Sunday, June 19, 2016

An endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary

I am always perplexed by H.L. Mencken. I have read a few of his books. I have dipped often into his The American Language. What a mix of muscular management of the English language, almost admirable arrogance, obnoxious toxicity and occasionally repugnant attitudes.

But what a way with words and what an eye for cutting truth.

From In Defense of Women (1918) there is the timeless observation.
Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; 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, most of them imaginary.
In our current governance environment, riddled with regulatory capture, rent seeking, and crony capitalism, we are inundated with pathological do-goodery mixed with blitheful incompetence and blind indifference to catastrophic unintended consequences.

NGOs, special interests, and advocacy groups seek to tweak the levers of power to circumvent the consent of the governed to coercively impose some policy or outcome inimical to truth. Income inequality, gender wage gap, campus rape culture, anthropogenic global warming, patriarchy, critical race theory: an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary, all used to menace the populace into something beneficial to the conjurers of such hobgoblins and to no one else.

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