Quotation Explorer - 'H. L. Mencken'

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
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages. - H. L. Mencken
A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them. - H. L. Mencken
Henry James would have been vastly improved as a novelist by a few whiffs of the Chicago stockyard. - H. L. Mencken
Immortality is the condition of a dead man who doesn't believe he is dead. - H. L. Mencken
Alimony: the ransom the happy pay to the devil. - H. L. Mencken
The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated. - H. L. Mencken
Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore. - H. L. Mencken
The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. - H. L. Mencken
My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes without having a single original thought. - H. L. Mencken
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. - H. L. Mencken
Jury: a group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health and business engagements, have failed to fool him. - H. L. Mencken
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
Judge: a law student who marks his own papers. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
Lawer: one who protects us against robbery by taking away the temptation. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know. - H. L. Mencken
Adultery is the application of democracy to love. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. - H. L. Mencken
The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. - H. L. Mencken
When women kiss, it always reminds me of prizefighters shaking hands. - H. L. Mencken
If I ever marry, it will be on a sudden impulse - as a man shoots himself. - H. L. Mencken
War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebums and smaller adrenal glands. - H. L. Mencken
Self-respect: the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious. - H. L. Mencken
It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. - H. L. Mencken
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends - H. L. Mencken
There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong. - H. L. Mencken
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
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. - H. L. Mencken
Archbishop: a Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ. - H. L. Mencken
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
He marries best who puts it off until it is too late. - H. L. Mencken
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office. - H. L. Mencken
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time. - H. L. Mencken
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken
A poet more than thirty years old is simply an overgrown child. - H. L. Mencken
New York: A third-rate Babylon. - H. L. Mencken
I detest converts almost as much as I do missionaries. - H. L. Mencken
If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any office of trust in the United States. - H. L. Mencken
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents. - H. L. Mencken
Creator: a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh. - H. L. Mencken
In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell. - H. L. Mencken
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal. - H. L. Mencken
Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable. - H. L. Mencken
Man is a natural polygamist: he always has one woman leading him by the nose, and another hanging on to his coattails. - H. L. Mencken
Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true. - H. L. Mencken
For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing. - H. L. Mencken
Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. - H. L. Mencken
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. - H. L. Mencken
No normal man ever fell in love after thirty when the kidneys begin to disintegrate. - H. L. Mencken
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. - H. L. Mencken
Wife: one who is sorry she did it, but would undoubtedly do it again. - H. L. Mencken
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. - H. L. Mencken
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right. - H. L. Mencken
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
Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he also usually proves that he is one himself. - H. L. Mencken
We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine. - H. L. Mencken
I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them. - H. L. Mencken
The worshiper is the father of the gods. - H. L. Mencken
There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong. - H. L. Mencken
There comes a time when a man must spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. - H. L. Mencken
What the meaning of human life may be I don't know: I incline to suspect that it has none. - H. L. Mencken
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it. - H. L. Mencken
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time. - H. L. Mencken
Sunday: A day given over by Americans to wishing they were dead and in heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in hell. - H. L. Mencken
Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them. - H. L. Mencken
Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. - H. L. Mencken
Never let your inferiors do you a favor - it will be extremely costly. - H. L. Mencken
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. - H. L. Mencken
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
But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant. - H. L. Mencken
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking. - H. L. Mencken
Suicide is belated acquiescence in the opinion of one's wife's relatives. - H. L. Mencken
The cosmos is a gigantic flywheel making 10,000 revolutions per minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. - H. L. Mencken
Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists. - H. L. Mencken
Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing. - H. L. Mencken
It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry. - H. L. Mencken
Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian. - H. L. Mencken
The cynics are right nine times out of ten. - H. L. Mencken
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia. - H. L. Mencken
Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood. - H. L. Mencken
Criticism is prejudice made plausible. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
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
Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepare to see them misunderstood. - H. L. Mencken
Democracy: The worship of jackals by jackasses. - H. L. Mencken
Thanksgiving Day is a day devoted by persons with inflammatory rheumatism to thanking a loving Father that it is not hydrophobia. - H. L. Mencken
Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another. - H. L. Mencken
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. - H. L. Mencken
Wife: a former sweetheart. - H. L. Mencken
Any man who, having a child or children he can't support, proceeds to have another should be sterilized at once. - H. L. Mencken
Don't overestimate the decency of the human race. - H. L. Mencken
Love: The delusion that one woman differs from another. - H. L. Mencken
The first kiss is stolen by the man; the last is begged by the woman. - H. L. Mencken
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animals. - H. L. Mencken
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. - H. L. Mencken
Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage. - H. L. Mencken
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
It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull. - H. L. Mencken
The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. - H. L. Mencken
It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf. - H. L. Mencken
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
Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons. - H. L. Mencken
The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught. - H. L. Mencken
For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong. - H. L. Mencken
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