MENCKEN for Monday:"The fundamental error of the...


December 20, 1993

MENCKEN for Monday:

"The fundamental error of the platitudinarians consists in comparing some miraculously miserable fellow with millions to some miraculously happy fellow with barely enough -- but still enough -- to eat.

"Rather let us compare two men more nearly alike.

"One of them is John Smith, who stands before a toy store at this season, looking at a doll within. It has movable eyes and ears and removable hair, clothes and teeth. He knows that his little daughter Maggie will love it.

"The price tag says $3.69. John reaches in his pocket and discovers that he has $3.82.

"He goes in and buys the doll. Maggie is happy. John is happy and Mrs. John is happy.

"Beside John before the window stood William Brown. William, too, had a little daughter -- but he hadn't $3.69. He went away sadly. Money would have bought him happiness."

-- H. L. Mencken in The Evening Sun, Dec. 23, 1910.

* * * "THE notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the

rest of us when he sees it debauched.

"He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair."

-- H. L. Mencken in The Evening Sun, Oct. 6, 1924.

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