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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 185-186 of H.L. Mencken’s essay “On Government,” as it is reprinted in the 1996 Johns Hopkins University Press collection of some of Mencken’s essays, Prejudices: A Selection:

The new reformer, safe in a government job, with a drastic and complex law behind him, is one who is paid in legal tender, unfailingly proffered, for his passionate but usually unintelligible services to humanity – a prophet of the new enlightenment, a priest at a glittering and immense shrine.  He is the fellow who enforces the Volstead Act, the Mann Act, all the endless laws for putting down sin.  He is the bright evangelist who tours the country teaching mothers how to have babies, spreading the latest inventions in pedagogy, road-making, the export trade, hog-raising and vegetable-canning, waging an eternal war upon illiteracy, hook-worm, the white slave trade, patent medicines, the foot and mouth disease, cholera, infanfum, adultery, rum.  He is, quite as often as not, female; he is a lady Ph.D., cocksure, bellicose, very well paid.  Male or female, he represents the new government tyranny.


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