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Henry Louis Mencken Famous Quotes

Henry Louis Mencken quotes and aphorisms

Henry Louis Mencken quotes and aphorisms

linedividerLove is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

Honor is simply the morality of superior men.
Henry Louis Mencken

No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
Henry Louis Mencken

Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

Women have simple tastes. They get pleasure out of the conversation of children in arms and men in love.
Henry Louis 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.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
Henry Louis Mencken

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
Henry Louis Mencken

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn’t they’d be married too.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes that she were not.
Henry Louis Mencken

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
Henry Louis Mencken

We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
Henry Louis Mencken

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
Henry Louis Mencken

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

Temptation is a woman’s weapon and man’s excuse.
Henry Louis Mencken

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
Henry Louis Mencken

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
Henry Louis 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.
Henry Louis Mencken

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
Henry Louis Mencken

A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.
Henry Louis Mencken

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
Henry Louis Mencken

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
Henry Louis Mencken

We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.
Henry Louis Mencken

Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

Man is a beautiful machine that works very badly.
Henry Louis 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.
Henry Louis 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.
Henry Louis Mencken

The only really happy folk are married women and single men.
Henry Louis 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 and he has not been caught.
Henry Louis Mencken

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
Henry Louis Mencken

I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
Henry Louis Mencken

No married man is genuinely happy if he has to drink worse whisky than he used to drink when he was single.
Henry Louis Mencken

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there.
Henry Louis Mencken

Criticism is prejudice made plausible.
Henry Louis Mencken

When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before.
Henry Louis Mencken

No man ever quite believes in any other man. One may believe in an idea absolutely, but not in a man.
Henry Louis Mencken

The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore.
Henry Louis Mencken

The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.
Henry Louis Mencken

A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
Henry Louis 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.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

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

All government, of course, is against liberty.
Henry Louis Mencken

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
Henry Louis Mencken

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
Henry Louis Mencken

Wealth – any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.
Henry Louis Mencken

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.

I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.
Henry Louis Mencken

To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia – to mistake an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
Henry Louis Mencken

All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
Henry Louis 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.
Henry Louis Mencken

A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he begins to bunch them.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

Whenever a husband and wife begin to discuss their marriage they are giving evidence at a coroner’s inquest.
Henry Louis Mencken

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Henry Louis Mencken

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
Henry Louis Mencken

A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.
Henry Louis Mencken

Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.
Henry Louis Mencken

Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
Henry Louis Mencken

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
Henry Louis Mencken

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God’s children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.
Henry Louis Mencken

The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

Adultery is the application of democracy to love.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

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

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.
Henry Louis Mencken

I confess I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing.
Henry Louis Mencken

There is always an easy solution to every problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken

What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
Henry Louis Mencken

Alimony – the ransom that the happy pay to the devil.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

Don’t overestimate the decency of the human race.
Henry Louis Mencken

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

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

Men have a much better time of it than women. For one thing, they marry later; for another thing, they die earlier.
Henry Louis Mencken

Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.
Henry Louis Mencken

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.
Henry Louis Mencken

Life is a dead-end street.
Henry Louis Mencken

Temptation is an irresistible force at work on a movable body.
Henry Louis Mencken

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About Carl William Brown

In tristitia hilaris, in hilaritate tristis! Carl William Brown is a webmaster, trader, teacher and writer. He founded both Daimon Club and Fortattack.

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