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20
Aug

mencken on my mind

I had Mencken on my mind today.  I read him today until my eyes stung.

Although I have not read very many of Henry Louis Mencken‘s books, essays or articles, I have read enough to appreciate his point of view.

He was a passionate enthusiast of the First Amendment, and rightfully so.  He spent a good part of his life writing for the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

He was and still is known as “a man of ideas,” since he frequently espoused ideas and ideals that could be considered controversial.

I found the following quote from Mencken especially interesting.  At first I looked at these words with the Casey Anthony trial in mind, since the Burden of Proof, liberty, and law is, seemingly, a part of his argument.

But Mencken is not referring to criminality.  What is he referring to here?  Is it prejudice, honesty and truth, or something else?

Writer H.L. Mencken. Photo credit: Wikipedia.com

I believe in liberty. And when I say liberty, I mean the thing in its widest imaginable sense — liberty up to the extreme limits of the feasible and tolerable.  I am against forbidding anybody to do anything, or say anything, or think anything so long as it is at all possible to imagine a habitable world in which he would be free to do, say, and think it. The burden of proof, as I see it, is always upon the policeman, which is to say, upon the lawmaker, the theologian, the right-thinker. He must prove his case doubly, triply, quadruply, and then he must start all over and prove it again. The eye through which I view him is watery and jaundiced. He is the enemy of everything I admire and respect in this world — of everything that makes it various and amusing and charming. He impedes every honest search for the truth. He stands against every sort of good-will and common decency. I am against him until the last galoot’s ashore.
H.L Mencken, 1923

Do you think Mencken hated law, law enforcement, clergy, or conservatism when you read this quote?  I’d love to hear what you think.

So, that’s it for me tonight.  I will write more about Mencken another day.  As for today, it’s “rest-up” day, which means reading, napping and a lot of thinking.

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