Baltimore Evening Sun (30 December 1911): 6.
Why not a permanent organization in Baltimore for warring upon stupidity, flapdoodle and buncome? The fakes and the fanatics, the boneheads and the balderdashians, who swarm here as in few other cities of Christendom, have scores and scores of clubs and unions, and these clubs and unions pour a constant stream of nonsense into the public ear. Pick up a newspaper any day and you will quickly see that nine-tenths of the proposals are frankly and unequivocally ridiculous. On the one hand, the City Council proposes to build a $2,000,000 tunnel under the harbor at a place where there is not enough business to support a single ferry-boat. On the other hand, the Lord’s Day Alliance proposes to make the Baltimore Sunday even more horrible than it is. On the third hand, as it were, the Hon. Mahoni Amicus strikes affecting attitudes in the spotlight, a “martyr” to newspaper “conspiracy.” On the fourth hand, various camorras of ignoranti come forward with absurd “proofs” that the Pasteur vaccine will not cure hydrophobia. On the fifth hand, some tinpot “improvement” association—what hatcheries of prominent Baltimoreans those parochial parliaments are!—bawls loudly for a new park where none is needed. On the sixth hand, the Health Department sophisticates the mortality returns and claims praise for the deed. On the seventh hand, a half dozen booming bureaux fight one another, announce a multitude of grandiose plans—and ever carry one of them out. On the eighth hand, Jake Hook and the Super-Mahon denounce the merit system on the ground that it would force them to employ niggero clerks. On the ninth hand, the common people are anæsthetized by a microscopic lowering of the tax rate and then plundered of their savings by a staggering increase in water rents and special assessments. On the tenth hand, public commissions discuss interminably the paving of streets—and no streets are paved. On the eleventh hand, the improvement of the water supply is constantly and tediously debated—and the water remains putrid and poisonous. And on the twelfth hand (to make an end of this centimanual enumeration), political rabble-rousers burst eternally with schemes for saving money, and yet out of every dollar paid in taxes, either to city or to state, fully 90 cents are wasted, lost, misspent, grated or stolen.
An endless saturnalia of bunk, of bluff, of stupidity, of insincerity, of false virtue, of nonsense, of pretense, of sophistry, of parology, of bamboozlement, of actorial posturing, of strident wind music, of empty words—even, at times, of downright fraud. If the City Council is not flinging its legs about in some new debauch of clowning, then some faction or other of the boomers is launching a new and extra-preposterous scheme for “saving” the town from imaginary disaster, or some new and useless board is being created by the Legislature, or some new and ridiculous campaign for chemical purity is being started by snooping Puritans, or in some other way, always noisy, usually three-fourths silly, the peace, dignity and well-being of intelligent men are being invaded.
Certainly Baltimore must have a few citizens who do not fall for all or any of this buncombe—who can tell a hawk from a handsaw without a helping diagram—who have no faith in boomery, no faith in militant moralty, no faith in political mountebankery—who believe that a fact is eternally a fact, and that all the yowling of a thousands gullets change it—who possess, in brief, the faculty of elementary reasoning, of ordinary logic, and exercise it unemotionally, even while the yells resound and the red fire burns and the smell of punk is in the air. I do not say that there are many such men in Baltimore. In our population, as everyone knows, there is an abnormally large proportion of ciphers—darkies, foreigners, invading yokels, professional loafers and so on. And despite the presence of excellent educational opportunities, the educated man, in the true sense of the term, is still a rarity in the classes above—so much a rarity, indeed, that he exhales a smell of sorcery, and it is always possible for political bawlers to rouse the rabble a against him. Again our so-called polite society is shoddy and ignorant: its influence, if it has any influence at all, is frankly on the side of buncombe. And the measure of our “leading” lawyers and “prominent” business men is revealed by the acts and pronunciamentoes of the grotesque organizations which represent them.
But for all this, Baltimore still has its faction of intelligent, unemotional, fully adult men—not a large faction, true enough, but still a faction, and one influential enough, if it would but speak in one voice, to knock out, or at least cripple, most of the wizards whose fallacies now reach the common people as wisdom. A few such men found their way, I suppose by accident, into the recent Red Cross Committee of chartermakers: you will see their hand in the demand that the City Council, that incurable and intolerable evil, that worst and costliest of pests, be destroyed root and branch. And there are others, perhaps a thousand all told—men who are capable of ordinary ratiocination—who don’t intrigue for political jobs, who have no desire for the applause of numbskulls, who see the truth with reasonable clarity and can afford to tell it—men, in brief, who approximate, more or less roughly, to the intelligence, or at least to the courage and degree of civilization, of such a man as the late Richard M. Venable.
Why are such men heard from in Baltimore so seldom? Why don’t they rise up more often and haul down the ballyho men who try to sell us cure-alls? Why are they silent, knowing the truth, when balderdash in mountainous bales is being unloaded upon the town? Why, in a word, don’t they form a posse comitatus, launch a counter-reformation, and wage a persistent and useful war upon all that riot of snide politics, of bluff and bluster, of anemonic and anemic boomery, of unintelligent agitation, of grab and guff, of puerility and piffle which now assaults and pesters every Baltimorean, keeps the city in a barbarous wallow and makes it laughable in the sight of all creation?
From “Sex and Character,” by the learned Dr. Otto Weininger:
There is relationship between the politician and the courtesan. Every politician is to a certain extent a tribune of the people, and that in itself implies a kind of prostitution.
From the official organ of the League for Medical “Freedom,” that exquisite grand lodge of super-Pasteurs and trans-Ehrlichs:
Is medical freedom less precious than religious or social or political freedom?
Every bit as precious, of course—and a darn sight more profitable!
Baltimore is the jam pot and the Legislature is the bad boy. Laugh, taxpayer, laugh!