H.L. Mencken again.

Sorry, but this is too good to ignore. In fact, it’s downright unbelievable. That last line — I mean, how prescient can one man be??

“[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.

From Sully.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Sweet. I love that phrase: “bark with the pack or be lost.”

November 10, 2004 @ 11:21 am | Comment

Lee Kuan Yew and Jiang Zemin might agree with him. They also seem to think that their people are too stupid to be trusted with political power.

November 10, 2004 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

Luckily in America there were always enough smart ones to balance things out, resulting in at least a semi-reasonable electorate. But Rove’s machinations to get people to vote who don’t even know they’re alive has destroyed that balance.

Jiang’s approach is dreadful, of course; he won’t let the people vote. Whether the people are wrong or right, I still believe in pluralism as the best method of government out there. One of the down sides is we have to deal with frightening aberrations like November 2nd. Let’s pray they are few and far between.

November 11, 2004 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

Published on 7.26.1920. 7×2.6=84. 84+1920=2004. Prophesy?

November 15, 2004 @ 8:20 am | Comment

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