Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mencken on the Eternal Christian Mob

Mencken on the Eternal Christian Mob
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes the eternal Christian mob, pages 74-76. Below is an overview of his discussion on the eternal Christian mob; my comments are in brackets.
    Mencken notes that in the past two thousand years, the inferior man has moved “from the obscenities of the Saturnalia to the obscenities of the Methodist revival. So he lives out his life in the image of Jahveh.”
    Mencken questions the inferior man’s “simple piety, his touching fidelity to the faith.” He continues, “Is it argued by any rational man that the debased Christianity cherished by the mob in all the Christian countries of to-day has any colourable likeness to the body of ideas preached by Christ? . . . The plain fact is that this bogus Christianity has no more relation to the system of Christ than it has to the system of Aristotle. It is the invention of Paul and his attendant rabble-rousers — a body of men exactly comparable to the corps of evangelical pastors of to-day, which is to say, a body devoid of sense and lamentably indifferent to common honesty.” [Paul did not change the teachings of Christ; he merely explained and applied them.] Then he adds, “The mob, having heard Christ, turned against Him, and applauded His crucifixion.” The mob turned against Christ because “His theological ideas were too logical and too plausible for it, and his ethical ideas were enormously too austere.” [The mob did not turn against Jesus because his theological ideas were too logical and too plausible. It turned against him because the Pharisees and the Sadducees excited it to demand the execution of Jesus. These two groups and, to a lesser extent, the Herodians were the aristocrats and superior men of their society. Thus, the superior men were behind Jesus’ execution. They turned the mob against Jesus because his logical, plausible theology condemned them.]
    What the mob “yearned for was the old comfortable balderdash under a new and gaudy name, and that is precisely what Paul offered it. He borrowed from all the wandering dervishes and soul-snatchers of Asia Minor, and flavoured the stew with remnants of the Greek demonology. The result was a code of doctrines so discordant and so nonsensical that no two men since, examining it at length, have ever agreed upon its precise meaning.” [Paul’s teachings are no more confusing than Jesus’. What makes Paul’s writings seem confusing are theologians reading into his writings what is not there and reading out of his writings what is there. Moreover, if his writings are so confusing and, thus, difficult to understand, why does the ignorant, uneducable inferior man seems to grasp them, for as Mencken notes, the inferior man tries to destroy what he does not understand. Nevertheless, Paul’s writings, which are usually fairly straightforward, are easier to comprehend than most of the Prophets and Revelations with their flowery, allegorical, and metaphorical language. Furthermore, Jesus’ teaching may not be as logical and plausible and as clear and simple as Mencken asserts. If they were, theologians agree about what Jesus taught. For example, in Matthew 24:36, Christ says that he does not possess the divine trait of omniscience. Antitrinitarians use this statement to prove that the Trinity Doctrine is wrong. Trinitarians ignore it or try to explain it away. Another is Matthew 24:1-31. Some claim that this prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Others claim that only part of it was fulfilled in 70 A.D.; the remainder is yet to come. Thus, Jesus’ teachings are at least as confusing as Paul’s.] Nonetheless, “Paul knew his mob: he had been a travelling labour leader. He knew that nonsense was its natural provender — that the unintelligible soothed it like sweet music.” Moreover, Paul was the progenitor “of all the Christian mob-masters of to-day, terrorizing and enchanting the mob with their insane damnations, eating their seven fried chickens a week, passing the diligent plate, busy among the women.” [Many ministers in Mencken’s day, and even today, were charlatans, hustlers, and scoundrels, who manipulated Christians for their own benefit. That Paul was such a person is highly doubtful, and such a notion is certainly not supported by the Scriptures. No such person would have endured what Paul endured.]
    Continuing, Mencken writes, “Once the early church emerged from the Roman catacombs and began to yield to that reorganization of society which was forced upon the ancient world by the barbarian invasions, Paul was thrown overboard, as Methodists throw Wesley overboard when they acquire the means and leisure for golf, and Peter was put in his place. Peter was a blackguard, but he was at least free from any taint of Little Bethel. The Roman Church, in the aristocratic feudal age, promoted him post mortem to the Papacy, and then raised him to the mystical dignity of Rock, a rank obviously quasi-celestial.” [The theology of the Catholic Church fits much closer the animadversions that Mencken pours on Paul than Paul’s theology.]
    Nevertheless, “Paul remained the prophet of the sewers. He was to emerge centuries later in many incarnations — Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and so on. He remains to-day the arch-theologian of the mob. His turgid and witless metaphysics make Christianity bearable to men who would be repelled by Christ’s simple and magnificent reduction of the duties of man to the duties of a gentleman.” [Mencken is not the only one who believes that Paul corrupted the teachings of Jesus. Some have accused Paul of Judaizing the teachings of Christ, which he did not.]
    [As can be seen from the above, Mencken has a low opinion of Christianity. On that point, he agrees with Marx. Moreover, Mencken seems to believe that only inferior men, scoundrels, and demagogues are religious, and the scoundrels and demagogues are fakers, who use religion to manipulate the inferior man. He seems to believe that one cannot be both religious and of the better sort simultaneously.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Southern Universities

Southern Universities
Thomas Allen

    Bigotry is alive and well in Southern universities. Students and teachers may say and write what they please and do what they please provided that it is politically correct. What is politically correct? It is affirmative action, integration of White institutions and groups, self-segregation by blacks, gay rights and homosexuality, feminism, animal rights, abortion, Marxism, anti-Christianity, anti-Western Civilization, and other leftist icons. To question any of these is to be politically incorrect. Politically correct is attacking and discriminating against and seeking to destroy White males (albeit Whites of non-European White ancestry, e.g. Semites, are not usually classified as “White”), Western Civilization, and Christianity. To a politically correct person, the most loathsome creature in the universe is the White Southern male who is a Christian, heterosexual, and without physical handicap. Even animals should have more rights than this subhuman hideous creature. But woe unto him, especially a White male, who makes any kind of remark that could possibly be construed as derogatory towards Blacks, feminists, homosexuals, or other such politically correct group. Orwellian thought is healthy and growing in Southern universities.

    The following are a few of the odious activities occurring in Southern universities:
    –    Many universities have adopted formal speech codes that forbid unacceptable bigotry. Discrimination against White heterosexual males is desirable and, therefore, not really bigotry. Discrimination against Blacks, homosexuals, feminists, and other politically correct groups is bigotry and, therefore, is unacceptable and forbidden.
    –    Marxism, feminism, integration, animal rights, gay rights, and other leftist causes cannot be questioned or criticized.
    –    Free speech is a virtue when used to promote integration, affirmative action, feminism, animal rights, gay rights, abortion and other leftist causes. For a student or teacher even to question these icons of the antichrists is intolerable.
    –    Students and teachers are free to say and write whatever they want to, so long as it is politically correct.
    –    Students and teachers have been expelled or forced to attend indoctrination sessions to be reeducated for utterances contrary to the politically correct orthodoxy.
    –    Black students may segregate themselves from Whites, but Whites face severe penalties if they try to segregate themselves from Blacks. (There is an exception to this rule. White homosexuals may segregate themselves from Black homosexuals. That such segregation is allowed is strong evidence that the primary purpose of integration is genocide. Homosexuals do not often bred, there segregation is of little consequence to the cause of racial genocide.)
    –    Intolerance by Blacks, women, homosexuals, animal rightists, and other politically correct groups is acceptable and desirable. Intolerance by a White heterosexual male is an unspeakable crime.
    –    Male fraternities are under siege for not being politically correct — some of them object to force integration, homosexuality, and other politically correct positions.
    –    Traditional curriculum that emphasizes Western Civilization, which is considered the root of all evil and the cause of all problems, especially the Christianity aspects of Western Civilization, and is being replaced with Black “civilization,” women studies, etc.
    –    American business is equated with organized crime.
    –    Marxism has the answer to all economic, social, and political problems. Christianity at best is irrelevant and at worst is the cause of all the world's problems.
    –    The family is attacked; its destruction is sought. Homosexuality is presented as being as desirable as, if not superior to, heterosexuality. Abortion, fornication, and adultery, if not actually virtues, are not sinful or wrong.
    –    Any emphasis on standards and excellence is frowned upon and discouraged, if not forbidden.

    Thus, anything or any group that encourages, fosters, and advocates the politically correct is favored and promoted while anyone that questions the politically correct is ostracized.
    The time has come for Southerners to reclaim their universities. So long as the Southern States remain colonies of the United States, they cannot recover their universities because the United States government is the prime promoter of the politically correct. Only in a free and independent confederation of free and independent Southern States can Southerners take back their universities. Then Southerners will be able to regain control of their universities and drive out the antichrists, homosexuals, Marxists, and destroyers of Western Civilization and Southern culture. Then the evils of homosexuality, genocide via integration, abortion, destruction of the family via the feminism, lasciviousness, and other iniquities can be freely condemned without reprisal. Then the virtues of Christianity, Western Civilization, Southern culture, and everything else that today's universities seek to overturn and destroy can be freely taught and discussed. How much longer will Southerners procrastinate? Now is the time for them to reclaim what is theirs!

Copyright © 1995, 2016 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Poor on Gilbart

Poor on Gilbart
Thomas Allen

    In 1877, Henry Varnum Poor (1812-1905) wrote Money and Its Laws: Embracing a History of Monetary Theories, and a History of the Currency of the United States. He was a financial analyst and founder of a company that evolved into Standard & Poor’s. Poor was a proponent of the real bills doctrine and the classical gold-coin standard and, thus, the quality theory of money. He gave little credence to the quantity theory of money — especially if credit money, such as bank notes, were convertible on demand in species. Also, he contended that the value of money depends on and is derived from the value of the material of which it is made and with paper money, its representation of such value.
    In the latter part of his book, he discusses leading monetary theorists from Aristotle (350 B.C.) to David A. Wells (1875). Most of the economists whom he discussed were proponents of the quantity theory of money. We will look at his discussion on James Gilbart. My comments are in brackets. Referenced page numbers enclosed in parentheses are to Poor’s book.
    James W. Gilbart (1794–1863) was an English banker and author. Among his works is Practical Treatise on Banking (1827), The History and Principles of Banking (1834), and Principles and Practice of Banking (1873), which is an abridged and combined edition of 1827 and 1834 books. Poor reviews Principles and Practices of Banking.
    About Gilbart, Poor writes, “Gilbart was a striking instance of a voluminous writer upon money, without any proper comprehension of its nature and laws. . . . As a Political Economist, he belonged to the school of Tooke and Mill, in holding that the convertible notes of no other Bank than that of the Bank of England could influence prices or the rates of exchange” (p. 368).
    Gilbart writes, “The bankers in issuing their notes do not make any reference to the quantity of gold in the country; but they make reference to their ability to discharge these notes when retained to them for payment” (p. 368). He argues that banks cannot issue bank notes in excess. However, if a bank has a monopoly on issuing bank notes and issues notes for gold, then an inflow of gold could lead to a large issue of notes, which could lead to speculation. When many banks are issuing notes, these notes are quickly returned to the issuing bank by other banks for redemption. When only one bank issues notes, those notes are only returned for gold when gold is needed for foreign exchange (pp. 368-369). [Thus, it is easier for a central bank with a monopoly on issuing bank notes to overissue notes than it is for competing banks to overissue notes.] According to Gilbart, paying interest on deposits also prevents the excessive issuance of notes by encouraging notes to be deposited. The criteria used by the Bank of England to issue notes causes prices to rise and reduce interest. (The criteria are issuing notes against gold bullion and to purchase Exchequer bills and government stock.) However, “if notes are issued merely to pay for transactions that have previously taken place, and are drawn out by the operations of trade, those notes will have no such effect” (p. 369).
    Poor summaries Gilbart’s explanation for the inability of private banks and bankers to overissue their notes: “1st, from their constant retirement ‘by the interchange by the Banks with each other of their different notes and checks, once or twice a week;’ and, 2d, for the reason that, by allowing interest on deposits, ‘all the surplus circulation is called in, and lodged with the Banks’” (p. 370). Poor does not believe that retiring notes by exchanges among banks reduces excess notes. [Poor errs somewhat. If bank notes increase in response to increased production as represented by buying real bills of exchange, then bank exchanges will remove currency and prevent excess. However, he has a point if bank notes are issued to buy financial bills like government treasury bills or to finance a speculative venture. These notes are more than what is needed to clear consumer goods from the markets. Therefore, they are inflationary as Poor describes. A major disagreement that Poor has with Gilbart is that Gilbart believes that the Law of Reflux is sufficient to regulate bank credit money and prevent its excessive quantity. {The Law of Reflux claims that banks cannot overissue bank credit money, bank notes and checkbook money, because any overissued currency quickly returns to the issuing bank for redemption.} Poor does not believe that it is sufficient. He believes that more is needed, such as adherence to the real bills doctrine.]
    Poor refutes Gilbart by noting, “An inflation may take place to a very large extent where exchanges are daily made, and where the Banks are on a specie basis, provided the issuers are all actuated by similar sentiments and move in a similar direction” (p. 370). [Most bankers prefer a centralized banking system, as countries now have, because it ensures that all bankers move in a similar direction. With a decentralized banking system, bankers usually vary greatly in their sentiment and move in various direction.]
    Poor argues that bank notes or checkable deposits used by a country bank for speculation, to buy government securities, or to finance businesses affect prices and interest as bank notes issued by the Bank of England to buy Exchequer bills (p. 371). “Once in the market, they perform precisely the same functions, and are subject to precisely the same laws. They are equally promises to pay coin on demand; and must be equally discharged within similar periods, by the payment of coin or its equivalent” (p. 371). [If the country bank’s loan of bank notes or checkable deposits comes from the bank’s capital or from savings deposits, then these notes and deposits should not have the same effect as the central bank issuing notes to buy government bills. The country bank has not added any additional currency, but it has merely transferred currency from one person to another. The central bank has added additional currency.]
    Poor remarks that since bank notes and checkable deposits issued by private banks far exceed those issued by the Bank of England, their effect must likewise be much greater. He writes, “It is certain that the former [private banks] do exert a much greater influence over prices and the rates of exchange, in ratio to their amount, than the latter [the Bank of England]; for the reason that they have a much more intimate connection than those of the Bank [of England] with the foreign commerce of the country, and are usually made upon securities, as a class, inferior to those which the rules of the Bank allow it to take” (p. 372).
    Poor summaries Gilbart’s comments before the Committee of 1840-41 about the actions that he would recommend for the Bank of England to follow in the event of war: “Mr. Gilbart, in the event of a war, would suspend specie payments, — would demonetize gold and silver, as a means of retaining them in the country” (p. 373). About Gilbart’s recommendation, Poor remarks, “He would cut off the handle of your axe, and render it useless, so as to prevent an enemy from striking off your head. But how was the enemy to get hold of the handle? By paying the price both for that and the axe. If he paid the price, he might thereby put in the hands of the owner that wherewith to defend himself far better than with the axe” (p. 373). He continues, “But if the gold of a country at war be demonetized, the enemy or some other nation will be sure to get it, not in exchange for powder and ball, but for wines and silks, — for that which, instead of arming and furnishing it for the fight, would inevitably tend to its emasculation, to the destruction of all patriotism and manhood” (p. 373). Moreover, Poor writes, “The effect of a war is always to turn the exchanges of a country engaged in it in its favor, for the reason that every one orders home the proceeds of his exports in coin, in order to have in hand that upon which he can certainly rely, should the event prove unfavorable, should domestic order be disturbed, or the wonted industries of the country fail” (p. 373). [This is not exactly true — especially if the prospect for one’s country winning the war is slim. If a person has the means, he may want to leave some of his wealth in a neutral country if he has to flee.] Poor notes that when Lincoln’s war to suppress Southern independence broke out gold and goods flowed into the United States. At the end of 1861, specie payments were suspended, and U.S. notes, greenbacks, were first issued in February 1862. After the suspension, exports far exceeded imports for the remainder of the war. [Some, perhaps most, of this difference is accounted for by the high tariff that the Republican Congress imposed. This tariff was the primary reason for the secession of the States of the Deep South.] Poor concludes his remarks about Lincoln’s war:
If legal-tender notes had not been issued, the United States would have laid all the world under tribute. The fast impulse of a people when they find themselves about to be plunged into a war is to forego every article that does not rank among the necessities of life. Their silver and gold are the first things they place beyond the reach of harm. Foreigners cannot get them, unless they pay more than they are worth. This they will not do, for the reason that they can get them of nations at peace, for their worth. The position of the United States, so far as its currency was concerned, was impregnable, but for its voluntary demonetization (p. 374).
The United States “lost their gold as soon as it could be taken away from them by lavish and wasteful expenditure” (p. 374). Poor is convinced that “[t]he civil war in the United States would have been ended in half the time, and at half the cost, but for demonetizing their coin” (p. 374).
    Gilbart states that banking capital is employed in discounting bills. According to him, when a bank of circulation [a bank that issues bank notes against bills] buys a bill, it increases the amount of money by the amount purchased. [This statement not exactly true as the bill of exchange can itself function as money in discharging debt and other financial obligations. However, other bills, such as treasury bills and bills of accommodations, seldom function as currency.] Gilbart claims that if a bank of deposit buys a bill, it does not increase “at all the amount of money in the country; but it will have put into motion . . . [money] that would otherwise have been idle” (p. 375). [This statement may or may not be true. If a bank buys the bill with money from its capital or from savings, then it is true. If it buys the bill by creating checkable deposits, it is not true. Checkable deposits are functionally the same as bank notes.] In both cases, Gilbart argues, the effects of bank notes issued by the bank of issue and the effects of checkable deposits created by private banks are the same. If notes issued by the bank of issue can cause high prices, overtrading, and speculation, so can checkable deposits created by private banks.
    Poor responds that the two differ in that one bank’s capital is in a form proper for loans [this comment applies to banks of deposit] and in the other “no capital whatever is created or provided” (p. 375) [this comment applies to the central bank of issue]. He writes, “To say that notes, without the least provision for their redemption, are the equivalent of deposits, which may be wholly in the form of coin or of notes representing coin, is to say that fiction equals reality, and shadow substance” (p. 375). Issuing bank notes without anything to support them may well result in problems for the bank while lending “the capital made up of deposits might prove most advantageous to all parties to the loan” (p. 375).
    Poor concludes, “Mr. Gilbart, undoubtedly, possessed a capacity of intuitively measuring the person who wanted to borrow his money; but he was wholly out of his sphere when he undertook to write upon its laws” (p. 375).

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Mencken on the Inferior Man and Progress

Mencken on the Inferior Man and Progress
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes the inferior man and progress, pages 58-73. Below is an overview of his discussion on the inferior man and progress; my comments are in brackets.
    The inferior man is the natural enemy of progress, liberty, and justice. “[B]eing a natural slave himself, [the inferior man] is quite unable to understand the desire for liberty in his superiors. If he apprehends that desire at all, it is only as an appetite for a good of which he is himself incapable. He thus envies those who harbour it, and is eager to put them down.”
    For the inferior man, justice “is always unpopular and in difficulties under democracy, save perhaps that false form of so-called social justice which is designed solely to get the labourer more than his fair hire.” Moreover, “[t]he wars of extermination that are waged against heretical minorities never meet with any opposition on the lower levels. The proletarian is always ready to help destroy the rights of his fellow proletarian.” Mencken illustrates this with the use of the American Legion and the America Federation of Labor in the program against the Reds just after World War I. Another illustration is that “[t]he city workman, oppressed by Prohibition, mourns the loss of his beer, not the loss of his liberty.” [If the war on drugs is substituted for prohibition, the same is true today. How many are really concerned about the loss of liberties that the war on drugs has brought?] The inferior man, the proletarian, “is ever willing to support similar raids upon the liberty of the other fellow, and he is not outraged when they are carried on in gross violation of the most elemental principles of justice and common decency.” [As happens in the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on cancer, war on Confederate monuments, and all the other wars that the elite who controls the U.S. government creates.]
    The “few genuine believers in liberty and justice survive, huddled upon a burning deck. Is it to be marvelled at that most of them, on inspection, turn out to be the grandsons of similar heretics of earlier times?” Mencken thinks not because it “takes quite as long to breed a libertarian as it takes to breed a racehorse. Neither may be expected to issue from a farm mare.”
    According to Mencken, the inferior man, the masses, opposes progress. He writes, “The whole progress of the world, even in the direction of ameliorating the lot of the masses, is always opposed by the masses. The notion that their clamour brought about all the governmental and social reforms of the last century, and that those reforms were delayed by the superior minority, is sheer nonsense.” He cites several examples of these reforms — most of which extends the government’s control over the masses and which the masses initially opposed. In Germany, the elite enacted various types of social legislation, such as workman’s insurance, minimum wage, and child labor restriction laws. The United States and other countries followed Germany’s example. However, the masses tended to oppose these acts. [Libertarians naturally oppose such laws as they reduce liberty by forcing people to do what they would not naturally do. Socialists naturally support such laws as they provide for the security of workers, which socialists consider liberty. Since these laws reduce liberty by giving the government more control over the masses and, therefore, less real liberty, the masses were standing for liberty against the elites, their betters as Mencken called them, who were extending their control of the masses via the government. Here Mencken seems to contradict his arguments about liberty and the masses. That Mencken would consider these laws as progress is amazing since he claims to be a libertarian. If he does consider these laws as progress and an extension of liberty, he needs to congratulate the superiors, the elites, for educating the uneducable. Now, the inferior man would strongly resist their repeal.]
    Mencken writes, “Public policies are determined and laws are made by small minorities playing upon the fears and imbecilities of the mob — sometimes minorities of intelligent and honest men, but usually minorities of rogues.” In agreement with Maine, Mencken notes that universal suffrage would have prohibited the use of industrial inventions and machines, such as the spinning-jenny, power looms, and threshing-machines. [Sir Henry Maine {1822-1888} was a British comparative jurist and historian.] Moreover, universal suffrage “‘would have prevented the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; it would have restored the Stuarts. It would have proscribed the Roman Catholics, with the mob which burned Lord Mansfield’s house and library in 1780; and it would have proscribed the Dissenters, with the mob which burned Dr. Priestley’s house and library in 1791.’” [As suffrage has been extended, the quality of political leaders has declined. First, the vote was given to Black males {1870}, next to women {1920}, and then to eighteen-year olds {1971}; along the way, the requirement to pay taxes was removed {1964}. Each time the quality of political leaders declined. The last Jeffersonian president was Cleveland {1885-1889 and 1893-1897}. Has not the time come to require voters to understand the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of their State and to pay a minimum but more than token direct tax? When voters had to meet these requirements, the country had much higher quality of political leaders.]
    In the United States, Mencken identifies democracy as leading to anti-vivisection and anti-contraception statutes, the licensing of osteopaths (which he considers a fraud), and restrictions on free assembly and free speech. [The police state laws enacted during the War on Terrorism has restricted assembly and speech, and the controllers of various internet sites, such as search engines and social media sites, have also restricted free speech. Also, Mencken’s attitude toward osteopathy appears like that of an inferior man. He does not understand it, and, therefore, fears it. Fearing it, he wants to suppress it as quackery. He has the same attitude toward chiropractic.]
    Mencken agrees with Lecky: “‘Nothing in ancient alchemy was more irrational than the notion that increased ignorance in the elective body will be converted into increased capacity for good government in the representative body; that the best way to improve the world and secure rational progress is to place government more and more under the control of the least enlightened classes.’” [William Lecky {1838- 1903} was an Irish historian, essayist, and political theorist.]
    Mencken explains the inferior man’s opposition to things that benefit him: “He is against it because it is complex, and, to his dark mind, occult — because it puts an unbearable burden upon his meagre capacity for taking in ideas, and thus propels him into the realm of the unknowable and alarming. His search is always for short cuts, simple formulae, revelation.” Continuing, Mencken adds “that all political platitudes and shibboleths [have] . . . one aim [and that] is to make the unintelligible simple, and even obvious.”
    Also, Mencken condemns Fundamentalism, creationism, chiropractic, “osteopathy, Christian Science, spiritualism and all the other half rational and half supernatural quackeries with it” as food for the ignorant, uneducable masses. [Mencken was an evolutionist and believed that creationism was a myth and a superstition — and so was much of Christianity. Being uneducable, the inferior man believed in creationism. Now, most inferior men believe in evolution, and even more theologians are evolutionists. Moreover, Christianity is waning. Would Mencken congratulate the superior man for doing the impossible of educating the uneducable inferior man? As science learns more about paleontology and genetics, evolution becomes more untenable. Would this new information cause him to change his mind about evolution? Would he recognize that today evolution has become a religion based on a set of beliefs?]
    Mencken laments, “It is a tragic but inescapable fact that most of the finest fruits of human progress, like all of the nobler virtues of man, are the exclusive possession of small minorities, chiefly unpopular and disreputable. Of the sciences, as of the fine arts, the average human being, even in the most literate and civilized of modern States, is as ignorant as the horned cattle in the fields. What he knows of histology, say, or protozoology, or philology, or paleontology, is precisely nothing. Such things lie beyond his capacity for learning, and he has no curiosity about them. The man who has any acquaintance with them seems to him to be a ridiculous figure, with a touch of the sinister. Even those applied sciences which enter intimately into his everyday existence remain outside his comprehension and interest.” [Unfortunately, he is close to the truth. For this reason, the nefarious elite finds the common man easy to manipulate.]
    About learning, Mencken writes, “Learning survives among us largely because the mob has not got news of it. If the notions it turns loose descended to the lowest levels, there would be an uprising against them, and efforts would be made to put them down by law.” He warns against putting the fine arts into the common school curriculum because once the ignorant uneducable masses discover them, they will seek to suppress them. [Instead of suppressing the fine arts overtly, they supplant them with trash that is promoted as art, with the elite doing most of the promotion.]
    Mencken adds that “there is a great deal less of yearning for moral perfection than there is of mere hatred of beauty.” Continuing he writes, “Beauty fevers and enrages him [the inferior man] for another and quite different reason. He cannot comprehend it, and yet it somehow challenges and disturbs him. If he could snore through good music he would not object to it; the trouble with it is that it keeps him awake. So he believes that it ought to be put down, just as he believes that political and economic ideas which disturb him and yet elude him ought to be put down. The finest art is safe from him simply because he has no contact with it, and is thus unaware of it.”
    Moreover, “[t]he common man, as a matter of fact, has no yearning for moral perfection. What ails him in that department is simply fear of punishment, which is to say, fear of his neighbours. He has, in safe privacy, the morals of a variety actor.”
    In summary, human progress passes the inferior man. “Its aims are unintelligible to him and its finest fruits are beyond his reach: what reaches him is what falls from the tree, and is shared with his four-footed brothers. He has changed but little since the earliest recorded time, and that change is for the worse quite as often as it is for the better. . . . He is still a slave to priests, and trembles before their preposterous magic. He is lazy, improvident and unclean. All the durable values of the world, though his labour has entered into them, have been created against his opposition. He can imagine nothing beautiful and he can grasp nothing true. Whenever he is confronted by a choice between two ideas, the one sound and the other not, he chooses almost infallibly, and by a sort of pathological compulsion, the one that is not. Behind all the great tyrants and butchers of history he has marched with loud hosannas, but his hand is eternally against those who seek to liberate the spirit of the race.” “Such is the pet and glory of democratic states.”
    [Mencken seems not to recognize that of the betters, the upper class, the superior man, the elite, only a few love liberty. Most superiors love power more than liberty and use their intellect to feed their lust for it.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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