There is no irony in the fact that H.L. Mencken is a tall figure in the history of letters, and Robert Rives La Monte is wholly forgotten. La Monte, who worked at the Baltimore News as well as being an editor for the International Socialist Review, was a true believer in the promise of Socialism. Here he writes six letters trying to convince H.L. Mencken to reject his selfish ways and become a comrade in the revolution, to usher in a perfect world of total equality and universal brotherhood.
Mencken, long time writer for the Baltimore Sun, editor of The American Mercury, and prolific author and essayist, was the absolute worst choice of target for an evangelist of the common man. There have been few who were as openly resolved to a robust Nietzschean individualism. And so, in one of the turn of the last centuries greatest “flame wars,” we have the Bard of Baltimore’s six responses to those appeals.
The battle of the "collective good" versus "individual liberty" still rages in pitched battles. La Monte’s voice is rightfully now just one of many faceless advocates of class warfare, and Mencken’s personality survives as the greatest advocate of social Darwinism and thus ultimately Mencken’s own views.