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The American Caliban

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via andrewsullivan.com the quote of the day [Nov. 10th, 2004|12:14 am]
The American Caliban
"[W]hen a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental--men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... [A]ll the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre--the man who can most 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."

- H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: scromp
2004-11-10 06:59 am (UTC)
I have been living and breathing Mencken for a week now, not necessarily by choice, but because the man haunts me. Things constantly remind me of snippets I've read, and then I have to go find them. Thanks for saving me the trouble on this one.

*still looking for the couple of essays referring to the "primitive rain gods of the American jungle" or something to that effect*
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lil_om
2004-11-10 01:17 pm (UTC)

wow,

that was deep.
(Reply) (Thread)