All Quotations / Quotations from Henry Louis Mencken
A formula for answering controversial letters -- without even reading the letters Dear Sir (or Madame) You may be right.
A man always blames the woman who fooled him. In the same way he blames the door he walks into in the dark.
A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
A sound American is simply one who has put out of his mind all doubts and questionings, and who accepts instantly, and as incontrovertible gospel, the whole body of official doctrine of his day, whatever it may be and no matter how often it may change. The instant he challenges it, no matter how timorously and academically, he ceases by that much to be a loyal and creditable citizen of the republic.
But any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood, and that is what happened to Jesus.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.
Every man is his own hell.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.
For every problem, there is one solution which is simple, neat and wrong.
For men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt.
It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for any public office.
Legend a lie that has attained the dignity of age.
Life is a dead-end street.
Love is like war easy to begin but very hard to stop.
Love is the mistaken belief that one woman differs from another.
Love is the triump of imagination over intelligence.
Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution.
No man ever quite believes in any other man.
No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
One may no more live in the world without picking up the moral prejudices of the world than one will be able to go to hell without perspiring.
School days are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, with brutal violations of common sense and common decency.
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore.
The cynics are right nine times out of ten.
The fact that I have no remedy for the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong possibility that yours is a fake.
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 invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.
The only cure for contempt is countercontempt.
The only really happy folk are married women and single men.
The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty, that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self- reliance. He is led no longer by Davy Crocketts he is led by cheer leaders, press agents, word mongers, uplifters.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
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.
There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong.
Time is the great legalizer, even in the field of morals.
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia--to mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
Whenever A annoys or injures B on the pretense of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel.