Crossposted from Daily Kos
On July 21, 1925, a court in Dayton, Tennessee found the defendant, John Scopes, guilty of teaching the theory of evolution in high school. Writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun, journalist H.L. Mencken had some harsh words for anti-intellectuals opposing Scopes’ viewpoint
What its people ask for — many of them in plain terms — is suspended judgment, sympathy, Christian charity, and I believe that they deserve all these things… The civilized minority in the State is probably as large as in any other Southern State. What ails it is simply the fact it has been, in the past, too cautious and politic — that it has been too reluctant to offend the Fundamentalist majority. To that reluctance something else has been added: an uncritical and somewhat childish local patriotism. The Tennesseeans have tolerated their imbeciles for fear that attacking them would bring down the derision of the rest of the country.
[F]undamentalism, after all, made men happy — that a Tennesseean gained something valuable by being an ignoramus — in other words, that a hog in a barnyard was to be envied by an Aristotle.