H. L. Mencken Quotes

 

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H. L. Mencken Quotes 61-74 out of 74
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That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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 and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
Government, in its very essence, is opposed to all increase in knowledge. Its tendency is always towards permanence and against change...[T]he progress of humanity, far from being the result of government, has been made entirely without its aid and in the face if its constant and bitter opposition.
Human progress is furthered, not by conformity, but by aberration.
The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts at rational thinking. Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of knowledge a serpent -- slimy, sneaking and abominable. Since the earliest days the church as an organization has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings.
Once [William Jennings Bryan] had one leg in the White House and the nation trembled under his roars. Now he is a tinpot pope in the Coca-Cola belt and a brother to the forlorn pastors who belabor halfwits in galvanized iron tabernacles behind the railroad yards.
No article of faith is proof against the disintegrating effects of increasing information; one might almost describe the acquirement of knowledge as a process of disillusion.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
The psychologists and the metaphysicians wrangle endlessly over the nature of the thinking process in man, but no matter how violently they differ otherwise they all agree that it has little to do with logic and is not much conditioned by overt facts.
There is, in fact, no reason to believe that any given natural phenomenon, however marvelous it may seem today, will remain forever inexplicable. Soon or late the laws governing the production of life itself will be discovered in the laboratory, and man may set up business as a creator on his own account. The thing, indeed, is not only conceivable; it is even highly probable.
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable.
Judge: a law student who marks his own papers.
I believe there is a limit beyond which free speech cannot go, but it's a limit that's very seldom mentioned. It's the point where free speech begins to collide with the right to privacy. I don't think there are any other conditions to free speech. I've got a right to say and believe anything I please, but I haven't got a right to press it on anybody else. .... Nobody's got a right to be a nuisance to his neighbors.
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H. L. Mencken Quotes 61-74 out of 74
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