The Vintage Mencken Themes

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Elitism

Perhaps the one constant woven throughout Mencken's work is his stark and shocking elitism. In Mencken's worldview, some people are clearly inferior to others, usually along the lines of intelligence or general competence. These people are variously nick-named half-wits, apes, boobs, dolts, idiots, quacks, asses, primates, and yokels. Within this reality, Mencken argues that the superior should rise above this inferior rabble and come to rule in a meritocracy, a system based upon merit. Many categories of people fall into the large net Mencken has cast: Anglo-Saxons, Methodists, Puritans, rural people (especially of the South), evangelicals, Presbyterians, actors, Democrats, Elks, the Rotary Club, chiropractors—the list is probably endless.

Mencken claims these people are ruled by fear and cowardice, and operate from envy of others. Only a stable meritocracy, composed of noble, intelligent, fearless men, might lead this rabble on the right path, a rule guided by...

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This section contains 745 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Vintage Mencken Study Guide
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