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H.L. Mencken Quotes

About H.L. Mencken

H.L. Mencken

Life: 1880 - 1956

Country: us flag America

Profession: Journalist;

Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken (September 12, 1880, Baltimore - January 29, 1956, Baltimore, Maryland), was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century.

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Quotations

Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven.

~ H.L. Mencken

As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

~ H.L. Mencken

- The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

A good politician under democracy is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

~ H.L. Mencken

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

~ H.L. Mencken

- Prejudices: Third Series, 1922


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

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

~ 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

- 1956

laughing

Adultery is the application of democracy to love.

~ 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 the truth.

~ H.L. Mencken

- quoted in Alistair Cooke, ed., The Vintage Mencken, 1955

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

~ H.L. Mencken

Bachelors have consciences, married men have wives.

~ H.L. Mencken

Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't, they'd be married too.

~ 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

I never agree with Communists or any other kind of kept men.

~ H.L. Mencken

Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.

~ 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

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.

~ H.L. Mencken

Don't overestimate the decency of the human race.

~ H.L. Mencken

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

~ 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.

~ H.L. Mencken

On one issue at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.

~ H.L. Mencken

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

~ H.L. Mencken

The more a man dreams, the less he believes.

~ H.L. Mencken

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.

~ H.L. Mencken

Fame: an embalmer trembling with stage fright.

~ H.L. Mencken

Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.

~ H.L. Mencken

As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.

~ H.L. Mencken

In war, the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.

~ 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

Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient.

~ 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

The curse of man, and the cause of nearly all his woe, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible.

~ H.L. Mencken

Injustice is relatively easy to bear. What stings is justice.

~ H.L. Mencken

The way to hold a husband is to keep him a little jealous; the way to lose him is to keep him a little more jealous.

~ 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
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