Quotes of H. L. 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. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true! ”

- H. L. Mencken

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

- H. L. Mencken

“ A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. ”

- H. L. Mencken

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

- H. L. Mencken

“ It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know. ”

- H. L. Mencken

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

- H. L. Mencken

“ Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ Criticism is prejudice made plausible. ”

- H. L. Mencken

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

- 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

“ The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy! ”

- 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

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

- H. L. Mencken

“ It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. ”

- 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 and he has not been caught. ”

- 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

“ Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepare to see them misunderstood. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true! ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine. ”

- H. L. Mencken

“ A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers. ”

- 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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