Wednesday, October 31, 2007

H. L. Mencken

Tonight I attended the second of five lectures by the Professor David Domke on the subject of religion & politics. I came home with a renewed interest in H. L. Mencken, so for tonight a reprint of "Mencken's Creed":

  • I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind--that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
  • I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious. . .
  • I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
  • I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech . . .
  • I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
  • I believe in the reality of progress.
  • But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.
-- Mencken's Creed, cited by George Seldes in Great Thoughts

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