Mencken on Politics

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. ” –H. L. Mencken

4 thoughts on “Mencken on Politics

  1. I’ve had the misfortune to see this at work twice. First in apartheid South Africa where the government kept themselves in power and excused their actions by convincing the whites on the country that if the country ever became a democracy the first thing the black majority would do is kill all the whites. Of course thanks to a few visionaries that didn’t happen and we’re a peaceful democracy today. Great movie documenting part of that journey called Invictus coming out soon.

    The second is of course post 9/11 USA. During the last 8 years my parents and South African friends have commented more than once about the parallels. Perhaps another visionary will lead the US back to the moral high ground.

    History repeating itself like this for the last 2000 years makes one wonder what ever happened to evolution.


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  2. I am also reminded of:

    “The mechanisms of Power are evrywhere and always the same: It selects it’s victim, decries the Diferences and calls for unity against the common enemy.” A. Whitehead

    In 1947 Dulles told Truman that the people would be easy to lead if you just “scare the Hell out of them.” And started the Cold War, ad the nuclear arms race, when the Soviets had three warheads and NO ICBMs at all.

    Divisiveness, and the divide and conquer ideology can be undone through the politics of inclusion. You find similarities, and build on affinity, not differences. “I hope the Russians love their children too..”

    Tis is political evolution.

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