The Public Interest

The other Adam Smith

George Weigel

Summer 1993

IN THE PREFACE to his first volume of memoirs, It. L. Mencken offered this fetching defense of his row-house origins in the Baltimore of the 1880s:

I was a larva of the comfortable and complacent bourgeoisie, though I was quite unaware of the fact until I was along in nay teens, and I had begun to read indignant books. To belong to that great order of mankind is aguely discreditable today, but I still maintain my dues-paying membership in it, and continue to believe that it was and is authentically hninan, and therefore worthy of the attention of philosophers, at least to the extent that the Mayans, Hittites, Kallikuks and so on are worthy of it.

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