The H.L. Mencken Club came into existence in 2008 as an organization for independent-minded intellectuals and academics of the Right. The Club hosts an annual conference that attracts speakers and guests from around the world. It meets in the fall, near the city of Baltimore and sponsors other less formal events designed to promote our interests and themes. Past presenters include Peter Brimelow, Stanley Payne, Sean Gabb, Patrick J. Buchanan, Keith Preston, Carl Horowitz, John Derbyshire, Paul E. Gottfried, Henry Harpending, James Kalb, Ilana Mercer, Charles Murray, Tom Piatak, Byron M. Roth, Srdja Trifkovic, Derek Turner, and Robert Weissberg.
The HLMC is in no way allied to either of the two national political parties, and it should not be confused with the “conservative movement.” We were in fact founded precisely because that movement has suppressed open discussion and seems entirely beholden to corporate donors and Republican Party bosses. From the standpoint of conservatism, inc., our group belongs to the “basket of deplorables” that Hillary Clinton denounced in her presidential campaign.
The founders conceived of their organization in the spirit of the “Sage of Baltimore,” Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956), the brilliant satirist who founded The American Mercury. A figure who questioned the egalitarian creed, democratic crusades, and welfare statism with which American democracy was already identified during his lifetime, Mencken embodied what for the group are worthy ideals.
The directors and members of this club emphatically affirm Mencken’s skepticism about whither the American “democratic experiment” has been moving in the last hundred years. We seek to change perceptions and attitudes by discussing ideologically neglected topics that few now dare to address. Like Mencken, our enemies are ignorance, wishful thinking and obscurantism. The club revels in its unique ability to represent a diversity of thought within the Right that is rarely addressed elsewhere.
Among the themes of past conferences are political correctness across the democracies, the increasing overlap of Right and Left within the “respectable” political spectrum, and the eclipse of any recognizable Right in our leftward racing party system.
Despite the group’s anti-egalitarian stance, it frowns on hierarchy within its own ranks. The Board of Directors has a revolving membership, and certified members participate in the election of officers. In this regard, The Mencken Club takes its cues from the example of aristocratic republicanism, which most of the members celebrate. While the Club rigorously screens members and those who are allowed to attend conferences, it treats those who are selected to join as equals. Membership dues are accordingly low, and our members volunteer to perform the administrative work.