H. L. Mencken

Quotations

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

Prejudices, First Series (1919)

Creator — A comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh.

A Book of Burlesques‎ (1920)

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.

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

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 are smart.

No man ever quite believes in any other man.
One may believe in an idea absolutely, but not in a man.

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.

It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.

Explanations exist; they have existed for all times, for there is always an easy solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.

'The Divine Afflatus,' in the New York Evening Mail, November 15, 1917

For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong.

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

A man may be a fool and not know it – but not if he is married.

Thanksgiving Day-A day devoted by persons with inflammatory rheumatism to thanking a loving Father that it is not hydrophobia.

A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 30, p. 618, Knopf (1949)

Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.

Attributed