H L Mencken on Chiropractic the Baltimore Sun 1924

(It’s OK the judges can’t touch me. He calls it “quackery” and “buncombe” but not “bogus”.)

This preposterous quackery flourishes lushIy in the back reaches of the Republic, and begins to conquer the less civilized folk of the big cities. As the old-time family doctor dies out in the country towns, with no competent successor willing to take over his dismal business, he is followed by some hearty blacksmith or ice-wagon driver, turned into a chiropractor in six months, often by correspondence. In Los Angeles the Damned, there are probably more chiropractors than actual physicians, and they are far more generally esteemed. Proceeding from the Ambassador Hotel to the heart of the town, along Wilshire boulevard, one passes scores of their gaudy signs; there are even chiropractic “hospitals.” The Mormons who pour in from the prairies and deserts, most of them ailing, patronize these “hospitals” copiously, and give to the chiropractic pathology the same high respect that they accord to the theology of the town sorcerers. That pathology is grounded upon the doctrine that all human ills are caused by pressure of misplaced vertebrae upon the nerves which come out of the spinal cord — in other words, that every disease is the result of a pinch. This, plainly enough, is buncombe. The chiropractic therapeutics rest upon the doctrine that the way to get rid of such pinches is to climb upon a table and submit to a heroic pummeling by a retired piano-mover. This, obviously, is buncombe doubly damned.
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4 thoughts on “H L Mencken on Chiropractic the Baltimore Sun 1924

  1. I remember reading that in an anthology of Mencken’s writing in the seventies, and being both entertained and appalled. I was much more appalled when I found that this nonsense still flowered. I am appalled beyond statement and description that there are judges, their wages paid for by the British taxpayer, who use their position to prop it up. In other countries, the judiciary have taken position against superstition dressed up as science. In America, justices have consistently and firmly ruled against creationistic education on taxpayer money (Eady would probably regard it as the teacher’s right). In Germany, and possibly now in France, Scientology has been treated as a racket. Only in Britain does an obvious pseudo-scientific fraud go to court and have its “right” to spread dangerous misinformation for profit upheld. If an ordinary corporation did what chiropractors regularly do, they would be had for fraud, and quite right too.

  2. Well, only bogus courts applying bogus laws could find the label “bogus” as libelious to chiropractors.

    Hope this comment won’t cost you a million bucks nor earn you a room and lots of time for reflection at Her Majesty’s pleasure, Nick.

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