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Oh What I Wouldn’t Give to Have Mencken Live Again

Here’s a letter to Reason:


Stephanie Slade eloquently exposes the arrogance and intolerance that constitute – and the grave danger posed by – what she accurately labels “will-to-power” conservatism (“Will-to-Power Conservatism and the Great Liberalism Schism,” October 2020). Ms. Slade’s essay calls to mind this long-ago, tho’ sadly still relevant, observation by that most astute of all Americans who have ever pressed pen to paper, H.L. Mencken:

“But the right to freedom obviously involves the right to be foolish. If what I say must be passed on for its sagacity by censors, however wise and prudent, then I have no free speech. And if what I may believe – about gall-stones, the Constitution, castor-oil, or God – is conditioned by law, then I am not a free man.”*

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, A Mencken Chrestomathy (New York: Knopf, 1949), page 344.