Politics, Politicians, and Public Choice in the Work of H. L. Mencken


In this conference we read from some of Mencken's most influential popular works, paired with scholarly pieces from the public choice tradition. Comparing selections gave us the opportunity to explore whether modern public choice theory adequately and accurately captures the richness of Mencken's commentary on the nature of political life.


From Liberty Fund

The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty

by By James M. Buchanan
Foreword by Geoffrey Brennan, Hartmut Kliemt, and Robert D. Tollison

The thirty-one papers presented in this volume offer scholars and general readers alike a comprehensive introduction to the work of one of the greatest economists of the modern era. Many of Buchanan’s most important essays are gathered in this inaugural volume of the twenty-volume series from Liberty Fund of his…

/ Learn More

Additional Readings

Buchanan, James M. “Afraid to be free: Dependency as desideratum.” Public Choice 124 (2005): 19-31.

Caplan, Bryan. The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Hayek, F. A. The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume II: The Road to Serfdom - Text and Documents - The Definitive Edition. Edited by Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Mencken, Henry Louis. Notes on Democracy. New York: Dissident Books, 1926.

Mencken, Henry Louis. Prejudices: A Selection. Edited by James T. Farrell. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1958.

Tullock, Gordon. The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock, Volume 4: The Economics of Politics. Edited by Charles K. Rowley. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2005.