Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I am a great fan of H. L. Mencken. He was responsible for many notable quotes that cover just about any circumstance, each with his biting wit and accurate insights about the human condition. Here is one that pretty much fits the current hysteria about terrorism in Washington:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Is there really a terrorist threat? Sure there is. There are numerous crazies in the world who want to hurt anyone with whom they disagree. I don't discount that reality for a moment. What I wonder about is why the general populace could ever think that surrendering more and more of their own liberties will help solve the problem.

There is little personal privacy left, and what little there is won't last long. There is little opportunity left for the individual to move about freely, without harassment at the hands of numerous official functionaries, and what little there is won't last long. There is little respect left for the citizens who put up with all the bullshit, who have to pay for it all via taxation, and who are all faced with the realization that their lives and those of their offspring will be encumbered by these liabilities for generations to come.

So what is the answer, the practical and final solution to these problems? I honestly don't know. All I know is that treating every honest and responsible citizen like shit in order to protect us all from a few loonies is not the answer.

Maybe what would need to happen would be for the politicians and meddlers of our world to recognize that we should try to solve the problems in our own back yard first, and leave the rest of the world to do the same. That would surely be a good start.


  1. I've been thinking along the same lines recently, and have asked the question "is this solving the problem, or merely treating the symptom?".

    I find that when I look at any number of things, I see a bandaid solution, not a true fix. Someone has a headache, take a Tylenol. It fixes the pain but not the cause, of which there are many. The list goes on, from small to large issues. We never deal with the root of the problem, only the symptom.

    I believe we are doing the same with terrorism. Treat the symptoms of it by more security, etc, but nothing is done about the root cause... the people behind the terrorism. Seems like the US/UK, etc took the initiative and went in the right direction, but have completely failed to follow through and it's turned into a sad situation. They've snipped the dandilion at the ground level, but left the root intact...

    This is a good train of thought. I may get around to writing a blog post if I can find the time.

    Enjoying the blog. I read it every time you post!

  2. Thanks, Trooper. Big problems are not always in search of big solutions. Another Mencken quote was: "I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office."

    Politicians don't often search for solutions that are correct; they search for solutions that are expedient and are most likely to get them re-elected.

  3. Re: terrorist threats. There are terrorist threats everywhere in the world. Two places where I've spent considerable time have been subject to threats. Israel and Thailand.

    The attitude toward them is entirely different than in the US though. In those two places, we took reasonable precautions and went on with our lives.