MENCKEN for Monday:"It was Americans who invented the...

salmagundi

February 07, 1994

MENCKEN for Monday:

"It was Americans who invented the curious doctrine that there is a body of doctrine in every department of thought that every good citizen is in duty bound to accept and cherish; it was Americans who invented the right-thinker. . . . In the face of this singular passion for conformity, this dread of novelty and originality, it is obvious that the man of vigorous mind and stout convictions is gradually shouldered out of public life. He may slide into office once or twice, but soon or late he is bound to be held up, examined and incontinently kicked out. This leaves the field to the intellectual jelly-fish and inner tubes."

-- H. L. Mencken in The Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

"Whenever talk of a dictatorship is heard in this country the assumption floats in the air that if it ever comes it will have to follow some European pattern. . . . But there is really no reason to believe that the American Fuhrer, if, when and as he is hatched, will turn out to be a copy of Mussolini, Hitler, or even Stalin. We are an original people, and make our own quacks just as we make our own automobiles. My guess is that he will be a great deal more like Coolidge than like the fee-faw-foh-fums of Europe, with their operatic swords and comic mustachios.

"The last dictator we had was Woodrow Wilson, who looked like a respectable Sunday-school teacher and witch burner, and was. The one before that was old Abe Lincoln, the beau ideal of a rube. . . . Our next dictator will have to use easier words than Woodrow Wilson and have a mellower voice than Abe. But otherwise he will probably run true to type . . . Americans do not like to be kicked around, like Russians, or drilled and commanded, like Germans and Russians; they prefer to be wooed and soothed."

-- Mencken in The Evening Sun, April 26, 1937

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