They constitute, perhaps, the most ignorant class of teachers ever set up to lead a civilized people; they are even more ignorant than the county superintendents of schools. Learning, indeed, is not esteemed in the evangelical denominations, and any literate plowhand, if the Holy Spirit inflames him, is thought to be fit to preach.
Is he commonly sent, as a preliminary to a training-camp, to college? But what a college. You will find one in every mountain valley of the land, with its single building in its bare pasture lot, and its faculty of half-idiot pedagogues and broken-down preachers. One man, in such a college, teaches oratory, ancient history, arithmetic, and Old Testament exegesis. The aspirant comes in from the barnyard, and goes back in a year or two to the village.
His body of knowledge is that of a street-car motorman or a movie actor. But he has learned the clichés of his craft, and has got him a long-tailed coat, and so he has made his escape from the harsh labors of his ancestors, and is set up as a fountain of light and learning.
--- From Mencken's America
S. T. Joshi, Editor
©2004, Ohio University Press