this and similar issues. It was only whennhe shifted his dazzling and witty invectivento the new and more sanctifiedndespotism of the New Deal thatnMencken has been cast down as a nastynreactionary. Mencken once wrote thatnhis basic method was to “heave the deadncat into the temple” of social idols, tondemonstrate to the faithful that lightningnwould not strike him dead on thenspot. Unfortunately, what Menckenntermed the “pecksniffs” and “wowsers”nof the New Deal proved far morendurable idols than those who hadnwhooped it up for Prohibition.nTo left-liberals like Fecher, it is “inconsistent”nand “inexplicable” thatnMencken could denounce politicians asna class and yet admire and supportnMaryland’s Governor Albert Ritchie, anJeffersonian Democrat; that- he couldndetest and denounce Methodists andnProhibitionists, and yet be a longtimenfriend and admirer of Methodist (andnProhibitionist) Bishop James Cannon;nor, for that matter, that he could attacknsegregation laws and be a “racist” ornhave close Jewish friends and be “anti-nSemitic.”nBut if Fecher and other liberal criticsntruly understood their subject, the mysteryncould be cleared up easily. Typically,nleftists are the sort of people whonproclaim their love of “humanity” innthe abstract, while being nasty andnuncaring toward individuals in the concrete.nAs a man of the right, H.L.nMencken was precisely the opposite.nCaustic toward mankind, or groups ofnmen, in the aggregate, he was uniformlyngentle, courteous, and loving towardnhis individual acquaintances andnfriends.nSetting the artificial brouhaha aside,nthere is in fact much for Menckennbuffs to learn from his Diary. Not thatnhe had a “dark” side, not that he wasnlonely and bitter, not that he was ancloset Nazi or anti-Semite. Quite thencontrary. While the diary unsurprisinglynlacks much of the coruscating witnthat pervades his essays and letters, itnprovides an unfailingly fascinating insightninto the marvelous life thatnMencken led, a life of productive worknand lively and engaging conversationnwith a raft of close and interestingnfriends. And particularly we seenMencken as a moral and caring mannwho loved his wife deeply and wasngreatly devoted to his friends. Thus, henlaments throughout the Diary thatnnumerous writer friends (Sinclair Lewis,nScott Fitzgerald, and others) werenkilling themselves with drink. And thisnfrom a beer lover who proudly referrednto himself as “omnibibulous,” but deplorednthe excess of drunkenness.nMencken, furthermore, may havenbeen scornful of men in the mass, butnhe was so worried about hurting thenfeelings of men and women he knewnpersonally that he ordered the diariesnsealed for 25 years after his death, andneven then he asked that access to hisndiary be strictly limited to scholars.nFecher concedes that the Enoch PrattnFree Library, custodians of Mencken’snpapers, violated the wishes of Menckennby publishing his diary.nIn short, the true Mencken buifnemerges from the diary with an evennhigher appreciation of HLM than evernbefore.nMencken was a doughty and happynwarrior who helped to liberate thenAmerican language and culture fromnpompous, pretentious, and flatulentnwriting and thinking. He was a staunchnlibertarian who often declared that henbelieved in absolute individual liberty,n”up to the limit of the unbearable, andneven beyond.” Mencken’s reputationnis now under renewed assault by anmalevolent left-Puritan culture thatnmakes the old puritanism refreshinglynlibertarian by contrast. Virtually everynday we find a new puerility or a newnsacred cow that seems to cry out fornMencken’s cleansing treatment. Butnthen we realize that under presentnconditions, Mencken would be hardnput to get published at all. The consolationnis that none of this fate wouldnsurprise Mencken, who, as early asn1934, in deploring the rise of the NewnDeal, wrote to Roscoe Peacock that “ifnI really believed that I had left a Marknupon my Time I think I’d leap into thennearest ocean,” for “the Americannpeople are more insane today than theynwere when I began to write.”nPerhaps so, but there is always anremnant who understands, and all thenreturns are not yet in. If totalitarianncommunism in Eastern Europe canncollapse like a house of cards, perhapsnsome day the softer tyranny of leftnpuritanism shall also disappear. Then,nthe great Mencken, despite himself,nwill be seen to have Made a Mark onnmore times than his own. nnnThe LastnGold Coinnof thenRomanovsnThe 1897-1911n”Czar Nicholas 11″ Gold 5nRoubles of Imperial RussianOnly $125nwhile supplies lastnAs the last gold coin of the Romanovndynasty, which ruled thenRussian Empire for over 300 years,nthis 1897-1911 “Nicholas 11” gold 5nRoubles is a real collectors item.nThe portrait of the ill-fated Czar andnthe double-headed eagle of the royalncrest display superb minting artistry.nAfter the 1917 Revolution,ncountless millions were destroyednin melts—today the survivors arenelegant remnants of ImperialnRussia. Each hand-selected coinncontains4.3 grams of .900 fine goldnand is guaranteed to grade extra finento almost uncirculated. You mightnexpect to pay more for a gold classicnin such excellent quahty, but whilensupplies last you may order up tonten coins at the following prices: 1ncoin, $ 125 (Order#10846). 3 coins,n$365 (save $10). 5 coins, $595 (saven$30). lOcoins,$1,150(save$100).nTo order by credit card, call tollfreen1-800-451-4463 at any time.nOr send a check or money order to:nInternational Coins & Currency,nInc., HE. State St., Box 218, Dept.n1400, Montpelier, VT 05601. Asnour way of saying thank ^ou, yournorder will be shipped postpaid.nCertificateof authenticity included.nSatisfaction guaranteed: you maynreturn your order within 30 days ofnreceipt for a prompt no-questionsaskednrefund.nAPRIL 1990/33n