"Whenever 'A' attempts by law to impose
his moral standards upon 'B',
'A' is most likely a scoundrel."
H. L. Mencken
(1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic
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Reader comments about this quote:
This quote is as pertinent today, maybe more so, than when it was originally said.
 -- Roy Johnson, Detroit     
    How very true!
     -- Annette, Los Angeles     
    I guess I'd almost be willing to remove the "most likely" part of the quote given today's 'MORAL' climate.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
    Well, there's the CIA, FBI, FDA, FEMA, HSO, ACLU, IRS - to name a few alphabet soup miscreants, all of who seem determined to force their 'laws' upon US. I think it polite to call them scoundrels.
     -- John-Douglas, Nassau     
    I reckon all them "alphabet soup" outfits can be characterized by the initials -SOB
     -- JDoN, Michigan     
    I met Mencken's niece and she said she'd "never met anyone with such integrity." Would that this quote could be emblazoned upon the sky o'er this former republic as the "A's" multiply like bees.
     -- daigu, sillycon valley     
    ATF? www.ATFabuse.com
     -- Anonymous     
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    Some moral impositions or consensus is inevitable in a society. These quotes today point out that things never change. Adams and Thoreaues quotes show they felt in 1800 and 1830 the same way we do today and we think our times are so bad. I suggest the presence of some psychological condition at work in the human personality, for these guys were just as miserable as we are.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    'Most likely'? Definitely! Morality cannot be legislated. I guess when trying to scare the hell out of people to get them to do what you want doesn't work, then just pass a law requiring it. For the most part, humankind is easily yoked and tied. Just turn off the TV and suddenly most of the 'problems' just aren't any more.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    Amen brother. True wisdom here folks.
     -- Eric, Atlanta, GA     
    Most definitely; yes, those dirty rotten scoundrels
     -- RobertSRQ     
    All legislation is to define what is moral or immoral concerning the question at hand. If it were not there would be no point to it. That is not to say all legislation is good when the moral compass of so many is askew. I know that those that say "You can not legislate morality" mean that morality can not be forced on someone, but legislating morality is all that legislators do.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Hobby Lobby.
     -- anonymous     
  • 1
    warren, legislation is NOT ! to define what is moral or immoral, good or bad, etc. concerning the question at hand. If it were, the only point to it would be pure despotism and tyranny. Legislation is to define an order of natural law.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    Godliness with contentment is great gain. With out it, you are miserable. Well said Archer !! I don't care if you dance, drink, smoke or play cards. Some little chickens, and hen pecked rosters in the back row do. All the while the elite watch from their towers of ivory.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
     -- jim k, austin tx      
    Mencken is usually right and this is no exception.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
     -- jim k, Austin      
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