How to Write Vigorously

Colin McNickle:

What a tragedy that the kind of verity [H.L.] Mencken made a career of proffering today is widely misunderstood if not derided, considered impolitic if not profane. Consider that a sad victory for those who profit from either concealing the truth or being too ignorant to know it.

Outraged that the truth often was the first casualty of politics, government and religion, Mencken used words like a cudgel to ridicule those who pandered in falsehoods. It seldom fit the definition of "civil," as defined then or now. But then again, there was nothing "civil" about the kind of charlatanry Mencken exposed and railed against.

The quacksalvers, of course, ply their trade still; they always will. Unfortunately, 50 years after his death, there are too few Menckens to keep these common chiselers and cozeners at bay.

Our pocketbooks, our faith and our republic are worse for the deficit.

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