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. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore”, he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century.

 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