H. L. Mencken

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.

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.

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.

Don’t overestimate the decency of the human race.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.

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.

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.

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

It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.

For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

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