"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"
- H. L. Mencken
About this Quote
This quote by H. L. Mencken is a commentary on the state of politics. He recommends that the goal of practical politics is to keep the general public in a state of fear and alarm, so that they will be more willing to be led by those in power. Mencken suggests that politicians utilize scare methods to control the public, creating imaginary hazards or "hobgoblins" to keep them in a state of fear. This permits politicians to keep control and power over the general public, as they are more likely to follow the guidance of those in power when they hesitate. Mencken's quote is a criticism of the use of worry as a political tool, and a reminder that the public should know the strategies used by those in power.
"Oh, that all the things my father had told me about how disgusting Washington is are true. And again it's the system - there are lots of nice, well-meaning people there. But it's a sleazy place. And politics is all about doing favors"