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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


October 20, 1997.

"Mencken's Creed."

H. L. Mencken, the Bad Boy from Baltimore, was a newspaperman renowned for his tough, rather cynical style and wit: he was the editor of The American Mercury and The Smart Set. The Booboisie, a term coined by Mencken, were those, the totems of society, at whom both he and his mentor, Ambrose Bierce hacked away. The Booboisie were those who were associated with wealth, authority and privilege. Though I have a number of Mencken's books, it was in George Seldes' book, Great Thoughts that I found this, Mencken's creed:

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
I believe in the reality of progress.
I -
But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

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Peter Landry

October, 1997 (2011)