H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

H. L.
Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

American Newspaperman, Editor, Writer, Critic, Iconoclast, Satirist, Acerbic Critic of American Life and Culture, American English Scholar

Author Quotes

No man is ever too old to look at a woman, and no woman is ever too fat to hope that he will look.

Off goes the head of the king and tyranny gives way to freedom. The change seems abysmal. Then, bit by bit, the face of freedom hardens, and by and by it is the old face of tyranny. Then another cycle, and another. But under the play of all these opposites there is something fundamental and permanent ? the basic delusion that men may be governed and yet be free.

Perhaps the most revolting character that the United States ever produced was the Christian Businessman.

Religion is a conceited effort to deny the most obvious realities.

Syllogisms … la Mode ? If you are against labor racketeers, then you are against the working man. If you are against demagogues, then you are against democracy. If you are against Christianity, then you are against God. If you are against trying a can of old Dr. Quack's Cancer Salve, then you are in favor of letting Uncle Julius die.

In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.

It takes only one Communist to ruin a labor union. It takes only one drop of Oleum tiglii to turn a respectable class of rye into a Mickey Finn.

Love begins like a triolet and ends like a college yell.

Metaphysics is almost always an attempt to prove the incredible by an appeal to the unintelligible.

No man of genuinely superior intelligence has ever been an actor. Even supposing a young man of appreciable mental powers to be lured upon the stage, as philosophers are occasionally lured into bordellos, his mind would be inevitably and almost immediately destroyed by the gaudy nonsense issuing from his mouth every night.

On Franklin D. Roosevelt: If he became convinced tomorrow that coming out for cannibalism would get him the votes he so sorely needs, he would begin fattening a missionary on the White House backyard come Wednesday.

Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he also usually proves that he is one himself.

Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration - courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.

Temptation is a woman's weapon and man's excuse.

Is it hot in the rolling mill? Are the hours long? Is $15 a day not enough? Then escape is very easy. Simply throw up your job, spit on your hands, and write another "Rosenkavalier".

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.

Love is an emotion that is based on an opinion of women that is impossible for those who have had any experience with them.

Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.

No married man is genuinely happy if he has to drink worse whisky than he used to drink when he was single.

On one issue, at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.

Philosophy, as the modern world knows it, is only intellectual club-swinging.

Religion, like poetry, is simply a concerted effort to deny the most obvious realities.

Temptation is an irresistible force at work on a movable body.

It costs more to maintain ten vices than one virtue.

Jealousy is the theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.

Author Picture
First Name
H. L.
Last Name
Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken
Birth Date
Death Date

American Newspaperman, Editor, Writer, Critic, Iconoclast, Satirist, Acerbic Critic of American Life and Culture, American English Scholar