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Your Mencken for the Day

Prophesy is a dubious business. The best-regarded prophets keep things vague enough to mean anything some follower wants them to mean.

When that won’t work, there’s also the “just move on” method for handling the aftermath of more specific prophesies (which Gary North found handy after Y2K). Another fave of failed prophets is the “it actually happened just as I predicted, but nobody noticed” method recently favored by Harold Camping. (These both have multitudes of amusing variations.)

Creative editing centuries after the fact often helps to ensure the reputation of a less-than-accurate prophet.

H.L. Mencken clearly needs none of those tricks:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

–H.L. Mencken, the Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

Only question is was he talking about God’s own chosen, aka Bush II, or Mr. Healing-the-Planet Obama? Or (I fear) about many even more dubious personages who’ll “lead” us to our downfall?

(H/T. J.G.)


  1. Bear
    Bear May 8, 2014 1:38 pm

    Just a random sampling of recent fools…

    Jimmy “Didja see the teeth on that rabbit?” Carter
    Ronald “We begin bombing in five minutes” Reagan
    “We don’t need no steenkin’ gun owners” Bush I
    Billy Jeff “Oral sex ain’t, so I must be doing it wrong” Clinton
    “I wasn’t drunk; I rendered myself unconscious with a pretzel” Bush II
    Barrycade “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow” Obama

    Narcissism? Two words: Presidential library… (And just what the hell is the most transparent president in history going to put in his library?)

  2. LarryA
    LarryA May 8, 2014 2:00 pm

    A library full of ebooks, all encrypted.

  3. Keith
    Keith May 8, 2014 3:37 pm

    Lead you to your downfall,


    Lead you during [the remainder of] your downfall?

  4. ENthePeasant
    ENthePeasant May 9, 2014 12:27 am

    Having seen Bush doing off the cuff appearances I can say without a doubt he genuinely liked the American people. But never look into the eyes of Obama when he’s talking about truly momentous events. I used to think he had no sense of history of the events he was involved in… Now I see a cold dead fish… as the American people continue to act as if drone strikes that kill great bus loads of innocents are as nothing… Obama’s the embodiment of at least half of the American people.

  5. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty May 9, 2014 5:14 am

    Go all the way back to the start, the Whiskey Rebellion ( only one small example. George Washington was no better or worse a “president” than any other. The entire non-voluntary “government” was based on nothing but force, theft and fraud. Power and control were the absolute goals from the start.

    And a great many people have spent their lives indoctrinating children (and adults) to accept that fraud as legitimate ever since.

    Once they lose the pretense of legitimacy, all hell will break lose.

    Soon… I hope.

  6. Matt, another
    Matt, another May 9, 2014 7:13 am

    ML, don’t forget Shay’s Rebellion either. That cause of that one was interesting.
    It is interesting to see the veil slowly rotting away, soon that illegitimacy will be exposed. It is occuring faster overseas in the old worlds than in the west. It will catch up. The spark didn’t quite catch in Nevada, but came closer than ever before and smouldered enough that people got scared.

  7. LarryA
    LarryA May 9, 2014 10:55 am

    Having seen Bush doing off the cuff appearances

    All the Bushes are real people. I know someone who encounters them often. She says they’re easy to work with, and often do nice stuff for regular people. And they genuinely avoid taking credit for those good deeds.

  8. Pat
    Pat May 9, 2014 11:07 am

    “She says they’re [Bushes] easy to work with, and often do nice stuff for regular people.”

    But good intentions do not pave the way to heaven. And therein lies the fallacy of “good” government.

  9. Shel
    Shel May 9, 2014 2:38 pm

    I, too, have heard nothing but good things about the Bushes on a personal level. Bush II used to talk to families of deceased soldiers and have a picture taken with them, then be late for everything the rest of the day and never say a word about why. Barbara Bush, when people were complaining about the Salvation Army bell ringers at the malls, made a point of publicly going and donating some money to them.

    BHO, by contrast, said that wounded combat veterans should pay for their own medical care because, after all, they volunteered for it. Prior to the last election, when he interviewed on the Comedy Channel (I think), he said – referring to Benghazi – with a sneer on his face that the four deaths were “obviously not optimal.” His pathological narcissism, as we know, is well documented.

    The Republicans in the White House, especially Reagan (and probably Ford) have been good people on a personal level. I’d even include Dick Cheney.

    The Democrats Bill, Hillary, Al Gore, and BHO seem pretty much like turds in that area.

    Regarding policies, I’ve got the same problems everybody else here does with both parties.

  10. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty May 10, 2014 6:23 am

    Shel, I’m sure that there are all kinds of government officials and employees who seem to be “good people” in that context. Might be very kind to their children and pets, give generously to charity, and so forth.

    They ALSO have the power to steal, destroy, commit murder and almost any evil without much fear of retribution… and often with the full approval of all their fellows and far too many of their potential victims. And this applies to the entire spectrum of party affiliation.

    Somehow then, they do not qualify as “good people” in my estimation.

  11. Claire
    Claire May 10, 2014 7:48 am

    I agree with ML. No matter how “nice” Bush II or his family members may seem to those who meet them privately, Bush II used his time in office to concoct devious excuses to commit mass murder. And he stole freedoms in the name of preserving them, which would have been hilarious if it weren’t so tragic. And he was narcissistic enough to claim God was directing his actions.

    Not only a downright fool and narcissistic moron (per Mencken), but a particularly nasty specimen of both “leadership” and morality.

  12. Al Kour
    Al Kour May 14, 2014 3:10 am

    This point was reached in 1932.
    Since then we can see the endless cavalcade of downright fools and complete narcissistic morons.

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