Nothing ever changes

Mencken continues. Government “invades his liberty and collars his money in order to protect him, but in actuality, it always makes a stiff profit on the exchange. This profit represents the income of the professional politicians, nine-tenths of whom are professional rogues.” That was then. The rogues are smoother now and often endearing on television. They are also no longer paid for by such chicken feed as kickbacks on city contracts. Rather, they are the proud employees of the bankers and the military industrial procurers who have bought them their offices, both square and oval. But though we are worse off than in Mencken’s day, he was at least able to give one cheer for the Constitution, or at least for the idea of such a document, as a kind of stoplight: “So far you may go, but no further. No matter what excuse or provocation, you may not invade certain rights, or pass certain kinds of laws.”

” Inevitably, Mencken’s journalism is filled with stories of how our enumerated rights are constantly being evaded or struck down because it is the reflexive tactic of the politicians “to invade the Constitution stealthily, and then wait to see what happens. If nothing happens they go on more boldly; if there is a protest they reply hotly that the Constitution is worn out and absurd, and that progress is impossible under the dead hand. This is the time to watch them especially.”

Foreword to The Impossible H.L. Mencken

[x]#190 fan dinsdag 11 juni 2002 @ 21:19:56