H L Mencken Quotes

The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable. 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

Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking. H L Mencken

Criticism is prejudice made plausible. H L Mencken

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. H L Mencken

The cynics are right nine times out of ten. 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

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 large part of altruism, even when it is perfectly honest, is grounded upon the fact that it is uncomfortable to have unhappy people about one. H L Mencken

No article of faith is proof against the disintegrating effects of increasing information; one might almost describe the acquirement of knowledge as a process of disillusion. H L Mencken

The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit, it is also opposed to all attempts at rational thinking. H L Mencken

The only cure for contempt is counter-contempt. H L Mencken

The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor. H L Mencken

Don’t overestimate the decency of the human race. H L Mencken

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

A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it. 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 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

The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think. H L Mencken

It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause. H L Mencken

A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas. H L Mencken

Adultery is the application of democracy to love. 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

The Old Testament, as everyone who has looked into it is aware, drips with blood; there is, indeed, no more bloody chronicle in all the literature of the world. H L Mencken

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

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

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

Sunday – A day given over by Americans to wishing that they themselves were dead and in Heaven, and that their neighbours were dead and in Hell. H L Mencken

Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn’t, they’d be married too. H L Mencken

In the long run all battles are lost, and so are all wars. H L Mencken

A bore is simply a nonentity who resents his humble lot in life, and seeks satisfaction for his wounded ego by forcing himself on his betters. 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

School-days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. H L Mencken

Let’s not burn the universities yet. After all, the damage they do might be worse. H L Mencken

Theology: An effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into terms of the not worth knowing. H L Mencken

Self-respect: The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious. H L Mencken

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. H L Mencken

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair. H L Mencken

Temptation is an irresistible force at work on a moveable body. H L Mencken

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

A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know. H L Mencken

I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail. H L Mencken