‘An endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’

Where is H.L. Mencken when we need him?

It was Mencken who memorably wrote, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

It seems as if you can’t swing a dead mammal without hitting a hobgoblin nowadays. Every practical politician spends more time menacing us with the specter of hobgoblins than actually forwarding an ideology.


Republicans!

Democrats!

Barack Obama!

Newt Gingrich!

The Koch Brothers!

George Soros!

Climate change!

Illegal aliens!

The Occupiers!

The Tea Partiers!

Fascists!

Socialists!

Wall Street!

Washington!

How can you keep from cowering in alarm with all of these hobgoblins about? 

We are awash with fearful folks clamoring to be led to safety, and sure enough the practical politician is more than willing and ready to lead us to safety – if only we’ll trust her with the task, if only we’ll yield some of our personal sovereignty to him.

Know this: When a politician is warning you about the grave danger posed by a hobgoblin – or when someone is warning you that the hobgoblin is the politicians themselves – you are playing into their hands by becoming fearful and seeking the protection of a politician or some new law.

You have the power to improve your life. Don’t turn that power or that responsibility over to someone else. 

Remember what Mencken said: The hobgoblins are imaginary. All of them.

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Published by

WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith, journalist and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and a couple of cats.

2 thoughts on “‘An endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’”

  1. Are you absolutely, 100% sure that Democrats, Republicans, Obama and Gingrich aren't actual hobgoblins and a threat to liberty and freedom?

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  2. Come to think of it …

    But remember the call to fear these hobgoblins is always accompanied with a promise to protect us from them. Perhaps it's the protection that's imaginary.

    My bottom line, though, is that no one can take your liberty and freedom without your permission.

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