Heed H.R. Mencken : Economy Notwithstanding, This Election Not a Sure Thing

H.R. Mencken: Some wisdom worth heeding?

‘We face an election currently as did the USA and Germany in 1932’
By S.R. Keister / The Rag Blog / September 21, 2008

H.L. Mencken once wrote, “The only way to success in American life lies in flattering and kow-towing to the mob.”

It seems an axiom that the American public will support the Democratic Party in the Autumn if the economy is in tatters. Is this assumption valid looking at a historical precedent? I have been party to a discussion with several well trained academics in the fields of history, economics, anthropology, and sociology and we are not at all certain of that presumption. We have coined the term the “Weimar Syndrome.”

Let us begin to look at several features of this line of reasoning. The current American electorate is much less informed, less cultured, less interested, and less educated than the citizens of the Weimar Republic 1919-1932.

Germany after World War I was not devastated, though suffering thousands of casualties, as the actual fighting had been on French soil. The nation was humiliated by the Versailles Treaty; however, at the Treaty of Paris had received Allsaise-Lorraine from France. During the Weimar period the German intelligencia and artistic communities thrived. Physicians and engineers came from around the world to study in Germany. The culture of the cabaret, the avantguarde came into being; however, the culture produced more serious artists and thinkers such as Bertoit Brecht, Kurt Weill, and Arnold Schoenberg among others. Art, music, engineering, medicine, and psychology thrived.

Yet, there was a cultural undercurrent of respect for authority developed under the century long rein of the Hohenzollerns (The Empire). There was a respect for the history and mythology of a superior people and nation, reinforced by a pride in militarism and a strong religious influence. In spite of the daring-do there was a strong feeling of family and tradition. There was a feeling of pride in the industrial might of the capitalists such as Krupp and Farben.

The great depression enfolded Germany in 1929 as it did the remainder of the Western World and thinking was that the Social Democrat Party would be the logical institution to turn to in time of financial crises.

We face an election currently as did the USA and Germany in 1932. We currently have the choice of an elderly gentleman, with an obviously failing memory, but an expert in changing the topic, avoiding productive discussion, and an expert at throwing out well rehearsed one-liners. Aligned with him a woman, a cross between Lucrecia Borgia and Shakespeare’s Katerina, with great appeal to the NRA and Religious Right. Both are experts at jingoism and exhorting divine guidance. On the other hand we have two well educated, thinking, sophisticated gentlemen who try their best to present the nation’s problems in a well defined and learned way. Yet, one gentleman presents something “different.” In the mind of the unsophisticated.

Something “different” is perhaps something to be feared. The British newspaper The Guardian recently had an extensive article on American “anti-intellectualism.”

With the economic collapse in both the USA and Germany in 1932 the electorate in both nations looked for underlying reasons, the American people recognized unbridled capitalism as the probable cause, while the German’s blamed other nations, as we now blame Islamic extremists, and people of a “different type” within their society. Remember the economy was similar in both nations. America elected FDR, but the Germans, fearing “something different” in the Social Democratic Party, the reasonable choice, made another choice which changed the history of the world.

Please let us not take anything for granted, as the future of the nation is at stake. As one whose ancestors arrived here in 1754, I live in fear that this may indeed be the end of our Republic as we have known it. Obama is not perfect but please, please, let this old curmudgeon take his last breath in a nation based on good will, trust, and respect for the better things in man’s nature. At least Obama has integrity, honor, a sense of reason, and feeling for those less fortunate.

Again, Mencken: “There’s no underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

[S.R. Keister posts to Progressives for Obama.]

The Rag Blog

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2 Responses to Heed H.R. Mencken : Economy Notwithstanding, This Election Not a Sure Thing

  1. Anonymous says:

    May your last breath be a long time from now – but made easier by having been taken in an era of hope, honesty & peace

  2. My family on my mother’s side, came in 1631. My father’s family came here in 1734.

    I’m a DAR simply because they created the DAR; I’m nothing more than another generation of people who believe in the power of our country, so long as we RETURN TO THE VALUES that America once seemed to represent.

    I copied this from your post:

    Please let us not take anything for granted, as the future of the
    nation is at stake. As one whose ancestors arrived here in 1754, I
    live in fear that this may indeed be the end of our Republic as we
    have known it. Obama is not perfect but please, please, let this old
    curmudgeon take his last breath in a nation based on good will,
    trust, and respect for the better things in man’s nature. At least
    Obama has integrity, honor, a sense of reason, and feeling for those
    less fortunate.

    We will not take our last breath based on this beautiful words of wisdom, but we will start to BREATHE AGAIN based upon our will; our decency, and with Obama as our ‘guide’, he will help us cut our way through the wildnerness and confusion of so many years of manipulation and destruction by the likes of the Bush family; the Reagan family, and those who bear the bastardized names from a nation known as Nazi Germany.

    From Greenspan to Greenspun – do your history lesson. Bush without the Busch – check it out.

    The Reagan name; again, check the Germanic spelling.

    Ronald Reagan was a stage and actor’s name; not his real name.

    Even Roy Rogers who chose his name, could not undo the history and fact, that he was part of the ‘Nazi’ thinking in this country. No, we don’t want to believe that, but when you research it and prove it to be true, you will come to understand the power of those ‘white folk’ who still will not accept a person who is a ‘mutt’ or a person of color that is a bit darker than the tan of the rich who get it on the backs of those who are truly brown from heritage and tired from servitude. /ds

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