H L Mencken Quotes & Wallpapers

H L Mencken
Total Quotes: 1158

There's no underestimating the intelligence of the American public. H L Mencken

I know a good many men of great learning-that is, men born with an extraordinary eagerness and capacity to acquire knowledge. One and all, they tell me that they can't recall learning anything of any value in school. All that schoolmasters managed to accomplish with them was to test and determine the amount of knowledge that they had already acquired independently-and not infrequently the determination was made clumsily and inaccurately. H L Mencken

Well, I tell you, if I have been wrong in my agnosticism, when I die I'll walk up to God in a manly way and say, Sir, I made an honest mistake. H L Mencken

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt. H L Mencken

Only to often on meeting scientific men, even those of genuine distiction, one finds that they are dull fellows and very stupid. They know one thing to excess; they know nothing else. Pursuing facts too doggedly and unimaginatively, they miss all the charming things that are not facts. ... Too much learning, like too little learning, is an unpleasant and dangerous thing. H L Mencken

The more I think you over, the more it comes home to me what an unmitigated Middle Victorian ass you are! H L Mencken

War is the only sport which is genuinely amusing. And it is the only sport which has any intelligible use. H L Mencken

I am one of the few goyim who have ever actually tackled the Talmud. I suppose you now expect me to add that it is a profound and noble work, worthy of hard study by all other goyims. Unhappily, my report must differ from this expectation. It seems to me, save for a few bright spots, to be quite indistinguishable from rubbish. H L Mencken

Some time ago a publisher told me that there are four kinds of books that seldom, if ever, lose money in the United States-first,murder stories; secondly, novels in which the heroine is forcibly overcome by the hero; thirdly, volumes on spiritualism, occultism and other such claptrap, and fourthly, books on Lincoln. H L Mencken

When a woman says she won't, it's a good sign that she will. And when she says she will, it is an even better sign. H L Mencken

...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. H L Mencken

I am, in fact, the complete anti-Messiah, and detest converts almost as much as I detest missionaries. My writings, such as they are, have had only one purpose: to attain for H. L. Mencken that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk. H L Mencken

Bachelors know more about women than married men. If they didn't they'd be married, too. H L Mencken

Whenever I write anything that sets up controversy its meaning is distorted almost instantly. Even the editorial writers of newspapers seem to be unable to understand the plainest sentence. H L Mencken

The time must come inevitably when mankind shall surmount the imbecility of religion, as it has surmounted the imbecility of religion's ally, magic. It is impossible to imagine this world being really civilized so long as so much nonsense survives. In even its highest forms religion embraces concepts that run counter to all common sense. It can be defended only by making assumptions and adopting rules of logic that are never heard of in any other field of human thinking. H L Mencken

Progress: The process whereby the human race has got rid of whiskers, the vermiform appendix, and God. H L Mencken

As long as you represent me as praising alcohol I shall not complain, H L Mencken

Of government, at least in democratic states, it may be said briefly that it is an agency engaged wholesale, and as a matter of solemn duty, in the performance of acts which all self-respecting individuals refrain from as a matter of common decency. H L Mencken

Remorse-Regret that one waited so long to do it. H L Mencken

To the best of my knowledge and belief, the average American newspaper, even of the so-called better sort, is not only quite as bad as Upton Sinclair says it is, but 10 times worse - 10 times as ignorant, 10 times as unfair and tyrannical, 10 times as complaisant and pusillanimous, and 10 times as devious, hypocritical, disingenuous, deceitful, pharisaical, Peeksniffian, fraudulent, slippery, unscrupulous, perfidious, lewd and dishonest. H L Mencken

The university president who cashiered every professor unwilling to support Woodrow Wilson for the first vacancy in the Trinity... H L Mencken

What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor. 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

War may make a fool of man, but it by no means degrades him; on the contrary, it tends to exalt him, and its net effects are much like those of motherhood on women. H L Mencken

The critic, to interpret his artist, even to understand his artist, must be able to get into the mind of his artist; he must feel and comprehend the vast pressure of the creative passion. H L Mencken

If a sense of duty tortures a man, it also enables him to achieve prodigies. H L Mencken

Man is never honestly the fatalist, nor even the stoic. He fights his fate, often desperately. He is forever entering bold exceptions to the rulings of the bench of gods. This fighting, no doubt, makes for human progress, for it favors the strong and the brave. It also makes for beauty, for lesser men try to escape from a hopeless and intolerable world by creating a more lovely one of their own. H L Mencken

It is impossible to believe that the same God who permitted His own son to die a bachelor regards celibacy as an actual sin. H L Mencken

Living with a dog is easy- like living with an idealist. H L Mencken

A gentlemen is one who never strikes a woman without provocation. H L Mencken

Women have a hard enough time in this world: telling them the truth would be too cruel. H L Mencken

A woman usually respects her father, but her view of her husband is mingled with contempt, for she is of course privy to the transparent devices by which she snared him. H L Mencken

Liberty is of small value to the lower third of humanity. They greatly prefer security, which means protection by some class above them. They are always in favor of despots who promise to feed them. The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work, stretch out in the sun, and scratch himself. H L Mencken

No democratic delusion is more fatuous than that which holds that all men are capable of reason, and hence susceptible to conversion by evidence. If religions depended upon evidence for their prolongation, then all of them would collapse. H L Mencken

The most common of all follies is to believe in the palpably untrue. H L Mencken

There are some politicians who, if their constituents were cannibals, would promise them missionaries in every pot. H L Mencken

I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war on liberty, and that the democratic government is at least as bad as any of the other forms. H L Mencken

Public opinion, in its raw state, gushes out in the immemorial form of the mob's fear. It is piped into central factories, and there it is flavoured and coloured and put into cans. H L Mencken

...there is really no need for the gentlemen of the cloth to be alarmed, for not too many human beings... are fit for encounters with the gods. The rest prefer to transact their business at a distance and through intermediaries. H L Mencken

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. H L Mencken

Suicide: a belated acquiescence in the opinion of one's wife's relatives. H L Mencken

Love is the most fun you can have without laughing. H L Mencken

What democracy needs most of all is a party that will separate the good that is in it theoretically from the evils that beset it practically, and then try to erect that good into a workable system. H L Mencken

The military caste did not originate as a party of patriots, but as a party of bandits. H L Mencken

If he became convinced tomorrow that coming out for cannibalism would get him the votes he so sorely needs, he would begin fattening a missionary on the White House backyard come Wednesday. H L Mencken

Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops H L Mencken

Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull. H L Mencken

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

Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself. 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

The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians. H L Mencken

The common notion that free speech prevails in the United States always makes me laugh. H L Mencken

Nevertheless, it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. H L Mencken

Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it. H L Mencken

No matter how long he lives, no man ever becomes as wise as the average woman of forty-eight. 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

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

God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. H L Mencken

Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration - courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth. H L Mencken

Everyman 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

How little it takes to make life unbearable: a pebble in the shoe, a cockroach in the spaghetti, a woman's laugh. H L Mencken

All the charming and beautiful things, from the Song of Songs, to bouillabaisse, and from the nine Beethoven symphonies to the Martini cocktail, have been given to humanity by men who, when the hour came, turned from tap water to something with color in it, and more in it than mere oxygen and hydrogen. H L Mencken

There comes a time in every man's life when he's consumed by the desire to spit on his palms, hoist the black flag and start cutting throats. H L Mencken

Sin is a dangerous toy in the hands of the virtuous. It should be left to the congenitally sinful, who know when to play with it and when to let it alone. H L Mencken

The only way that a government can provide for jobs for all citizens is by deciding what every man should do. H L Mencken

The only really respectable Protestants are the fundamentalists. Unfortunately, they are also palpable idiots. H L Mencken

Who will argue that 98.6 Farenheit is the right temperature for man? As for me, I decline to do it. It may be that we are all actually freezing hence the pervading stupidity of mankind. At 110 or 115 degrees even archbishops might be intelligent. H L Mencken

The storm center of lawlessness in every American State is the State Capitol. It is there that the worst crimes are committed; it is there that lawbreaking attains to the estate and dignity of a learned profession; it is there that contempt for the laws is engendered, fostered, and spread broadcast. H L Mencken

Jury - A group of 12 people, who, having lied to the judge about their health, hearing, and business engagements, have failed to fool him. H L Mencken

All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: it's one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him.... One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. H L Mencken

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