Overnight Mencken

By: | Post date: January 9, 2018 | Comments: No Comments

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“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. 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.” –From On Politics

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

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”


I can’t really believe that most people take democracy as a concept completely seriously.  How far should the majority be allowed to go?  Is anything off limits?  If not, 51% of the people could do whatever they wanted.  They could vote for slavery.  But certain things are off limits, and most people would agree to that.  But to say that is to be against pure democracy. So, to reverse the question, how much should be off limits from the desires of the majority?  I’ll leave it at that, but it’s an interesting thought experiment.  And one way to keep our sanctimoniousness in check.