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Notes on Democracy Notes on Democracy by H.L. Mencken
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“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
“Public opinion, in its raw state, gushes out in the immemorial form of the mob's fear. It is piped into central factories, and there it is flavored and colored, and put into cans.”
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
“An intelligent man is one who is capable of taking in knowledge until the natural limits of the species are reached.. A stupid man is one whose progress is arrested at some specific time and place before then. There thus appears in psychology - and the next instant in politics - the concept of the unteachable. Some men can learn almost indefinitely; their capacity goes on increasing until their bodies begin to wear out. Others stop in childhood, even in infancy. They reach, say , the mental age of ten or twelve, and then they develop no more. Physically, they become men, and sprout beards, political delusions, and the desire to propagate their kind. But mentally they remain on the level of schoolboys.”
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
“His condition had plainly improved. Once a slave , he was now only a serf. Once condemned to silence, he was now free to criticize his masters, and even to flout them, and the ordinances of God with them..”
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
“It takes advantage of every passing craze and delusion of the mob to dispose of those who oppose it, and it maintains a complex and highly effective machine for launching such crazes and delusions when the supply of them lags.”
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy