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H. L. Mencken quotes (148)

A bad man is the sort who weeps every time he speaks of a good woman.
H. L. Mencken   Category:

A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there.
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A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
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A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
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A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
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A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them.
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A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married.
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A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.
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A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
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A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
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A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.
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A prohibitionist is the sort of man one couldn't care to drink with, even if he drank.
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A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.
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A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
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Adultery is the application of democracy to love.
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Alimony - the ransom that the happy pay to the devil.
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All government, of course, is against liberty.
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
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An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
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Archbishop - A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.
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As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.
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Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't they'd be married too.
H. L. Mencken   Category: Marriage

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.
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Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.
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Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.
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Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.
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Criticism is prejudice made plausible.
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Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
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Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.
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Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven.
H. L. Mencken   Category:

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
H. L. Mencken   Category: Government

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
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Don't overestimate the decency of the human race.
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Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.
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Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
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Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
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Every man is his own hell.
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Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.
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Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
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Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
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For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.
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For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
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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.
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Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
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Have you ever watched a crab on the shore crawling backward in search of the Atlantic Ocean, and missing? That's the way the mind of man operates.
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Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
H. L. Mencken   Category: History

Honor is simply the morality of superior men.
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Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient.
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I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
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I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
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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.
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I confess I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing.
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I go on working for the same reason that a hen goes on laying eggs.
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I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.
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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.
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I never smoked a cigarette until I was nine.
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I write in order to attain that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk.
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If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
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If women believed in their husbands they would be a good deal happier and also a good deal more foolish.
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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.
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Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
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In the duel of sex woman fights from a dreadnought and man from an open raft.
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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   Category: Politics

In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.
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Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what sting is justice.
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It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.
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It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
H. L. Mencken   Category: Funny

It is hard for the ape to believe he descended from man.
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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.
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It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.
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