I just finished a superb book - a collection of writings of H. L. Mencken titled, "The Impossible H. L. Mencken" edited by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers. This is without doubt one of the best books I've read in years, combining insight, humor and lots of $10 words. Here's the last selection which view coincides with my own.
*** excerpt begins ***
Quod est veritas? I know the answer no more than Pilate did. But this, at least, I have observed in forty-five years: that there are men who search for it, whatever it is, wherever it may lie, patiently, honestly, with due humility, and that there are other men who battle endlessly to put it down, even though they don't know what it is. To the first class belong the scientists, the experimenters, the men of curiosity. To the second belong the politicians, bishops, professors, mullahs, tin-pot messiahs, frauds and exploiters of all sorts --- in brief, the men of authority.
My inclination, I suspect, makes me lean heavily in favor of the former. I am, as the phrase is, prejudiced in their favor. They fall, now and then, into grievous errors, but in their fall there is still something creditable, something that takes away all shame. What fetches them is the common weakness of humanity, imperfectly made by a God whose humor has been greatly underestimated. They have, at least, the virtue of fairness. And that of courage. Unhorsed, they pick themselves up and try again. They do not call for the police.
In the other camp I find no such virtues. All I find there is a vast enmity to the free functioning of the spirit of man. There may be, for all I know, some truth there, but it is truth made into whips, rolled into bitter pills. It is truth that has somehow lost all dignity, all beauty, all eloquence and charm. More often, it is not truth at all, but simply folly bedizened*. Whatever it is, it is guarded by the common enemies of mankind: theologians, lawyers, policemen, men armed with books, guns, clubs, goads, ropes.
I find myself out of sympathy with such men, I shall keep challenging them until the last galoot's** ashore.
*** end of excerpt ***
That was written September 7, 1925 and published in The Baltimore Evening Sun. And it is without doubt as applicable today as then.
Word of the Day
"Bedizen" - verb, transitive [$10] poetic, a Mencken word.
Bedizen means to deck out gaudily. From be + obsolete 'dizen' meaning 'deck out'.
Sentence: see * above.
"Galoot" - noun, colloquial [$10] a Mencken word
Galoot means a person, especially a strange or clumsy one. [19th century nautical slang]
Sentence: see ** above.