[Paleopsych] White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Nicholas Bannan n.j.c.bannan at reading.ac.uk
Thu Nov 11 14:23:12 UTC 2004


One small swagger for a man; one great leap backwrads for mankind?

----- Original Message -----
From: "K.E." <guavaberry at earthlink.net>
To: "paleo" <paleopsych at paleopsych.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 2:15 PM
Subject: [Paleopsych] White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

When 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 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 count himself
lost. His one aim is to disarm suspicion, to arouse confidence in his
orthodoxy, to avoid challenge. If he is a man of convictions, of enthusiasm,
or self-respect, it is cruelly hard.

The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small
electorates, a first rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying
even a mob with him by the force of his personality. But when the field is
nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second or third hand, and
the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all 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 hearts desire at last, and
White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

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

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