In his last letter to La Monte, on the question of Socialism against Individualism, he writes
I am not a religious man, but I cannot think upon my own good fortune in life without a feeling that my thanks should go forth, somewhere and to someone. Wealth and eminence and power are beyond my poor strength and skill but on the side of sheer chance I am favoured beyond all computation. My day’s work is not an affliction but a pleasure; my labour selling in the open market, brings me the comforts that I desire; I am assured against all but a remote danger of starvation in my old age. Outside my window, in the street, a man labours in the rain with pick and shovel, and his reward is merely a roof for to-night and tomorrow’s three meals. Contemplating the difference between his luck and mine, I cannot fail to wonder at the eternal meaninglessness of life. I wonder thus and pity his lot, and then, after a while, perhaps, I begin to reflect that in many ways he is probably luckier than I.
But I wouldn’t change places with him.
The series of letters between La Monte and Mencken are quite interesting and both sides are persuasive. For a brief moment, La Monte almost persuaded me to socialism, but I think at the end, I have to agree with Mencken that socialism attempts to fight the laws of nature.
The charge of racism on Mencken, I think is justified. His view of the Aframerican, the Russian peasant and Jew doesn’t leave any doubts as to his low opinion of them.
In general, it is a good read.