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H. L. Mencken Biography (Henry Louis Mencken) : Writer
Famous for : Being a notable writer and journalist sometimes called the American Nietzsche. Mencken was a critic of the government, religion and other acts of stupidity.
Mencken details : Born - 12th of September, 1880 Baltimore, Maryland, United States / Died 29th of January, 1956 Maryland, United States of America

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Business Quotes by H. L. Mencken Inspiring Quotes by Famous Philosopher Henry Mencken

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, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
H. L. Mencken - Danger - Government -
Ideas - Thinking - Insane - Dishonest - Discontent

Politics, under a democracy, reduces itself to a mere struggle for office by flatterers of the proletariat; even when a superior man prevails at that disgusting game he must prevail at the cost of his self-respect. Not many superior men make the attempt. The average great captain of the rabble, when he is not simply a weeper over irremediable wrongs, is a hypocrite so far gone that he is unconscious of his own hypocrisy.. a slimy fellow, offensive to the nose.
H. L. Mencken - Politics - Democracy -
Proletariat - Politicians - Hypocrisy - Unconscious

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
H. L. Mencken - Newspapers - Ignorance - Crazy

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind — that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
H. L. Mencken - Thinking - Belief - Religion - Ethics - Honesty

Under the pressure of fanaticism, and with the mob complacently applauding the show, democratic law tends more and more to be grounded upon the maxim that every citizen is, by nature, a traitor, a libertine, and a scoundrel. In order to dissuade him from his evil-doing the police power is extended until it surpasses anything ever heard of in the oriental monarchies of antiquity.
H. L. Mencken - Democracy - Police - Law - Evil - Authority

Probably the worst thing that has happened in America in my time is the decay of confidence in the courts. No one can be sure any more that in a given case they will uphold the plainest mandate of the Constitution. On the contrary, everyone begins to be more or less convinced in advance that they won't. Judges are chosen not because they know the Constitution and are in favor of it, but precisely because they appear to be against it.
H. L. Mencken - America - Law - Constitution

I was wise to quit writing for the Sun back in January, 1941, for it was obvious by then that Roosevelt would horn into the war soon or late, and I knew by bitter experience in the last war that I'd be throttled at once. Since then I have thought out many likely articles, but not one of them has been printable. In these days, indeed, my very vocabulary is prohibited. I couldn't so much as mention Roosevelt or Churchill or any of the other frauds without having to face a savage official onslaught, with all blows directed below the belt. The common notion that free speech prevails in the United States always makes me laugh.
H. L. Mencken - Government - Politics - Newspapers - America - Quitting - War - Freedom of Speech - Fraud

The course of the United States in World War II, I said, was dishonest, dishonorable, and ignominious, and the Sunpapers, by supporting Roosevelt's foreign policy, shared in this disgrace.
H. L. Mencken - America - War - Dishonesty - Newspapers - Foreign Policy

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.
H. L. Mencken - Government - Talent - Theft - Lies - Politicians - Election

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. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty — and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.
H. L. Mencken - Democracy - Liberty - Love - Freedom - Justice - Courage

One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions. At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty.
H. L. Mencken - Democracy - Law - Intelligent - Punishment - America - Evil - Liberty - Belief

The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
H. L. Mencken - Criticism - Stupid - Ideas

The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. Its evil effects must be plain enough to everyone. All it accomplishes is (a) to throw a veil of sanctity about ideas that violate every intellectual decency, and (b) to make every theologian a sort of chartered libertine. No doubt it is mainly to blame for the appalling slowness with which really sound notions make their way in the world.
H. L. Mencken - Evil - Religion - Ideas - Opinions

Suppose two-thirds of the members of the national House of Representatives were dumped into the Washington garbage incinerator tomorrow, what would we lose to offset our gain of their salaries and the salaries of their parasites?
H. L. Mencken - Politicians - Washington

Off goes the head of the king, and tyranny gives way to freedom. The change seems abysmal. Then, bit by bit, the face of freedom hardens, and by and by it is the old face of tyranny. Then another cycle, and another. But under the play of all these opposites there is something fundamental and permanent — the basic delusion that men may be governed and yet be free.
H. L. Mencken - Government - Freedom - Change - Tyranny

This combat between proletariat and plutocracy is, after all, itself a civil war. Two inferiorities struggle for the privilege of polluting the world.
H. L. Mencken - Proletariat - War - Plutocracy

Quotations by H. L. Mencken Quotations by the American Journalist and Social Critic Henry Mencken

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