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
The most pioneering H. L. Mencken quotes that are free to learn and impress others
The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.
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.
The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself... Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.
Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told.
Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.
Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.
We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
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.
Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
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.
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.
People do not expect to find chastity in a whorehouse.
Why, then, do they expect to find honesty and humanity in government, a congeries of institutions whose modus operandi consists of lying, cheating, stealing, and if need be, murdering those who resist?
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.
A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.
There is always an easy solution to every problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.
The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars;
the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.
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.
For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them.
Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
A man of active and resilient mind outwears his friendships just as certainly as he outwears his love affairs, his politics and his epistemology.
To denounce moralizing out of hand is to pronounce a moral judgment.
The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore.
I am one of the few goyim who have ever actually tackled the Talmud.
I suppose you now expect me to add that it is a profound and noble work, worthy of hard study by all other goyims. Unhappily, my report must differ from this expectation. It seems to me, save for a few bright spots, to be quite indistinguishable from rubbish.
The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
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.
Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.
The way to hold a husband is to keep him a little jealous;
the way to lose him is to keep him a little more jealous.
Nothing is so abject and pathetic as a politician who has lost his job, save only a retired stud-horse.
All the charming and beautiful things, from the Song of Songs, to bouillabaisse, and from the nine Beethoven symphonies to the Martini cocktail, have been given to humanity by men who, when the hour came, turned from tap water to something with color in it, and more in it than mere oxygen and hydrogen.
Immortality is the condition of a dead man who doesn't believe he is dead
The war on privilege will never end. Its next grat campaign will be against the special privileges of the underprivileged.
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia - to mistake an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
The military caste did not originate as a party of patriots, but as a party of bandits
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
No professional politician is ever actually in favor of public economy.
It is his implacable enemy, and he knows it. All professional politicians are dedicated wholeheartedly to waste and corruption. They are the enemies of every decent man.
The lunatic fringe wags the underdog.
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.
Laws are no longer made by a rational process of public discussion;
they are made by a process of blackmail and intimidation, and they are executed in the same manner