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H. L. Mencken quotes page 4

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

Creator: A comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh.
H. L. Mencken

Tis more blessed to give than to receive; for example, wedding presents.
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

Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time.
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. The objection to it is not that it is
predominantly painful, but that it is lacking in sense.
H. L. Mencken

Don't overestimate the decency of the human race.
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

Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull.
H. L. Mencken

If we assume that man actually does resemble God, then we are forced into the impossible
theory that God is a coward, an idiot and a bounder.
H. L. Mencken

Historian: An unsuccessful novelist.
H. L. Mencken

Those who can - do. Those who can't - teach.
H. L. Mencken

The average newspaper, especially of the better sort, has the intelligence of a hillbilly
evangelist, the courage of a rat, the fairness of a prohibitionist boob-jumper, the information
of a high school janitor, the taste of a designer of celluloid valentines, and the honor of a
police-station lawyer.
H. L. Mencken

For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of
the-not-worth-knowing.
H. L. Mencken

A celebrity is one who is known by many people he is glad he doesn't know.
H. L. Mencken

Nature abhors a moron.
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

It is often argued that religion is valuable because it makes men good, but even if this were
true it would not be a proof that religion is true. That would be an extension of pragmatism
beyond endurance. Santa Claus makes children good in precisely the same way, and yet no
one would argue seriously that the fact proves his existence. The defense of religion is full of
such logical imbecilities.
H. L. Mencken

Religion is a conceited effort to deny the most obvious realities.
H. L. Mencken

The older I get the more I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field
from adultery to zoology.
H. L. Mencken

Perhaps the most revolting character that the United States ever produced was the Christian
Businessman.
H. L. Mencken

The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again
like the Salvation Army, by running flophouses and disturbing the peace.
H. L. Mencken

The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye
to the Bill of Rights.
H. L. Mencken

The worst government is 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

The best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing
knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.
H. L. Mencken

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer
he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. 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. The truly civilized man is always
skeptical and tolerant.
H. L. Mencken

All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing
forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man.
H. L. Mencken

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