110 Famous Quotes by American Scholar H. L. Mencken

Collection of most interesting and famous quotes by English writer H. L. Mencken.

Henry Louis Mencken was an American journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians and contemporary movements

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Best Quotes by H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is an emotion that is based on an opinion of women that is impossible for those who have had any experience with them.

— H. L. Mencken

Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— 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

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy.

— H. L. Mencken

We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.

— 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 taste of the American public.

— H. L. Mencken

Marriage is a wonderful institution but who would want to live in an institution?

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— 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

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

— 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

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

— H. L. Mencken

A bad man is the sort who weeps every time he speaks of a good woman.

— H. L. Mencken

Husbands never become good they merely become proficient.

— H. L. Mencken

If women believed in their husbands they would be a good deal happier and also a good deal more foolish.

— H. L. Mencken

There is a saying in Baltimore that crabs may be prepared in fifty ways and that all of them are good.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. 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.

— 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

All government of course is against liberty.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.

— H. L. Mencken

Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.

— 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

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.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Adultery is the application of democracy to love.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is an emotion that is based on an opinion of women that is impossible for those who have had any experience with them.

— H. L. Mencken

Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Marriage is a wonderful institution but who would want to live in an institution?

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

Honor is simply the morality of superior men.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

The only really happy folk are married women and single men.

— H. L. 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.

— 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

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

— 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

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

— H. L. Mencken

Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— 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

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.

— H. L. Mencken

The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.

— H. L. Mencken

The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Poetry has done enough when it charms but prose must also convince.

— 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

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

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

Communism like any other revealed religion is largely made up of prophecies.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. 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.

— 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

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

— H. L. Mencken

A bad man is the sort who weeps every time he speaks of a good woman.

— H. L. Mencken

Time stays we go.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. 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.

— 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

Nine times out of ten in the arts as in life there is actually no truth to be discovered there is only error to be exposed.

— H. L. Mencken

Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.

— H. L. 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.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

The only really happy folk are married women and single men.

— H. L. Mencken

Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Love is an emotion that is based on an opinion of women that is impossible for those who have had any experience with them.

— H. L. Mencken

When women kiss it always reminds one of prize fighters shaking hands.

— H. L. Mencken

If women believed in their husbands they would be a good deal happier and also a good deal more foolish.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— H. L. Mencken

Which quote by H. L. Mencken you like the most?

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