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PATER PATRIÆ by H. L. Mencken


If George Washington were alive today, what a shining mark he would be for the whole camorra of uplifters, forward-lookers, and professional patriots! He was the Rockefeller of his time, the richest man in the United States, a promoter of stock companies, a land-grabber, an exploiter of mines and timber. He was a bitter opponent of foreign alliances and denounced their evils in harsh, specific terms. He had a liking for all forthright and pugnacious men, and a contempt for lawyers, schoolmasters, and all other such obscurantists. He was not pious. He drank whisky whenever he felt chilly and kept a jug of it handy. He knew far more profanity than Scripture and used and enjoyed it more.

He had no belief in the infallible wisdom of the common people, but regarded them as inflammatory dolts, and tried to save the republic from them. He advocated no sure cure for all the sorrows of the world and doubted that such a panacea existed. He took no interest in the private morals of his neighbors.

Inhabiting These States today, George would be ineligible for any office of honor or profit.

The Senate would never dare confirm him; the President would not think of nominating him. He would be on trial in all the yellow journals for belonging to the Invisible Government, the Hell Hounds of Plutocracy, the Money Power, the Interests. The Sherman Act would have him in its toils; he would be under indictment by every grand jury south of the Potomac; the triumphant prohibitionists of his native state would be denouncing him (he had a still at Mount Vernon) as a debaucher of youth, a recruiting officer for insane asylums, a poisoner of the home. The suffragettes would be on his trail, with sentinels posted all along the Accotink road. The initiators and referendors would be bawling for his blood. The young college men of the Nation and the New Republic would be lecturing him weekly. He would be used to scare children in Kansas and Arkansas. The chautauquas would shiver whenever his name was mentioned…

And what a chance there would be for that ambitious young district attorney who thought to shadow him on his peregrinations—and grab him under the Mann Act!

From Damn! A Book of Calumny

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sam L. May 16, 2021, 7:17 AM


  • ghostsniper May 16, 2021, 8:01 AM

    And he’d be punching bayonet holes all the way through flabby, flapping faces left and right.
    Immediately you’d see millions of men with stones fall in behind him. A signal would go out, “Bring It MF!”

  • Jack May 16, 2021, 8:45 AM

    He was around back in the day when men were men and he was the model for what America was designed to be. And I would join him.

  • Kevin in PA May 16, 2021, 9:10 AM

    I’m with you fellers.
    George Washington is an American hero no matter what the whinging Marxist squealers say.

    To expound on Jack’s point – Washington lived in a time when men were men and women were women and anyone could tell the difference.

  • Mike Anderson May 16, 2021, 9:30 AM

    Jeez, Ol’ George makes Trump look like a sissy.

  • Casey Klahn May 16, 2021, 10:08 AM

    I apologize for the source, but the photograph is memorable.


    I like this report on Washington much better. Damn, I’d love to make my state (Washington) reflect the character of the original George.

  • gwbnyc May 16, 2021, 12:34 PM

    from David McCullough’s book on John Adams, I paraphrase-

    Adams is sent to France representing the new America, he has brought his son, 12 years old, with him. Adams will be hanged if captured. a sail of a british ship is sighted, the captain orders the crew at readiness, and requires Adams to go below deck. as the crew gets about their duties the captain turns and sees Adams standing on deck with a musket. rightly concerned the captain asks him why he is not below as requested. Adams, a more than middleaged man, replies, “ I thought I would take my part in the fighting.” as it was the action developed no further.

    later in the voyage a gun was dismounted crushing a sailor’s arm, which was then judged to be amputated. Adams’ son, at 12 years old, assisted in the amputation by holding the man steady while it took place.

    in our history this is a footnote.