H.L. Mencken- 94 year old Prophecy-Confirmed Authorship!
Summary of eRumor:
Viral emails and blog posts allege that journalist Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken prophesied 94 years ago that a “downright moron” would someday adorn the White House.
This eRumor was taken from a “prophecy” that Mencken made in the last paragraph of an essay that appeared in the Baltimore Evening Sun on July 26, 1920.
The essay, which was called “Bayard vs. Lionheart,” was later collected in a book by Mencken titled “On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe.”
Taken in a broader context, Mencken’s quote was about the challenges future presidential candidates would face in connecting with a growing nationwide electorate:
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by the force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notions that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Mencken was nicknamed the Sage of Baltimore and was a well-known journalist and author before his death in 1956. He was an outspoken advocate of the First Amendment and civil liberties, according to the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House website.