H. L. Mencken

United States journalist and literary critic (1880-1956)

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If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any office of trust in the United States.Rate it:
The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful.Rate it:
There comes a time when a man must spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats.Rate it:
War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebums and smaller adrenal glands.Rate it:
...no man of genuinely superior intelligence has ever been an actor. Even supposing a young man of appreciable mental powers to be lured upon the stage, as philosophers are occasionally lured into bordellos, his mind would be inevitably and almost immediately destroyed by the gaudy nonsense issuing from his mouth every night.Rate it:
A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.Rate it:
A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it.Rate it:
A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.Rate it:
A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them.Rate it:
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.Rate it:
Adultery is the application of democracy to love.Rate it:
Alimony: the ransom the happy pay to the devil.Rate it:
All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.Rate it:
All [zoos] actually offer to the public in return for the taxes spent upon them is a form of idle and witless amusement, compared to which a visit to a penitentiary, or even to a State legislature in session, is informing, stimulating and ennobling.Rate it:
And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps.Rate it:
Archbishop: a Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.Rate it:
College football would be more interesting if the faculty played instead of the students - there would be a great increase in broken arms, legs and necks.Rate it:
Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons.Rate it:
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never endsRate it:
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.Rate it:
Creator: a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh.Rate it:
Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.Rate it:
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.Rate it:
Democracy: The worship of jackals by jackasses.Rate it:
Every man is thoroughly happy twice in his life: just after he has met his first love, and just after he has left his last one.Rate it:
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.Rate it:
God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, thehelpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.Rate it:
Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull.Rate it:
He marries best who puts it off until it is too late.Rate it:
Henry James would have been vastly improved as a novelist by a few whiffs of the Chicago stockyard.Rate it:
Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.Rate it:
Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient.Rate it:
I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.Rate it:
I detest converts almost as much as I do missionaries.Rate it:
If I ever marry, it will be on a sudden impulse - as a man shoots himself.Rate it:
Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.Rate it:
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.Rate it:
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.Rate it:
In this world of sin and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.Rate it:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it.Rate it:
It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.Rate it:
Judge: a law student who marks his own papers.Rate it:
Jury: a group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health and business engagements, have failed to fool him.Rate it:
Lawer: one who protects us against robbery by taking away the temptation.Rate it:
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from anotherRate it:
Love: The delusion that one woman differs from another.Rate it:
Man is a natural polygamist: he always has one woman leading him by the nose, and another hanging on to his coattails.Rate it:
Men have a much better time of it than women; for one thing, they marry later; for another thing they die earlier.Rate it:
Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.Rate it:
New York: A third-rate Babylon.Rate it:
No normal man ever fell in love after thirty when the kidneys begin to disintegrate.Rate it:
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.Rate it:
Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.Rate it:
Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.Rate it:
Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.Rate it:
Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.Rate it:
Self-respect: the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.Rate it:
Sunday: A day given over by Americans to wishing they were dead and in heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in hell.Rate it:
Temptation is a woman's weapon and man's excuse.Rate it:
Thanksgiving Day is a day devoted by persons with inflammatory rheumatism to thanking a loving Father that it is not hydrophobia.Rate it:
The best years are the forties; after fifty a man begins to deteriorate, but in the forties he is at the maximum of his villainy.Rate it:
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animals.Rate it:
The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore.Rate it:
The cosmos is a gigantic flywheel making 10,000 revolutions per minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it.Rate it:
The fact that I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake.Rate it:
The first kiss is stolen by the man; the last is begged by the woman.Rate it:
The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.Rate it:
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.Rate it:
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.Rate it:
The truth is that the average schoolmaster, on all the lower levels, is and always must be essentially and next door to an idiot, for how can one imagine an intelligent man engaging in so puerile an avocation?Rate it:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.Rate it:
The worshiper is the father of the gods.Rate it:
Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.Rate it:
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia.Rate it:
To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!Rate it:
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.Rate it:
When women kiss, it always reminds me of prizefighters shaking hands.Rate it:
Wife: a former sweetheart.Rate it:
Wife: one who is sorry she did it, but would undoubtedly do it again.Rate it:

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