Skip to comments.H. L. Mencken Predicted Donald Trump, the Enlightened Rabble-Rouser
Posted on 07/26/2016 12:25:25 PM PDT by poconopundit
At last week's Republican convention, Trump proclaimed to the working people of America: "I am your voice". It was an admission of something Trump supporters have known all along: Trump is the champion of WE THE PEOPLE.
Yet thirteen months and 10,000 media stories later, the journalist class is still in denial about what Trump is about. Plus he's been called "vulgar" and "not Presidential" by elite pundits like Bill Kristol, George Will, and countless others.
Well, as usual, my good FRiend HarleyLady27 clears away smoke in order, as she explain in a recent comment:
The man can be a brilliant speaker, but he needed to get to the "dumbed down" middle class people, where he lives, works, hires, listens. This is how he had to talk at his rallies: he had to grab their attention span, which wasn't that long and zero in on his points...
And the man walked away from the roll call vote with over 1,700 delegates... Call the man anything you want, but don't call this man stupid, far from it, he already is a year into his Presidency and we haven't even gotten to November yet...
This vanity will take the notion of "voice of middle class people" to a whole new level thanks to the commentary of maybe the greatest pundit America has ever seen: H. L. Mencken.
Back in the days of the Great Depression, Mencken wrote a short essay entitled, Vox Populi, a highly insightful and devilishly-fun-to-read analysis of the American political scene — as you'll soon see.
Now a very interesting point her is that Vox Populi seems to presage the arrival of a Trump, a man with a good sense of how the society should be led, and someone who is also a master in the arts of persuasion and influencing the masses.
What I've done here is extract and lightly edit the best parts the text. Hopefully this will excite you enough to read the full essay or even get yourself a copy of the book I found it in: H. L. Mencken's Smart Set Criticismwhich holds a special place on my library shelf.
So are you telegraphing that it’s time to hoist the black flag and spit upon our hands...? just curious... /h
| FRiends, an essay by H. L. Mencken that will enlighten and make you laugh. Trump is the living embodiment of the political leader Mencken was advocating for...
Today’s political rulers have drowned in their own corruption. But beware the man who is given the power to ‘fix’ things by his power; you may get what you wanted and more.
Mencken was stating what he thought was the default position of ALL our leaders.
If you want to channel H L Mencken, he would place the Clintons and Obama and all the democrats light years ahead of Trump for demagoguery.
Looks like somebody still can’t accept Trump’s appeal, which is his collective campaign stands, plus a solid record of unusual accomplishments. Actual accomplishments, ones not based on empty rhetoric.
How country club Republican of you.
Sounds like a liberal/socialist/fabian society kinda guy. His contempt for humanity is palpable.
What has Obama or Cointons taught us
i never thought i would see a guy who had worse hair than donald trump.
I'm not denying Trump's great accomplishments -- I'm one of his biggest fans -- but I agree with Mencken that he's also succeeding because he knows how to influence all the voters, not just the political elite and intelligentsia.
Quite the opposite, H.L. Mencken was an old-school conservative (basically libertarian) opponent of FDR and the New Deal. He certainly wouldn't have had any use for Clinton or Obama, being an enemy of both political cronyism and the welfare state. I doubt Mencken would like any contemporary politicians very much either, including Trump, since he disliked demagogues and was wary of mass movements in general, for better or for worse.
His contempt for humanity is palpable.
That much is true. Mencken saw himself as America's version of Friedrich Nietzsche.
Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on their rational side. Demagoguery is a manipulative approach often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians that appeals to the worst nature of people.
Explain what is irrational about Trump’s campaign issues.
Note, Reed rejected Wilson's League a full week before any Republican joined him (Borah, was the first); and as the Mencken piece makes clear, was really the master debater who more than any other destroyed the Wilsonian fallacy.
Reed was also an advocate of a strong Navy, and predicted the course of the Japanese attack in the Pacific in 1922, in opposing the Naval disarmament treaty.
1922 was not during the Great Depression. It was during the postwar boom. Liberals used to love Menken for his contempt for the common man, until his diaries were released in the 80’s, and he was revealed to be a racist, anti-Semetic fascist. Then they dropped him like a hot rock.
Today we would say "clever marketing" and "creating a powerful image" -- Trump is a master at that.
Now as far as issues are concerned, I think he's overstated the ability to keep American companies competitive across the board. Yes, in the near term, he can take steps to keep jobs and money in the country, but international product/service quality has improved to the point that you can't keep all industries through protectionist policies.
The Trump ties, for example, are made in Asia and if you did not source from low cost suppliers in Asia (and elsewhere) then retail stores would dry up because you could not afford to hire the people who stock the shelves and work the cash registers.
So this is an example of where Trump is overstating the case, I think. OK, so why do I think Trump is doing this? Because he needs blue collar votes to win -- and winning will save the country. We can't afford to let Hillary win: she would destroy the Republic.
What did he say that was racist? It's true that his words today sometimes offend our ears. But given his time in writing this was 1922, he was probably reflecting the prejudices and biases of his era.
Even if you concede that he was racist in certain respects, the was a great thinker across a very wide writing career. For example, at one point he was the foremost literary critic of his time.
Mencken was many things, but a fascist wasn't one of them. He despised Hitler and Mussolini as he despised all demagogues, cults of personality, and power grabs by the government. He opposed Roosevelt and the New Deal because he detected shades of the same tendencies, though not as extreme, in his policies.
As for his "racism" and "anti-Semitism," Mencken made plenty of politically incorrect remarks about blacks and about Jews, often tongue in cheek, the most famous being "An anti-Semite is someone who hates Jews more than necessary". However, Mencken hated the Ku Klux Klan and crude race/Jew-baiting much more than he ever disliked blacks or Jews (one of the reasons Mencken detested Henry Ford was because of Ford's credulous peddling of "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion"). If anything, Mencken was probably less "racist" than the average white American in the 1920's.
The last lines could have been written about today's Congress:
Reed was an absolute terror to phonies in the Senate, even as Mencken describes.
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