Saturday, January 30, 2010
Mencken, Islam, and Political Correctness
Edward Cline in Capitalism Magazine:
Two months after the John Scopes monkey trial of July 1925, H.L. Mencken, writing for the Baltimore Evening Sun, took to task two prominent publications, the New York World and the New Republic, for castigating Clarence Darrow, chief defense counsel of Scopes, over his conduct during the trial. The World was infuriated by Darrows brutal cross-examination of William Jennings Bryan, the states star counsel against Scopes, an experience which humiliated Bryan and is thought to have contributed to his death later that same month. The New Republic objected to Darrow having made the issue of evolution vs. the Bible a national, rather than merely a local one, even though the trial was broadcast on radio.
What drew Mencken's ire was the Worlds position that one's religious beliefs, should be respected and not subjected to criticism or satire.
Once more I find myself unable to follow the best Liberal thought. What the Worlds contention amounts to, at bottom, is simply the doctrine that a man engaged in combat with superstition should be very polite to superstition. This, I fear, is nonsense. The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force.
More here. [Thanks to Markella Hatziano.]
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 05:14 AM | Permalink