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Best H. L. Mencken Quotes

H. L. Mencken Quotes About Government, Love, Education, Funny, Freedom, Morality, Good and Hard, & Journalism! As an editor, critic, and humorist, H.L. Mencken served as an inspiration to many of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. He was severely critical of the American way of life, culture, and the shortcomings of the American democracy. ‘He wrote a multi-volume work, ‘The American Language,’ which documented the development of American English. On September 12, 1880, he was born. He received his diploma from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute when he was sixteen years old. He worked in his father’s cigar factory from 1896 to 1898. He quit the factory since he did not enjoy his work.

H. L. Mencken Quotes

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He began his career as a part-time reporter for the ‘Baltimore Morning Herald’ in 1899 but quickly ascended to the editor. He started his literary criticism career by editing satirical magazines like The Smart Set at the same time. From 1914 through 1923, he worked at the magazine. He launched the journal, ‘The American Mercury,’ with Jean Nathan, a well-known American theatrical critic, and editor, which Alfred A. Knopf published. He was an editor there. In the United States, the magazine was a huge hit.

While living through the Great Depression, H.L. Mencken’s fame starts to decline. In 1948, he made his political debut by concentrating on the election of Harry S. Truman as president of the United States. He was awarded the Gold Medal for the American Academy of Arts from Belles Lettres and Criticism for his hilarious works. Because of his literary contributions, he is famously known as the “Baltimore Sage.” On January 29, 1956, Mencken passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Best H. L. Mencken Quotes

1. “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, most of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken

2. “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.” — H.L. Mencken

3. “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” — H.L. Mencken

4. “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” — H.L. Mencken

5. “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.” — H.L. Mencken

6. “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.” — H.L. Mencken

7. “The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.” — H.L. Mencken

8. “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

9. “A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.” — H.L. Mencken

10. “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.” — H.L. Mencken

11. “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” — H.L. Mencken

12. Human Life is basically a comedy. A man who can laugh, if only at himself, is never really miserable.— H.L. Mencken

13. “The ideal Government of all reflective men, from Aristotle onward, is one which lets the individual alone – one which barely escapes being no government at all.” — H.L. Mencken

14. “In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.” — H.L. Mencken

15. “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” — H.L. Mencken

16. “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” — H.L. Mencken

17. “Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.” — H.L. Mencken

18. “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” — H.L. Mencken

19. “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.” — H.L. Mencken

20. “As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. 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

21. “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

22. “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” — H.L. Mencken

23. “The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians.” — H.L. Mencken

24. “The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice, and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely.” — H.L. Mencken

25. “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.” — H.L. Mencken

26. “It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull.” — H.L. Mencken

27. “The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable. No virtuous man — that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense — has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading.” — H.L. Mencken

28. “The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.” — H.L. Mencken

29. “If women believed in their husbands they would be a good deal happier and also a good deal more foolish.” — H.L. Mencken

30. “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” — H.L. Mencken

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