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Sunday, December 19, 2004


"The whole aim of practical politics," H.L. Mencken once wrote, "is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

I don't entirely agree - I think many of the hobgoblins government gets bossy about are about 1/2 an inch tall - but they look bigger in a TV close up.

Al Quaeda once killed as many Americans as die on the roads every 2 months & have done nothing comparable since yet they are regularly referred to as a major threat to the survival of western civilization justifying imprisonment without trial, ID cards & various things once considered part of western civilization. Feeding the wprld's hungry (GM foods) because of purely imaginary threats. Global warming is, so far, imaginary in that it exists only in computer models which are increasingly failing to match real weather observations, yet Koyoto is allowing government regulation to diminish our wealth by literally many billions of $. Regular readers will know my opinion of the dangers of nuclear power. Freedom of speech is being ever more restricted on the grounds that if people hear something they don't like they will start rioting.

I have only recently found the Mencken page. He was a cynical old curmudgeon so politically incorrect as to nowadays be considered a right wing American by people who don't understand the historic problems of politics through the ages.

As a convinced atheist my favourite essay is Where is the Graveyard of Dead Gods

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