advertisement 1
advertisement
SEARCH:
Saturday, July 21st, 2018                                                 SUBSCRIBE TO OUR RSS FEEDrss feed

The Irrepressible Mencken

Published by on June 13, 2013

The Irrepressible Mencken thumbnail

by Paul E. Gottfried

RECENTLY I’ve been thinking about someone whose name is attached to an organization I’m currently president of, H.L. Mencken (1880-1956). For years I’ve tried to understand why the Baltimore Sage has been branded, mostly recently in The Weekly Standard (see here and here) and in a voluminous biography by Terry Teachout, as anti-Semitic and anti-Black. The closest I could come to documenting these charges is that Mencken joked in his diary about the bad table manners of an obviously Jewish diner in a club that he frequented. He also said in a moment of levity that “an anti-Semite is someone who dislikes Jews more than is absolutely necessary.” This, as everybody who knew him was aware of, was a quip that Murray Rothbard was fond of repeating.

As for Mencken’s supposed revulsion for Blacks, I can’t find any evidence of it, although he may not have used “African-American,” or whatever is the now fashionable PC term in referring to the minority in question. We know that Mencken criticized segregation in his native city of Baltimore. He also never tired of attacking lower class White Southerners of the kind who wanted to keep Blacks segregated. Indeed if I were going after Mencken for his intolerance, I would have to notice his invectives against Southern Fundamentalists rather than his scattered, insignificant jokes about Jews and Blacks. That said, however, White Southerners don’t count as victims in their own eyes or in anyone else’s. In fact their politicians and journalists seem quite happy to view them as onetime racial victimizers, who were redeemed by civil rights legislation.

In any case, it seems to me that the recent attacks on Mencken have nothing to do with his prejudices. Liberals and neocons hate him for taking stands that don’t have much to do with the accusations made against him. One, Mencken opposed America’s entry into both World Wars, and during the First World War, he was expressly pro-German. (He was after all a German-American.) His predilection for the Central Powers in 1914 elicited a bitter tirade from Fred Siegel in (where else?) The Weekly Standard (January 30, 2006), a screed that charges the “horrid” Mencken with being a lifelong enemy of democracy and decency. Supposedly Mencken’s fondness for Nietzsche (about whom he produced a not very useful or scholarly biography) shows for all to see that he worshipped the “will to power” and saw this incarnated in the Teutonic enemy of Anglo-American democratic civilization. Someone who took such reprehensible positions in foreign affairs, we have to infer from Siegel’s remarks, must also have been against Jews, who represent all that is good and radiant in the West and (lest we forget) Israel.

Two, Mencken expressed anti-egalitarian views that are now unfashionable, and he never missed a chance to cast ridicule on the democratic welfare state. There are more than a few of Mencken’s unseasonable remarks that would cause blood to surge to the head of David Brooks, the New York Times’s “resident conservative,” who has just written about “national greatness” and the role to be assigned to the federal welfare state in making us all “great”: the most famous are “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard” and “every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” And how about this one for the fans of public administration: “I believe all government is evil and that trying to improve it is a waste of time.” And this for the devotees of judicial activism: “A judge is a law student who grades his own examination papers.”

Not all politically incorrect figures have suffered humiliation at the hands of our academics and journalists. For example, the Progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who helped build the foundations of our gargantuan administrative state and advocated a “crusade to make the world safe for democracy,” is given a fairly wide berth, despite the facts that he kicked Blacks out of the civil service and promoted “scientific racism.” And if Wilson, whom Mencken despised, railed against Jews, that too was forgivable. After all, didn’t Wilson agree to a Jewish political entity in the Middle East, while making war on the Germans and Austrians, who were later ruled by Hitler?

Moreover, it hardly seems that the “Great Emancipator” qualifies as the racial egalitarian that he is now depicted as. That honor devolved on our 16th president because he freed slaves in seceded states, as a military measure. And then many decades later Lincoln became identified with a civil rights movement that represented positions that were not at all his. But Mencken was not as useful as Lincoln or Wilson. He did not write or do much that would please our present rulers. Except for his rants against Christianity, this satirist did not leave behind the sorts of slogans that would suggest that he was politically progressive. In fact, if Mencken had gotten what he wanted, most of our political class would lose their public financing and be forced to become gainfully employed.

Source: Before It’s News

Related Articles:

Readers' Comments

  1. Jett Rucker on August 21st, 2013 9:16 pm

    I’ve read Teachout’s biography, and it did not brand M as an anti-semite. It REPORTED (faithfully, I presume) INCIDENTS which led to his being so branded. The key one I remember is a most peculiar mixed bag: as he and the rest of America became aware of the deteriorating situation for Jews in Europe, M proposed that the US open its borders for all German Jews.

    So far, so good, right? Then he went on with regard to similarly beleaguered Jews east of Germany (Poland, etc.), and said that he didn’t care for THOSE Jews, and did not favor opening the US to them.

    Some (many?) Jews in the US and Germany might have sympathized with him, but the ones who gained the rostrum seem to have been those who condemned him.

  2. Luis on October 26th, 2013 11:51 am

    My favorite Mencken quote is this:

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule”.





  • Her killer was made into a hero
  • Literature, US News »

    Homeless Jack on “Grabbing Some Pussy”

    November 7, 2016

    Homeless Jack on “Grabbing Some Pussy” thumbnail

    We discovered this piece scrawled on some foolscap left on our doorstep, an all-lower-case Kerouac-style stream of consciousness rap, and offer it as we found it. by H. Millard trump is an american original and a throwback to the days when americans were bursting with confidence and energy and the sheer joy of freedom and […]

    Africa, History »

    ‘The Choice of Achilles’: John Alan Coey Against the New World Order

    January 3, 2013

    ‘The Choice of Achilles’: John Alan Coey Against the New World Order thumbnail

    by T.R. Bennington AS EVER, BUT ESPECIALLY in our present state of civilizational malaise, there is a need for figures with the power to inspire — men who in less confused and cynical times would have been unabashedly described as heroic. One such figure is Corporal John Alan Coey, a young soldier who has perhaps […]

    Science »

    Quarter of Americans Convinced Sun Revolves Around Earth

    March 2, 2015

    Quarter of Americans Convinced Sun Revolves Around Earth thumbnail

    “DOES the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?” If you answered the latter, you’re among a quarter of Americans who also got it wrong, according to a new report by the National Science Foundation. A survey of 2,200 people that was released Friday revealed some alarming truths about […]

  • Reader’s Comments

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Pages

  • Login / Register / RSS

  • Vintage Mercury »

    Jailbirds

    June 7, 2017

    Jailbirds thumbnail

    by Jim Tully; from The American Mercury, September, 1928; transcribed by Kevin I. Slaughter THE jail room was thirty-five feet long, twenty-five feet wide, and seven feet high. In this large cage were fifty prisoners. Some had been sentenced and were serving jail terms; others awaited trial, or removal to the penitentiary. The floor was of […]

    Opinion »

    The Old Right and the Antichrist

    June 7, 2017

    The Old Right and the Antichrist thumbnail

    by Richard Spencer (pictured) The following address was given to the H.L. Mencken Club’s Annual Meeting; November 21-23, 2008. BEFORE William F. Buckley settled on writing God and Man at Yale in 1951, the 25 year-old had something quite different in mind as a debut volume. Buckley planned, and may have begun drafting, a book caustically […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Last Contact

    May 3, 2018

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Last Contact thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury TODAY WE PRESENT THE FINAL installment of our audio book series based on the biography of William Luther Pierce, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds by Robert S. Griffin, read by Vanessa Neubauer. (ILLUSTRATION: Portrait of Dr. William L. Pierce by S.M. Casper) Click here for all […]

  • Names and Topics



  • FEATURED ARTICLES

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Men and Women

    February 27, 2018

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Men and Women thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury IS FEMINISM killing us? Will it be fatal to our survival as a people? William Luther Pierce thought so, and today we’ll try to understand his reasons — in our continuing audio book series of the only biography of Dr. Pierce, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Schooling

    February 19, 2018

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Schooling thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury DR. WILLIAM PIERCE says our education system is failing, and that egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and feminism are to blame. The solutions he suggests as the only possible remedies — racial separation being the first but far from the only one — are ones that most modern educators would rather […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Racism and Hate

    February 8, 2018

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Racism and Hate thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury VANESSA Neubauer’s reading of The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds continues this week with Dr. William Pierce’s reactions to the claim that his work consists of just “racism and hate.” Dr. Pierce believes that it is wrong to pathologize a legitimate emotion that is appropriate in some […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Pierce and Jews

    December 19, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Pierce and Jews thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury NOW WE arrive at what may the most controversial and explosive chapter in Robert Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds, read this week by Vanessa Neubauer in our continuing audio book series. It deals with radical White separatist Dr. William Pierce’s views on Jews and Jewish power. […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: World War II

    December 12, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: World War II thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury THIS WEEK Robert Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds — read this week by Vanessa Neubauer in our continuing audio book series — deals with Dr. William Luther Pierce’s views on the watershed event of the last 100 years: the Second World War. (ILLUSTRATION: American bombers rain death […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: William Gayley Simpson

    December 4, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: William Gayley Simpson thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury CHAPTER 20 of Robert Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds — read this week by Vanessa Neubauer in our continuing series — deals with Dr. William Luther Pierce and his publication of Which Way Western Man? by philosopher William Gayley Simpson (pictured). Click here for all the chapters of […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Pierce on Hunter

    November 26, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Pierce on Hunter thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury VANESSA Neubauer’s latest audio book reading — chapter 19 of Robert Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds — consists of Dr. William Luther Pierce’s own thoughts about his second novel, Hunter. (ILLUSTRATION: portrait section of illustration from an oil painting by Will Williams) Click here for all the chapters […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Judge Leonard Roan’s Charge to the Jury

    November 25, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Judge Leonard Roan’s Charge to the Jury thumbnail

    THIS WEEK we present our final installment of our audio books on the subject of the 1913 trial of Leo M. Frank for the strangling and sex murder of his 13-year-old sweatshop employee, Mary Phagan. Today we hear the words of Judge Leonard Strickland Roan (pictured) in his charge to the jury, exactly as they […]

    Literature »

    The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds Audio Book: Hunter

    November 19, 2017

    <em>The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds</em> Audio Book: Hunter thumbnail

    by Bradford L. Huie for The American Mercury TODAY as we join Vanessa Neubauer’s latest audio book reading — chapter 18 — of Robert Griffin’s The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds we learn about Hunter, William Luther Pierce’s second novel. Hunter is a follow-up to Pierce’s famous The Turner Diaries, and Dr. Pierce considered it to be the more […]

    Frank Audio Books, History »

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Dorsey’s Closing Arguments, part 6

    November 19, 2017

    New Audio Book: The American Mercury on Leo Frank – Dorsey’s Closing Arguments, part 6 thumbnail

    THIS WEEK we present the sixth and last audio book installment of prosecutor Hugh Dorsey’s closing arguments in the 1913 trial of Leo M. Frank (pictured) for the strangling and sex murder of his 13-year-old sweatshop employee Mary Phagan. In this dramatic conclusion, you hear the words that the jury heard, the words that would […]