The ‘Great Authors in 10 Quotes’ is an ongoing series meant to expose readers to some of the most noteworthy thinkers in the classical liberal, libertarian, and anarchist traditions. The challenge is finding material deep enough to reflect an author’s thought, while still being accessible for a brand new reader. We encourage readers to leave comments linking to other written works and videos by the author.
Henry Louis “H. L.” Mencken (1880-1956) was a 20th century American journalist, author, satirist, and social critic. Mencken was one of the most prominent American libertarians of the early 20th century. The son of German immigrants and early apprentice to his father’s cigar company, Mencken set out to become a professional journalist despite lacking connections or higher education. Ever the iconoclast, Mencken is known for both publishing the first English language book about the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as serving as the primary correspondent to the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial”. Mencken represents the ‘Tory Anarchist’ strain of American libertarianism; a worldview that combined Anglo-American classical liberalism, aristocratic social sensibilities, and a brutal commitment to honest assessment of their contemporary culture. Continue reading