H.L. Mencken

1880 - 1956

A Quote by H. L. Mencken on curiosity, desires, dogs, good, ideas, injustice, men, motives, science, secrets, service, slavery, value, and world

The value the world sets upon motives is often grossly unjust and inaccurate. Consider, for example, two of them: mere insatiable curiosity and the desire to do good. The latter is put high above the former, and yet it is the former that moves one of the most useful men the human race has yet produced: the scientific investigator. What actually urges him on is not some brummagem idea of Service, but a boundless, almost pathological thirst to penetrate the unknown, to uncover the secret, to find out what has not been found out before. His prototype is not the liberator releasing slaves, the good Samaritan lifting up the fallen, but a dog sniffing tremendously at an infinite series of rat-holes.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Source: Reprinted in A Mencken Crestomathy,Vintage Books,NY,’82, 1st in Smart Set Aug’19

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken on democracy and men

Democracy the domination of unreflective and timorous men, moved in vast herds by mob conditions.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken

Hanging one scoundrel, it appears, does not deter the next. Well, what of it? The first one at least is disposed of.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken on home, lies, and people

A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken on honor and regret

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.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken on efficiency, facts, and secrets

The fact that a human brain of high amperage, otherwise highly efficient, may have a hole in it is surely not a secret.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by H. L. Mencken on assumptions, dawn, desires, history, inspiration, knowledge, men, progress, and worth

It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone - that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous. . . . The great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history. They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken on injustice and justice

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is Justice.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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A Quote by H. L. Mencken on knowledge

We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by H. L. Mencken on courage, facts, inferiority, liberty, lies, love, mind, quality, resolution, self-reliance, and wonder

The fact is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man's mind. And no wonder, for genuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it; blood, said Jefferson, is its natural manure. Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means the capacity for doing without . . . the average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe.

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Contributed by: Zaady

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