H. L. Mencken Quotes

- Notable H. L. Mencken Quotes Index -

Born: September 12, 1880, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Birth Country: USA
Died: Baltimore, Maryland, USA, January 29, 1956
Occupation: Author

1.
A bad man is the sort who weeps every time he speaks of a good woman.
- H. L. Mencken

2.
A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
- H. L. Mencken

3.
A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them.
- H. L. Mencken

4.
A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.
- H. L. Mencken

5.
A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.
- H. L. Mencken

6.
Adultery is the application of democracy to love.
- H. L. Mencken

7.
All government, of course, is against liberty.
- H. L. Mencken

8.
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
- H. L. Mencken

9.
Bachelors know more about women than married men if they didn't they'd be married too.
- H. L. Mencken

10.
Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.
- H. L. Mencken

11.
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
- H. L. Mencken

12.
Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
- H. L. Mencken

13.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
- H. L. Mencken

14.
Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.
- H. L. Mencken

15.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
- H. L. Mencken

16.
Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.
- H. L. Mencken

17.
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
- H. L. Mencken

18.
For it is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together. Our friends seldom profit us but they make us feel safe. Marriage is a scheme to accomplish exactly that same end.
- H. L. Mencken

19.
Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
- H. L. Mencken

20.
Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
- H. L. Mencken

21.
Honor is simply the morality of superior men.
- H. L. Mencken

22.
Husbands never become good they merely become proficient.
- H. L. Mencken

23.
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
- H. L. Mencken

24.
I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.
- H. L. Mencken

25.
I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.
- H. L. Mencken

26.
If women believed in their husbands they would be a good deal happier and also a good deal more foolish.
- H. L. Mencken

27.
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
- H. L. Mencken

28.
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.
- H. L. Mencken

29.
In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.
- H. L. Mencken

30.
It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
- H. L. Mencken

31.
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
- H. L. Mencken

32.
It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.
- H. L. Mencken

33.
It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just and omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board of gods.
- H. L. Mencken

34.
It is not materialism that is the chief curse of the world, as pastors teach, but idealism. Men get into trouble by taking their visions and hallucinations too seriously.
- H. L. Mencken

35.
Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.
- H. L. Mencken

36.
Love is an emotion that is based on an opinion of women that is impossible for those who have had any experience with them.
- H. L. Mencken

37.
Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.
- H. L. Mencken

38.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
- H. L. Mencken

39.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
- H. L. Mencken

40.
Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?
- H. L. Mencken

41.
Men have a much better time of it than women. For one thing, they marry later for another thing, they die earlier.
- H. L. Mencken

42.
Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered there is only error to be exposed.
- H. L. Mencken

43.
No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
- H. L. Mencken

44.
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
- H. L. Mencken

45.
On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
- H. L. Mencken

46.
Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.
- H. L. Mencken

47.
Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
- H. L. Mencken

48.
Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.
- H. L. Mencken

49.
Temptation is an irresistible force at work on a movable body.
- H. L. Mencken

50.
The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.
- H. L. Mencken

51.
The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore.
- H. L. Mencken

52.
The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
- H. L. Mencken

53.
The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
- H. L. Mencken

54.
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
- H. L. Mencken

55.
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.
- H. L. Mencken

56.
The only really happy folk are married women and single men.
- H. L. Mencken

57.
The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.
- H. L. Mencken

58.
The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.
- H. L. Mencken

59.
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.
- H. L. Mencken

60.
The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.
- H. L. Mencken

61.
There are men so philosophical that they can see humor in their own toothaches. But there has never lived a man so philosophical that he could see the toothache in his own humor.
- H. L. Mencken

62.
There is a saying in Baltimore that crabs may be prepared in fifty ways and that all of them are good.
- H. L. Mencken

63.
Time stays, we go.
- H. L. Mencken

64.
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia - to mistake an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
- H. L. Mencken

65.
To die for an idea it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!
- H. L. Mencken

66.
War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.
- H. L. Mencken

67.
We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
- H. L. Mencken

68.
We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.
- H. L. Mencken

69.
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.
- H. L. Mencken

70.
What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
- H. L. Mencken

71.
When women kiss it always reminds one of prize fighters shaking hands.
- H. L. Mencken

72.
Whenever a husband and wife begin to discuss their marriage they are giving evidence at a coroner's inquest.
- H. L. Mencken

73.
Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.
- H. L. Mencken

74.
Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.
- H. L. Mencken

75.
Women have simple tastes. They get pleasure out of the conversation of children in arms and men in love.
- H. L. Mencken

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