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Whiskey & Wry — Voltaire on Free Speech

11. Bathroom Battles and Property Rights

Every election year, the American citizenry is treated to its own national "Theater of the Absurd." Establishment politicians and media assiduously avoid fundamental questions on the key issues of our day — for instance, the wisdom and sustainability of a profligate, world-straddling empire, the threat to constitutional liberties posed by an ever-expansive surveillance/police state, or the impoverishing effects of corporate-state cronyism, central banking, and a suffocating legal and regulatory regime. Instead, we're presented with a host of 'distraction issues' that divert attention from a status quo supported by both major parties, while also creating and encouraging conflict between various factions. "Divide et impera." (Divide and...

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6. H.L. Mencken on Americana, agnosticism, and propaganda

A masterful wordsmith and literary critic, Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken (1880-1956) was widely regarded in his time as one of America's most talented writers. In 2002, the Atlantic's Jonathan Yardley called Mencken "the greatest of all American journalists," adding:  "No matter where his writing appeared, it was quoted widely, his pungently outspoken ideas debated hotly. Nobody else could make so many people so angry, or make so many others laugh so hard." In 1948, Donald Howe Kirkley Sr., a reporter and editor with the Baltimore Sun, interviewed a cigar-chomping Mencken at the behest of the Library of Congress: www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/1948-h-l-mencken-interview/  The only known recording of H.L. Mencken's voice, this...

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