Darxus

Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

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2009-09-29
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_l_mencken.html

"All government, of course, is against liberty."

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under."

"Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time."

When I first became fond of H. L. Mencken's quotes I felt like I needed to read more about him, fearing that he might be a person I wouldn't want to be associated with liking. I no longer have that concern.

Thanks to [info]feng_huang for the link.
  • "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

    ...and now you know why I get all bent when some idiot decides to 'tackle' some complex social issue with "Well, why don't they all just $action?"
    • As one who frequently asks "Well, why don't they all just $action?",
      let me point out that this is never (in my case) and rarely (in most
      other people's cases, at least in my experience) intended as a
      solution to the problem; instead, it's intended as a first step toward
      a better understanding of why the simple solutions don't work, which is
      likely to be useful knowledge in the construction of a better solution.

      And now you know why I get all bent when some idiot refuses to tackle
      some complex social issue by ignoring questions of the form "Well,
      why don't they all just $action?".
      • It's sometimes hard to tell if it's an honest question or a rhetorical one. The former should be encouraged and discussed as you mention, while the later should be ridiculed and ignored as [info]mangosteen implies.
      • As one who frequently asks "Well, why don't they all just $action?",
        let me point out that this is never (in my case)[...]intended as a
        solution to the problem[...]


        So noted, and I'll keep that in mind when discussing subjects with you. I have had significantly different experiences when it comes to said rhetorical device, though. The behavior I typically witness is that the person holds onto their 'solution' and every counter-argument is dismissed as a mere implementation detail.

  • Mencken is awesome! When I played the character based on him in Inherit the Wind (a fictionalized version of the Scopes “Monkey Trial”) I read some of his contemporary reporting of the case on microfiche, and it sure was a breath of fresh air to read a reporter without the late-20th-century press’s aspiration to blandness. He’s kind of a reportorial Mark Twain.
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