The Great H.L. Mencken: A Retrospective

In his political and economic opinions Mencken was from the beginning, to repeat, neither “radical” nor “conservative,” but libertarian. He championed the freedom and dignity of the individual. Therefore he always considered Socialism preposterous. He had never known a Socialist, he was fond of saying, who wasn’t crazy on other subjects as well. One of his very earliest books, Men vs. the Man, published in 1910, was a debate against a Socialist. His famous blast against “this Prof. Dr. Thorstein B. Veblen, head Great Thinker to the parlor radicals, Socrates of the intellectual Greenwich Village, chief star [at least transiently] of the American Atheneums,” appeared, it is important to recall, in 1919, in the very first series of the Prejudices, and at the beginning of the great Mencken vogue.