Sort by:PopularityA - Z
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.
Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons.
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
Thanksgiving Day is a day devoted by persons with inflammatory rheumatism to thanking a loving Father that it is not hydrophobia.
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. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.
The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful.
War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebums and smaller adrenal glands.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it.
If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any office of trust in the United States.
There comes a time when a man must spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats.
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
...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.
A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it.
A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
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.
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.
I believe there is a limit beyond which free speech cannot go, but it's a limit that's very seldom mentioned. It's the point where free speech begins to collide with the right to privacy. I don't think there are any other conditions to free speech. I've got a right to say and believe anything I please, but I haven't got a right to press it on anybody else. ....Nobody's got a right to be a nuisance to his neighbors.
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.
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.
Jury: a group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health and business engagements, have failed to fool him.
Man is a natural polygamist: he always has one woman leading him by the nose, and another hanging on to his coattails.
Men have a much better time of it than women; for one thing, they marry later; for another thing they die earlier.
Sunday: A day given over by Americans to wishing they were dead and in heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in hell.
That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
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.
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animals.
The cosmos is a gigantic flywheel making 10,000 revolutions per minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on 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.
The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history...the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.
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.
The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.
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.
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.
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?
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.
To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
Whenever 'A' attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon 'B', 'A' is most likely a scoundrel.
Share your thoughts on H. L. Mencken's quotes with the community:
Would you like us to send you a FREE inspiring quote delivered to your inbox daily?
Use the citation below to add this author page to your bibliography:
"H. L. Mencken Quotes." Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 12 Aug. 2020. <https://www.quotes.net/authors/H.+L.+Mencken+Quotes>.