I admit freely enough that, by careful breeding, supervision of environment and education, extending over many generations, it might be possible to make an appreciable improvement in the stock of the American Negro, for example, but I must maintain that this enterprise would be a ridiculous waste of energy, for there is a high-caste white stock ready at hand, and it is inconceivable that the Negro stock, however carefully it might be nurtured, could ever even remotely approach it. The educated Negro of today is a failure, not because he meets insuperable difficulties in life, but because he is a Negro.
He is, in brief, a low-caste man, to the manner born, and he will remain inert and inefficient until fifty generations of him have lived in civilization. And even then, the superior white race will be fifty generations ahead of him. In a book review of A Life H. Mencken written by Terry Teachout , journalist Christopher Hitchens described Mencken as a German nationalist , "an antihumanist as much as an atheist," who was "prone to the hyperbole and sensationalism he distrusted in others. Mencken countered the arguments for Anglo-Saxon superiority prevalent in his time in a essay entitled "The Anglo-Saxon", which argued that if there was such a thing as a pure "Anglo-Saxon" race, it was defined by its inferiority and cowardice.
In the edition of Treatise on the Gods , Mencken wrote:. The Jews could be put down very plausibly as the most unpleasant race ever heard of. As commonly encountered, they lack many of the qualities that mark the civilized man: courage, dignity, incorruptibility, ease, confidence.
They have vanity without pride, voluptuousness without taste, and learning without wisdom. Their fortitude, such as it is, is wasted upon puerile objects, and their charity is mainly a form of display.
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That passage was removed from subsequent editions at his express direction. Author Gore Vidal later deflected claims of anti-Semitism against Mencken:. Far from being an anti-Semite, Mencken was one of the first journalists to denounce the persecution of the Jews in Germany at a time when The New York Times , say, was notoriously reticent. On November 27, , Mencken writes Baltimore Sun , "It is to be hoped that the poor Jews now being robbed and mauled in Germany will not take too seriously the plans of various politicians to rescue them.
As Germany gradually conquered Europe, Mencken attacked President Roosevelt for refusing to admit Jewish refugees into the United States and called for their wholesale admission:. There is only one way to help the fugitives, and that is to find places for them in a country in which they can really live. Why shouldn't the United States take in a couple hundred thousand of them, or even all of them? Democracy gives [the beatification of mediocrity] a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth.
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The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world—that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters—which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy.
Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy. This sentiment is fairly consistent with Mencken's distaste for common notions and the philosophical outlook he unabashedly set down throughout his life as a writer drawing on Friedrich Nietzsche and Herbert Spencer , among others.
Mencken wrote as follows about the difficulties of good men reaching national office when such campaigns must necessarily be conducted remotely:. The larger the mob, the harder the test.
Joshi, S. T. 1958-
In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and 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 easily 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 heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. Mencken defended the evolutionary views of Charles Darwin but spoke unfavorably of many prominent physicists and had little regard for pure mathematics. Regarding Charles Angoff, Mencken said:. Imagine measuring infinity! That's a laugh. In response, Angoff said: "Well, without mathematics there wouldn't be any engineering, no chemistry, no physics.
Addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, division, that's what real mathematics is.
The rest is baloney. All of our sciences still suffer from their former attachment to religion, and that is why there is so much metaphysics and astrology, the two are the same, in science. Elsewhere, he spoke of the nonsense of higher mathematics and "probability" theory, after he read Angoff's article for Charles S. Peirce in the American Mercury. I can make no sense of it, and I don't believe you can either, and I don't think your god Peirce knew what he was talking about.
Mencken also repeated these opinions multiple times in articles for the American Mercury. He said mathematics is simply a fiction, compared with individual facts that make up science. The human mind, at its present stage of development, cannot function without the aid of fictions, but neither can it function without the aid of facts—save, perhaps, when it is housed in the skull of a university professor of philosophy. Of the two, the facts are enormously the more important.
In certain metaphysical fields, e. Very few fictions remain in use in anatomy, or in plumbing and gas-fitting; they have even begun to disappear from economics. Mencken repeatedly identified mathematics with metaphysics and theology. According to Mencken, mathematics is necessarily infected with metaphysics because of the tendency of many mathematical people to engage in metaphysical speculation. In a review for A. Whitehead's The Aims of Education , Mencken remarked that despite his agreement with Whitehead's thesis and approval of his writing style, "now and then he falls into mathematical jargon and pollutes his discourse with equations", and "[t]here are moments when he seems to be following some of his mathematical colleagues into the gaudy metaphysics which now entertains them".
Mencken also uses the term "theology" more generally, to refer to the use of logic in science or any other field of knowledge.
here In a review for both A. Eddington's The Nature of the Physical World and Joseph Needham's Man a Machine , Mencken forcefully ridiculed the use of reasoning to establish any fact in science, because theologians happen to be masters of "logic" and yet are mental defectives:. Is there anything in the general thinking of theologians which makes their opinion on the point of any interest or value?
What have they ever done in other fields to match the fact-finding of the biologists? I can find nothing in the record. Their processes of thought, taking one day with another, are so defective as to be preposterous. True enough, they are masters of logic, but they always start out from palpably false premises. Mencken also wrote a review for Sir James Jeans's book, The Mysterious Universe , in which he said that mathematics is not necessary for physics. Instead of mathematical "speculation" such as quantum theory , Mencken believed physicists should just directly look at individual facts in the laboratory like chemists:.
If chemists were similarly given to fanciful and mystical guessing, they would have hatched a quantum theory forty years ago to account for the variations that they observed in atomic weights. But they kept on plugging away in their laboratories without calling in either mathematicians or theologians to aid them, and eventually they discovered the isotopes, and what had been chaos was reduced to the most exact sort of order. In the same article which he later re-printed in the Mencken Chrestomathy , Mencken primarily contrasts what real scientists do, which is to simply directly look at the existence of "shapes and forces" confronting them instead of such as in statistics attempting to speculate and use mathematical models.
Physicists and especially astronomers are consequently not real scientists, because when looking at shapes or forces, they do not simply "patiently wait for further light", but resort to mathematical theory. There is no need for statistics in scientific physics, since one should simply look at the facts while statistics attempts to construct mathematical models. On the other hand, the really competent physicists do not bother with the "theology" or reasoning of mathematical theories such as in quantum mechanics :. Some of the notions which they now try to foist upon the world, especially in the astronomical realm and about the atom, are obviously nonsensical, and will soon go the way of all unsupported speculations.
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But there is nothing intrinsically insoluble about the problems they mainly struggle with, and soon or late really competent physicists will arise to solve them. These really competent physicists, I predict, will be too busy in their laboratories to give any time to either metaphysics or theology. Both are eternal enemies of every variety of sound thinking, and no man can traffic with them without losing something of his good judgment. Mencken ridiculed Albert Einstein 's theory of general relativity , believing that "in the long run his curved space may be classed with the psychosomatic bumps of Gall and Spurzheim".
It is a well known fact that physicists are greatly given to the supernatural. Why this should be I don't know, but the fact is plain. One of the most absurd of all spiritualists is Sir Oliver Lodge. I have the suspicion that the cause may be that physics itself, as currently practised, is largely moonshine. Certainly there is a great deal of highly dubious stuff in the work of such men as Eddington. Mencken's home at Hollins Street in Baltimore's Union Square neighborhood, where he lived for sixty-seven years before his death in , was bequeathed to the University of Maryland, Baltimore on the death of his younger brother, August, in The City of Baltimore acquired the property in , and the H.
Mencken House became part of the City Life Museums. It has been closed to general admission since , but is opened for special events and group visits by arrangement. At his death, it was in possession of most of the present large collection. As a result, his papers as well as much of his personal library, which includes many books inscribed by major authors, are held in the Library's Central Branch on Cathedral Street in Baltimore.
The original third floor H. Mencken Room and Collection housing this collection was dedicated on April 17, Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Laddas ned direkt. His chief amusement, after reading, is piano-playing, this he does very crudely. He takes no exercise except walking and is a moderate eater and drinker.
He sometimes drinks as little as one bottle of beer a week, though this doesn't happen very often. Mencken about himself, in a brief sketch of his life penned in Josefa Ferrer, a famous Chilean singer and star, awakens one morning to read in the Josefa Ferrer, a famous Chilean singer and star, awakens one morning to read in the Santiago newspaper that her best friend, Violeta, has been involved in a brutal act of violence. Overwhelmed with regret and plagued with guilt for not Dear Life.
- Book Review: H.L. Mencken: Prejudices - WSJ.
- Life and Work of H.L. Mencken, Writer and Social Critic.
A Free Life. The Good Life. In this bestselling novel, the author of Bright Lights, Big City unveils a story of In this bestselling novel, the author of Bright Lights, Big City unveils a story of love, family, conflicting desires, and catastrophic loss in a powerfully searing work of fiction. In her singular voice—both humble and brave, touching and humorous—Maxine Hong Kingston gives us a In her singular voice—both humble and brave, touching and humorous—Maxine Hong Kingston gives us a poignant and beautiful memoir-in-verse that captures the wisdom that comes with age.
As she reflects on her sixty-five years, she circles from present to past Life Class. In the spring of , a group of students at the Slade School of Art In the spring of , a group of students at the Slade School of Art have gathered for a life-drawing class.
Paul Tarrant is easily distracted by an intriguing fellow student, Elinor Brooke, but watches from afar when a well-known Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.