224||

    The richer you are the less you reproduce. Unless you're a Mormon.

  • Rich||

    Hillary thanks 'activist bitches' in bizarre video

    Clinton insisted on retaining her faith outreach adviser, Burns Strider, after a female staffer accused him of touching her inappropriately and sending sexually suggestive emails.

    I gots to know: Did he say "Feel the Burns"?

  • Eidde||

  • Eidde||

    Also: Was the staffer named Faith?

  • SQRLSY One||

    If'n any of y'all white folks out there are stewing on becoming a white rappper...

    Lemme lay down a beat for you!

    Consider that your rap-star name might best be...

    "Cracker of Doom!" (Ba-Da-BOOOM!)

  • Flinch||

    The schizophrenia of today's democrat party is beyond me: they cater to all fringe outsiders, even to the exclusion of the 'working man' that happened during the 2012 election. Now, they turn around and complain they are besieged by pervs? What's that phrase Hillary whipped out during her short [carpet bagging] term in the senate? Ah, yes: "...wilful suspension of disbelief".

  • TGoodchild||

    "Only the man fully in command has the self-confidence to tease himself. Which is why the insecure twerps of the columnizing world are so often so damned serious."

    Indeed.

  • Flinch||

    A bit long of a piece, but successful in that it made me want to go read a few things that I missed out on in school. For those who love freedom a study of pre Great Depression [and WW1] writings really is a must, and the life of Mencken slots in perfectly: one of those American voices largely unpolluted by the arrival of the Age of Socialism [that Marxism focused] and should never be forgotten. Mencken's generation is the last one to see unfettered capitalism on US soil, and has a much clearer mind than todays so called journalist that finds themselves twitter dependant in avoiding writers block to become stenographers for bots and the hacks behind them. The perils of pickpocket politics spans the history of mankind, and each generation will have it's own fight to either guard against it, or tear down the artifices of ersatz charity that corrodes our spirits. We got into real trouble this last century where Marxism melded pickpocket politics of old with the prism of a misanthrope. Mencken was fully prepared to resist, and if alive today... just might be writing for Reason I should think.

  • silver.||

    To a Marxist or hardcore modern believer of Keynesian economics, the unrestricted capitalism caused the Depression, and only the New Deal + gov't spending in WW2 was able to remedy it. No acknowledgement is given to the catastrophically low fed interest rate that led to people buying stocks with borrowed money, of course.

    Capitalism isn't working, supposedly. They're uncurious and possess no motivation to abolish their ignorance, instead parroting ideas that are doomed to fail because they lack knowledge of history, economics, and even basic human psychology. These folks have never studied Marx's works or examined his personal history. He died in a posh London suburb. If he had so much extra money, why didn't he share it with poor people? He didn't need that big house or coffee or wine or any other luxury, and people in that very city were starving to death.

    The worst I heard was that "communism will only work in a post-capitalist society, all the prior implementations were not capitalist countries." Really now? They didn't trade or barter, buy or sell? News to me!

    I know I'm preaching to the choir on this site, I'm just frustrated by people who are willing to change our world before they even understand it; for how much they favor diversity, they aren't very interested in listening to a variety of views. They are true useful idiots; they have a sincere want for a better world, and the assholes in DC exploit that to further their own power at our expense.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I was always told that Marx, who had no marketable skills, was supported most of his life by Engels. And like most good communists had no problem believing that whatever riches he had in life he fully deserved.

  • Diane Merriam||

    Well, at least the first few comments responded to the article in the manner in which I hoped for. Wordplay made all the more enjoyable by having to look up six words I had never run across before. :)

  • Enemy of the State||

    One reason Mencken would never be carried in a daily media outlet in 2018 is that the American public has been so ill-educated, most would have no clue what half the words in his columns meant...

  • Ned Netterville||

    I am frequently called upon to babysit my young grandchildren. I have had great success and those three kids are always happy to see me ever since I learned from another grandfather to invoke and enforce "grandfather's rules:. Rule No. 1: There are no rules. Rule #2: You can eat anything you want. Rules No. 3 to infinity: see rule #1. Peace prevails, and in spite of my laxity, their parents keep having me come back.

  • Priscilla King||

    I "read" a complete collection of Mencken once, while far too young...wish I could still find one now. (I got some of the jokes, not enough, and skipped.) What I remember is that he tended to reuse the same jocose sesquipedalianisms. Maybe a "selected" volume reduces the familiarity of "the booboisie"?

  • For own oo||

    A large wall clock will help you to do any work commented in this article.

  • For own oo||

    A large wall clock will help you to do any work commented in this article.

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