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Always Good to Quote Mencken

Here’s  letter to a new reader of Café Hayek

Mr. Myers:

Thanks for your e-mail.

Unhappy with what you describe as my “emotional lashing out” in this recent blog post, you “plead for more detailed analysis at Cafe Hayek of the specific pros & cons of candidates’ proposals.”

I don’t deny the utility of such analyses when offered by competent people, but I’m not the person to regularly supply them. When a candidate says something about which I know the details, I might attempt the sort of analysis that you seek. Mostly, though, I find the speeches and shrieks of politicians to be too insufferable to endure. These are almost never meant for audiences of serious adults. They seem, overwhelmingly, designed to appeal to ignorant and ill-mannered children.

H.L. Mencken, writing in 1927, summed up nicely my thoughts along these lines:

Have you ever examined carefully the speeches made by the candidates in a Presidential campaign? If so, you know that they are of bilge and blather all compact. Now and then, true enough, one of the august aspirants to the Washington breeches is goaded or misled into saying something pungent and even apposite, but not often, not deliberately. His daily stint is simply balderdash.”

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

* H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: A Selection (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), page 233.