To honor the great American writer and editor born in 1880 on this day in Baltimore, comes the following reflection on conversion:
Converting me to anything is probably a psychological impossibility. At all events, it has never been achieved by anyone, though I have been exposed more than once to the missionary technic of very talented virtuosi. I canâ€™t recall ever changing my mind about any capital matter. My general body of fundamental ideas is the same today as it was in the days when I first began to ponder. I was never religious, and never a Socialist, even for a moment. My aversion to conversion extends to other people. I always distrust and dislike a man who has changed his basic notions. When a reader writes in to say that some writing of mine has shown him the light and cured him of former errors I feel disgust for him, and never have anything to do with him if I can help it. I dislike, more or less, all Calvinists, Communists and other such enemies of season, but I dislike ex-Calvinists and ex-Communists very much more. (From Minority Report, #162)
4 thoughts on “Mencken Day 2009”
Ever heard of effectual calling?
Nonetheless, Mencken wrote with the zeal of an evangelist. I can’t help but think this was simply an effort on his part to thin out the letters he received from kooks.
I enjoyed meeting you and your wife last weekend. I’m still trying to locate the Baltimore piece. My feeble memory tells me that I first read it in S. T. (do I have that right?) Joshi’s collection. Now if I can find my copy . . .
I may or may not have mentioned that I’ll be in Phil;y in late Oct. to do Chesterton at DeSales. I’m also going up to Williams to do him there. That should be interesting. If there are any possibilities at Temple, please let me know. No doubt it’s too short notice. But if not, I’ll be staying there (save for the detour to Williams) during the week of Oct. 18-25.
P.S. If nothing else, maybe you’d like to take in the DeSales presentation. If so, let me know and I’ll send along the details.
Chuck, Thanks for the tip. I’ll check Joshi’s book. And do send along information about the DeSales event.