Notes On Democracy

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[Democracy] is, perhaps, the most charming form of government ever devised by man... It is based on propositions that are palpably not true and what is not true, as everyone knows, is always immensely more fascinating and satisfying to the vast majority of men than what is true...

H.L. Mencken, America's greatest journalist and critic, wrote Notes on Democracy over 80 years ago. His time, the paranoid and intolerant years of World War I, Prohibition and the Scopes trial, is strikingly like our own. Notes isn't just a blast from the past, but also a perceptive and unsentimental report on contemporary life.
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About the author

H.L MENCKEN was born in Baltimore in 1880 and died there in 1956. He began his long career as a journalist, critic, and philologist on the Baltimore Morning Herald in 1899. In 1906 he joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun, thus beginning an association which lasted until a few years before his death. He was co-editor of the Smart Set with George Jean Nathan from 1908 to 1923, and with Nathan he founded The American Mercury, of which he was sole editor from 1925 to 1933. He was the author of many books, most notably The American Language, Prejudices, Happy Days, Newspaper Days, Heathen Days, and Minority Report.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Knopf
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Published on
Mar 20, 2013
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780307830784
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Humor
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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With unflinching gaze and uncompromising intensity Julius Evola analyzes the spiritual and cultural malaise at the heart of Western civilization and all that passes for progress in the modern world. As a gadfly, Evola spares no one and nothing in his survey of what we have lost and where we are headed. At turns prophetic and provocative, Revolt against the Modern World outlines a profound metaphysics of history and demonstrates how and why we have lost contact with the transcendent dimension of being.

The revolt advocated by Evola does not resemble the familiar protests of either liberals or conservatives. His criticisms are not limited to exposing the mindless nature of consumerism, the march of progress, the rise of technocracy, or the dominance of unalloyed individualism, although these and other subjects come under his scrutiny. Rather, he attempts to trace in space and time the remote causes and processes that have exercised corrosive influence on what he considers to be the higher values, ideals, beliefs, and codes of conduct--the world of Tradition--that are at the foundation of Western civilization and described in the myths and sacred literature of the Indo‑Europeans. Agreeing with the Hindu philosophers that history is the movement of huge cycles and that we are now in the Kali Yuga, the age of dissolution and decadence, Evola finds revolt to be the only logical response for those who oppose the materialism and ritualized meaninglessness of life in the twentieth century.

Through a sweeping study of the structures, myths, beliefs, and spiritual traditions of the major Western civilizations, the author compares the characteristics of the modern world with those of traditional societies. The domains explored include politics, law, the rise and fall of empires, the history of the Church, the doctrine of the two natures, life and death, social institutions and the caste system, the limits of racial theories, capitalism and communism, relations between the sexes, and the meaning of warriorhood. At every turn Evola challenges the reader’s most cherished assumptions about fundamental aspects of modern life.

A controversial scholar, philosopher, and social thinker, JULIUS EVOLA (1898-1974) has only recently become known to more than a handful of English‑speaking readers. An authority on the world’s esoteric traditions, Evola wrote extensively on ancient civilizations and the world of Tradition in both East and West. Other books by Evola published by Inner Traditions include Eros and the Mysteries of Love, The Yoga of Power, The Hermetic Tradition, and The Doctrine of Awakening.
"I am quite convinced that all religions, at bottom, are pretty much alike. On the surface they may seem to differ greatly, but what appears on the surface is not always religion. Go beneath it, and one finds invariably the same sense of helplessness before the cosmic mysteries, and the same pathetic attempt to resolve it by appealing to higher powers."--from Treatise on the Gods

H. L. Mencken is perhaps best known for his scathing political satire. But politicians, as far as Mencken was concerned, had no monopoly on self-righteous chest-thumping, deceit, and thievery. He also found religion to be an adversary worthy of his attention and, in Treatise on the Gods, he offers some of his best shots, a choreographed cannonade.

Mencken examines religion everywhere, from India to Peru, from the myths of Egypt to the traditional beliefs of America's Bible Belt. He compares Incas and Greeks, examines doctrines, dogmas, sacred texts, heresies, and ceremonies. He ranges far and wide, but returns at last to the subject that most provokes him: Christianity. He reviews the history of the Church and its founders. "It is Tertullian who is credited with the motto, Credo, quia absurdum est: I believe because it is incredible. Needless to say, he began life as a lawyer." Mencken is no less interested in the dissidents: "The Reformers were men of courage, but not many of them were intelligent." Against the old-time religion of fellow countrymen, Mencken posed as a figure of old-time skepticism, and he reaped the whirlwind. Controversial even before it was published in 1930, Treatise on the Gods remains what its author wished it to be: the plain, clear challenge of honest doubt.
CAN I GET A “RAMEN” FROM THE CONGREGATION?!

Behold the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), today’s fastest growing carbohydrate-based religion. According to church founder Bobby Henderson, the universe and all life within it were created by a mystical and divine being: the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What drives the FSM’s devout followers, a.k.a. Pastafarians? Some say it’s the assuring touch from the FSM’s “noodly appendage.” Then there are those who love the worship service, which is conducted in pirate talk and attended by congregants in dashing buccaneer garb. Still others are drawn to the Church’s flimsy moral standards, religious holidays every Friday, or the fact that Pastafarian heaven is way cooler: Does your heaven have a Stripper Factory and a Beer Volcano? Intelligent Design has finally met its match–and it has nothing to do with apes or the Olive Garden of Eden.

Within these pages, Bobby Henderson outlines the true facts– dispelling such malicious myths as evolution (“only a theory”), science (“only a lot of theories”), and whether we’re really descended from apes (fact: Humans share 95 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees, but they share 99.9 percent with pirates!)
See what impressively credentialed top scientists have to say:

“If Intelligent Design is taught in schools, equal time should be given to the FSM theory and the non-FSM theory.”
–Professor Douglas Shaw, Ph.D.

“Do not be hypocritical. Allow equal time for other alternative ‘theories’ like FSMism, which is by far the tastier choice.”
–J. Simon, Ph.D.

“In my scientific opinion, when comparing the two theories, FSM theory seems to be more valid than classic ID theory.”
–Afshin Beheshti, Ph.D.

Read the book and decide for yourself!


From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the fall of 1948 H. L. Mencken, then at the top of his unmatchable form (he had spoken at a meeting of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia only a little while before), suffered a stroke. He soon recovered his physical vigor, but writing was for him a thing of the past. Some months before his death, in going through some papers that he was putting in order for deposit in his beloved Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, his long-time secretary discovered these Notebooks. Mencken meant to publish them, as he makes clear in the preface, which also describes them better than I can.
 
Suffice it to say that here is one more generous sampling of the old Mencken battling fearlessly for the freedom and dignity of the individual and for the general decencies of life and attacking all that seems fundamentally hostile to man: government, organized religion, professional philosophers, and pedagogues above all. It shows his restless and inquiring mind ranging over many of the problems that beset all of us who ever take time out to think, all in his unmatchable style, which, however much it crackles, has the supreme virtue—which Henry always found in his own great model, Thomas Henry Huxley—that of never leaving you in doubt of its meaning.
 
Read the preface and note that this book is precisely what its title suggests; it consists of hundreds of notes—some only a few lines in length, some running to several pages, all reflecting a rigorous and exhilarating mind and personality. It may be a long time before another like him crosses our path.
"I am quite convinced that all religions, at bottom, are pretty much alike. On the surface they may seem to differ greatly, but what appears on the surface is not always religion. Go beneath it, and one finds invariably the same sense of helplessness before the cosmic mysteries, and the same pathetic attempt to resolve it by appealing to higher powers."--from Treatise on the Gods

H. L. Mencken is perhaps best known for his scathing political satire. But politicians, as far as Mencken was concerned, had no monopoly on self-righteous chest-thumping, deceit, and thievery. He also found religion to be an adversary worthy of his attention and, in Treatise on the Gods, he offers some of his best shots, a choreographed cannonade.

Mencken examines religion everywhere, from India to Peru, from the myths of Egypt to the traditional beliefs of America's Bible Belt. He compares Incas and Greeks, examines doctrines, dogmas, sacred texts, heresies, and ceremonies. He ranges far and wide, but returns at last to the subject that most provokes him: Christianity. He reviews the history of the Church and its founders. "It is Tertullian who is credited with the motto, Credo, quia absurdum est: I believe because it is incredible. Needless to say, he began life as a lawyer." Mencken is no less interested in the dissidents: "The Reformers were men of courage, but not many of them were intelligent." Against the old-time religion of fellow countrymen, Mencken posed as a figure of old-time skepticism, and he reaped the whirlwind. Controversial even before it was published in 1930, Treatise on the Gods remains what its author wished it to be: the plain, clear challenge of honest doubt.
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