H.L. Mencken Quotes
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He sees daily evidence that many things held to be true by nine-tenths of all men are, in reality, false, and he is thereby apt to acquire a doubt of everything, including his own beliefs.
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.
A cynic is a man who when he smells flowers looks around for a coffin.
A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.
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.
We are here and it is now. Further than that all knowledge is moonshine.
The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.
Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.
The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work stretch out in the sun and scratch himself.
Time is a great legalizer even in the fields of morals.
Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perpetual anesthesia: To mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
God is a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh.
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.
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.
Bachelors know more about women than married men if they didn't they'd be married too.
Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
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.
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.
Injustice is relatively easy to bear what stings is justice.
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.
Hope: A pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.
Penetrating so many secrets we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless calmly licking its chops.
A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know.
If women believed in their husbands they would be a good deal happier and also a good deal more foolish.
Happiness is the china shop love is the bull.
If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
The best client is a scared millionaire.
The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it.
Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
Equality before the law is probably forever unattainable. It is a noble ideal, but it can never be realized, for what men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
There is in writing the constant joy of sudden discovery, of happy accident.
Self-respect--the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
You never push a noun against a verb without trying to blow up something.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.
Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.
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.
The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.
There is reinforcement in such familiar back-formations as Chinee from Chinese, Portugee from Portuguese.
American journalism (like the journalism of any other country) is predominantly paltry and worthless. Its pretensions are enormous, but its achievements are insignificant.
The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.
Morality and honor are not to be confused. "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.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
Every great wave of popular passion that rolls up on the prairies is dashed to spray when it strikes the hard rocks of Manhattan.