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Tub-Thumpers
by [?]

I often wonder what born tub-thumpers are like in their own homes. Perhaps they are as meek and mild as watered buttermilk. Thinking it over, I think they must be. No self-respecting woman could be tub-thumped at daily without eyeing furtively the nearest meat-carver. For the genius of a tub-thumper is that he is usually born deaf. I don’t mean to say that he cannot hear, but he only hears what is convenient for his own arguments to hear, and the more an explanation is convincing the more he tries to shout it down, deafening himself as well as the poor fool who is struggling to make his meaning clear. Each one of us, I suppose, has to “let off steam” some time somewhere, and round about the Marble Arch, where fiery orators “let themselves go,” must be the safety-valve of many an obscure home. Occasionally I go there–just to listen to men and women giving an example of that proverb about “a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.” Moreover, there is a certain psychological interest in this rowdy corner of a peaceful park. It is typical of England, for one thing. I don’t mean to say that tub-thumping is typical of England, but England is certainly the harbour of refuge of the crank. You can see there the crankiest of cranks being as cranky as they know how to be; and you can see also the utterly good-humoured indifference with which the crowds who listen to them regard their crankiness–which also has its meaning. The other evening a middle aged woman of untidy locks was crying that England alone was responsible for the war. Another–in this instance a young man–was deploring the recent blockade of Germany, viewing at the same time in quite a tender light the Zeppelin raids on towns and villages and the bombardment of undefended ports. In any other country, I think, these people would have been lynched. But D.O.R.A., as a strenuous female, is now as dead as 1914 fashions, and the people who heard these friends or Germany crying out their friendliness listened to them in laughing tolerance, which must have annoyed the speakers considerably, seeing that laughter renders unconvincing the very fiercest argument. But they laughed, and, passing on their way, heard God being described as an “old scoundrel,” and this seemed to amuse them even more.