The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.
Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.
When women kiss it always reminds one of prize fighters shaking hands.
We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.
The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy.
My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought.
There are two kinds of books those that no one reads and those that no one ought to read.
Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.
The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.
The average man does not get pleasure out of an idea because he thinks it is true he thinks it is true because he gets pleasure out of it.
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.
Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
No man is genuinely happy, married, who has to drink worse gin than he used to drink when he was single.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
Man weeps to think that he will die so soon; woman, that she was born so long ago.
Men have a much better time of it than women. For one thing, they marry later; for another thing, they die earlier.
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.
The lunatic fringe wags the underdog.
It is not materialism that is the chief curse of the world, as pastors teach, but idealism. Men get into trouble by taking their visions and hallucinations too seriously.
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
A judge is a law student who grades his own papers.
To be in love is merely to be in a perpetual state of anesthesia.
There is perhaps one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it.
Fame is an embalmer trembling with stage fright.
I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.
More H. L. Mencken Quotations (Based on Topics)
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T. H. White - Paul Davies - Ivo Andric - Herbert Kaufman - Dr. Seuss - Bram Stoker - Ayn Rand - Antiphanes - Anthony Hope - Abraham Polonsky