H. L. Mencken quotes

Born
September 12, 1880, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

Died
January 29, 1956.

Occupation
Journalist, satirist, cultural critic.

H. L. Mencken was an American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English. 

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
– H. L. 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.
– H. L. Mencken

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
– 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

Injustice is relatively easy to bear what stings is justice.
– H. L. Mencken

The average man does not get pleasure out of an idea because he thinks it is true; he thinks it is true because he gets pleasure out of it.
– H. L. Mencken

What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
– H. L. Mencken

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and Hence Clamorous To Be Led To Safety by an endless series of hobgoblins.
– H. L. Mencken

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
– H. L. Mencken

It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.
– H. L. Mencken

Legend : a lie that has attained the dignity of age.
– H. L. Mencken

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
– H. L. Mencken

Time stays, we go.
– H. L. Mencken

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
– H. L. Mencken

Democracy is also a form of religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
– H. L. Mencken

Don’t overestimate the decency of the human race.
– H. L. Mencken

On one issue at least, men and women agree; they both distrust women.
– H. L. Mencken

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
– H. L. 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.
– H. L. Mencken

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
– H. L. Mencken

It is hard for the ape to believe he descended from man.
– H. L. Mencken

Unionism, seldom if ever, uses such powers as it has to ensure better work; almost always it devotes a large part of that power to safeguard bad work.
– H. L. 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.
– 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

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

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

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.
– H. L. Mencken

The fact that I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake.
– H. L. Mencken