H. L. Mencken Quotes

 

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H. L. Mencken Quotes 21-40 out of 74
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Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
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.
It is the theory of all modern civilized governments that they protect and foster the liberty of the citizen; it is the practice of all of them to limit its exercise, and sometimes very narrowly.
The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that an old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had only one before.
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
All I ask is equal freedom. When it is denied, as it always is, I take it anyhow.
Debate, it seems to me, is one of the most useful of human inventions. It is the mother and father of all free inquiry and honest thought. It tests ideas, detects errors and promotes clear thinking. A man cannot stand up before it without exposing his whole intellectual stock of goods.
Democracy is a form of religion, it is the worship of jackals by jack asses.
What chiefly distinguishes the daily press is its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion.
For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.
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.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it.
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.
Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
The common notion that free speech prevails in the United States always makes me laugh.
The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing superstition or taboo.
No one ever heard of the truth being enforced by law. Whenever the secular arm is called in to sustain an idea, whether new or old, it is always a bad idea, and not infrequently it is downright idiotic.
The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.
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H. L. Mencken Quotes 21-40 out of 74
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