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“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. ”
― H.L. Mencken


LenHazell53 9 Oct 12

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Mencken was a hyper-sarcastic cynic trying to be a wit.

A cynic is just the word an idealist uses when faced with a realist.


It definately does have truth in it. We are at a point in time that presents unique challenges as well. The amount of disinformation is staggering. So it's not just a matter of being unaware, but have you been willfully mislead? And misinformation is often a direct result of disinformation, so it's like a lie that begets MORE lies and just the sheer amount of mistruths can lead to mistrust of REAL information. Democracy has to withstand a constant battering.


That's a statement most frequently quoted by people that think they're so much smarter than the rest of the population. Mencken was a satirist like Clemens (Mark Twain) so the comment had a hyperbolic aspect that indicates to me it's not meant to be considered an absolute. Mencken was frequently astonished at the ignorance of the American Political choices, as we all should be after 2016.
The US had an IQ test and failed, we're about to take the same test.
The answer is "Anyone and anything but Trump"
A blowfish would have been a better president, at least a blowfish has no opinion on face mask.

"That's a statement most frequently quoted by people that think they're so much smarter than the rest of the population."
Are you genuinely contending that there are NOT people who ARE much smarter than the rest of the population?

@LenHazell53 I'm contending that everyone thinks they're the ones in that group and only a rare few are right. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck but even I know I'm not one of them.
Do you think you're one?

We're about to take the same test but this time we have four years of answers available to us and some of us are still going to fail!

@Willow_Wisp I have met people who are cleverer than I, more intelligent than I and more knowledgeable than I and I have taken the opportunity to learn from them.
I have met infinitely more people who were less clever than I, less intelligent than I and less knowledgeable than I. These I choose to correct, teach or ignore depending on how honest they are about their own capabilities.
I therefore judge myself to be above average in most aspects of brain power, how far above only testing could determine and I am not that interested to go to the bother of finding out.

@LenHazell53 I encounter a bunch of people that are well informed about things they're interested in, or that are relevant in their life. That I know stuff they don't know is no indication that I'm smarter or better informed generally only on specific topics. At one time I looked down on the High School jocks thinking I was so superior due to my love of math and science which they seemed to know nothing about. Then one day I listened to one of those dumb MFers quote off an impressive list of sports statistics. Any assumption that my intelligence is better is hubris. It's all about the focus, and most people aren't focused on what I'm focused on. It's easy to fall into hubris unless inoculated by a study of humans that proves once and for all the range of human intelligence is both narrow and high for all people, even the ones that stubbornly hang on to stupid ass ideas.

I never claimed that mental prowess was better than physical prowess, or artistic ability or practical talent, I resent the implication that I did.
You are trying to divert by changing the subject.
The fact is that some people are more intelligent, more knowledgeable, or cleverer than other people, and that to not utilise those people's abilities out of a childish envy is stupid false pride.
If I need a doctor, I go to a doctor for advice and treatment, I don't go to a brick layer and say "He's just as good." Likewise if I need a strong wall built I don't go to a doctor because he is clever, I get a professional Brickie.
Horses for courses.
Yet in the west we still cling to this idiotic idea that intelligence is not something to be proud of, that clever people are somehow despicable and condescending, because at school "The Swot" was something to be despised.
I am not at school anymore, I don't have playground arguments based on silly insecurities.

@LenHazell53 I never brought up physical prowess, I'm saying that the net amount of information/misinformation is roughly the same in most people. And the person you think is so much dumber than you could run rings around you in certain categories of trivial pursuit while you would run rings around them in other categories. So you can resent me for implications I never made, it's what conservatives do to me all the time, I am used to it.
And on that note competence is what I value, not your ego, and if my opinion on this were based on silly insecurities I'd sound a lot more like Trump than this.

"you can resent me for implications I never made, it's what conservatives do to me all the time,"
I don't and I am a socialist.

@LenHazell53 Ok, in that case resent me all you want. As I said I am used to it.

@Willow_Wisp I just said I don't resent you, why would I? I simply disagree with you.

@LenHazell53 you said
"I never claimed that mental prowess was better than physical prowess, or artistic ability or practical talent, I resent the implication that I did."
Do you remember your own words?
If not why do you judge me for mine?


HL Menchken was a bad guy. The diary of H. L. Mencken is filled with Anti-Semitism, Racism and Nazi leanings. Why would you site him as a source?

Because I am not a cancel culture moron.
Hitler and Goebbels talk about the "Big Lie" in their respective works, a political trick that has been used to enormous effect for years, that fact that two despicable men developed it, doe not make it untrue.
An aphorism stands upon its own truth and value, regardless of who said it.
Why would you be so stupid as to not know that?

@LenHazell53 Correct. Perhaps we stand to learn the most from those who ruled from the abysmal pit. The comment is yet another jab at the idea of democracy, the idea of sovereignity being the right of the ppl. It's spoken like a true authoritarian would speak, either that or it really is just a joke.

@LenHazell53 "Because I am not a cancel culture moron." What kind of moron are you? "Why would you be so stupid as to not know that?" Maybe I'm just smart because I support democratic principles and I disagree with Hitler, Goebbels

Seriously, you cannot differentiate between the created and the creator?
By the way an ellipsis only has three dots not four, and indicates an omission not a pause unless followed by a comma or a space. 😊

@LenHazell53 Grammar Nazi

@barjoe You forgot the full stop. 🙂


That guy was a real misanthrope, wasn't he! Though when you look at how people behave in general maybe you can't blame him. I've been reading Nextdoor (a neighborhood social networking service—you see posts from people in surrounding neighborhoods) and there are so many morons living nearby, I'm glad I never talk to them, seriously. But I live in a red area in a blue state, that is a Republican area in a mostly Democratic state, so I suppose it's not surprising.

I think democracy only works if the electorate is well-educated, and in the United States anyway, if you can come out of our school system well-educated you're a fucking miracle, you are. Add to that what passes for news and entertainment around here, kind of not surprising we have a president like Donald Trump.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of 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 adorned by a downright moron.”
― H.L. Mencken

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