I Must Read More Mencken

Shamelessly lifted from:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7805.H_L_Mencken

There are 252 more, if, at the bottom of their page you click the little next box…

With much less good formatting and a minor reordering (to put the really really long God’s Graveyard one at the end) and with some called out as meaning a bit extra to me;

Begin Quoted Quotes:

“We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

“I am suspicious of all the things that the average people believes.”
― H.L. Mencken

[Or the 97% – E.M.Smith]

“I know some who are constantly drunk on books as other men are drunk on whiskey.”
― H.L. Mencken

“The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.”
― H.L. Mencken

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. 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.”
― H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

“An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Book of Burlesques

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable…”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Third Series

[We’ve just lived through that time and decided to change things… -E.M.Smith]

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

“If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.”
― H.L. Mencken

“In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic. But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.”
― H.L. Mencken

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.”
― H.L. Mencken

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
― H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy

“On one issue, at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.”
― H.L. Mencken

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
― H.L. Mencken

“A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”
― H.L. Mencken

“Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major

“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

“Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull.”
― H.L. Mencken

“The best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.”
― H.L. Mencken

“Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Second Series

“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 smart.”
― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.”
― H.L. Mencken

“You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.”
― H.L. Mencken

“It is often argued that religion is valuable because it makes men good, but even if this were true it would not be a proof that religion is true. That would be an extension of pragmatism beyond endurance. Santa Claus makes children good in precisely the same way, and yet no one would argue seriously that the fact proves his existence. The defense of religion is full of such logical imbecilities. The theologians, taking one with another, are adept logicians, but every now and then they have to resort to sophistries so obvious that their whole case takes on an air of the ridiculous. Even the most logical religion starts out with patently false assumptions. It is often argued in support of this or that one that men are so devoted to it that they are willing to die for it. That, of course, is as silly as the Santa Claus proof. Other men are just as devoted to manifestly false religions, and just as willing to die for them. Every theologian spends a large part of his time and energy trying to prove that religions for which multitudes of honest men have fought and died are false, wicked, and against God.”
― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

“All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

“Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. Wars are no longer waged by the will of superior men, capable of judging dispassionately and intelligently the causes behind them and the effects flowing out of them. The are now begun by first throwing a mob into a panic; they are ended only when it has spent its ferine fury.”
― H.L. Mencken, In Defense Of Women

[We seem to have entered the “combat of crazies” to extend it a little… -E.M.Smith]

“The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”
― H.L. Mencken

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major

“Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: Third Series

“Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a time when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And who of Huitzilopochtli? In one year – and it is no more than five hundred years ago – 50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest. Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried out with the sun.

When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha and Wotan, he is now the peer of Richmond P. Hobson, Alton B. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler and Tom Sharkey.

Speaking of Huitzilopochtli recalls his brother Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca was almost as powerful; he consumed 25,000 virgins a year.

Lead me to his tomb: I would weep, and hang a couronne des perles. But who knows where it is? Or where the grave of Quetzalcoatl is? Or Xiuhtecuhtli? Or Centeotl, that sweet one? Or Tlazolteotl, the goddess of love? Of Mictlan? Or Xipe? Or all the host of Tzitzimitl? Where are their bones? Where is the willow on which they hung their harps? In what forlorn and unheard-of Hell do they await their resurrection morn? Who enjoys their residuary estates? Or that of Dis, whom Caesar found to be the chief god of the Celts? Of that of Tarves, the bull? Or that of Moccos, the pig? Or that of Epona, the mare? Or that of Mullo, the celestial jackass? There was a time when the Irish revered all these gods, but today even the drunkest Irishman laughs at them.

But they have company in oblivion: the Hell of dead gods is as crowded
as the Presbyterian Hell for babies. Damona is there, and Esus, and
Drunemeton, and Silvana, and Dervones, and Adsullata, and Deva, and
Bellisima, and Uxellimus, and Borvo, and Grannos, and Mogons. All mighty gods in their day, worshipped by millions, full of demands and impositions, able to bind and loose – all gods of the first class. Men labored for generations to build vast temples to them – temples with stones as large as hay-wagons.

The business of interpreting their whims occupied thousands of priests,
bishops, archbishops. To doubt them was to die, usually at the stake.
Armies took to the field to defend them against infidels; villages were burned, women and children butchered, cattle were driven off. Yet in the end they all withered and died, and today there is none so poor to do them reverence.

What has become of Sutekh, once the high god of the whole Nile Valley? What has become of:
Resheph
Anath
Ashtoreth
El
Nergal
Nebo
Ninib
Melek
Ahijah
Isis
Ptah
Anubis
Baal
Astarte
Hadad
Addu
Shalem
Dagon
Sharaab
Yau
Amon-Re
Osiris
Sebek
Molech?

All there were gods of the highest eminence. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Yahweh Himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor. Yet they have all gone down the chute, and with them the following:
Bilé
Ler
Arianrhod
Morrigu
Govannon
Gunfled
Sokk-mimi
Nemetona
Dagda
Robigus
Pluto
Ops
Meditrina
Vesta

You may think I spoof. That I invent the names. I do not. Ask the rector to lend you any good treatise on comparative religion: You will find them all listed. They were gods of the highest standing and dignity-gods of civilized peoples-worshiped and believed in by millions. All were omnipotent, omniscient and immortal.

And all are dead.”
― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

[Next, perhaps, the God of Green and Global Warming?…-E.M.Smith]

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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11 Responses to I Must Read More Mencken

  1. u.k.(us) says:

    Comment ?
    Has there been anything left unsaid ?

  2. beththeserf says:

    Should have included this in my ‘Trust but Verify’ post….

    “The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education
    is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence,
    and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and
    independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public
    education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many
    individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized
    citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States,
    whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks,
    and that is its aim everywhere else.”
    ― H.L. Mencken

    Mencken, like Burke, Montaigne and Socrates understood the human condition
    rather well.

  3. gallopingcamel says:

    The quote that “beththeserf” selected is my favorite.

    Suddenly real education reform seems within reach. All it takes is to buy in to Donald Trump’s promise to return the control of K-12 education to the local community. Get off your sofa and start lobbying in your state capital. You will find me in Tallahassee.

    That still leaves the problem of the corrupt, self-serving “Higher Education” institutions. That is a problem that can be cured by removing government funding as has been happening in other countries (e.g. the UK). When academia has to serve its customers rather than the government they will abandon left wing ideology or go out of business.

  4. beththeserf says:

    Good luck with yr K-12 education reform in the US, gallopingcamel.
    Robin @ Invisible serf’s collar has written a series of posts on the
    problems with state run education and the Harvard approach.

    We in Oz have the same values indoctrination masquerading as
    educating students.

  5. Gail Combs says:

    Gallopingcamel,
    The problem goes all the way down to preschools. The whole child abuse scandals in preschools was a complete SHAM designed to allow the federal government an excuse to grab control of the 0 to 5 year olds.

    Women’s Lib was all about taxing the other half of the population while forcing women to place their kids in government controlled schools to be indoctrinated. From 1945 to 1975 and before the middle class woman could stay home and raise her kids while they were young. It was a point of PRIDE for a man to have a wife who did not work. raising taxes and devaluing wages now means it take two salaries to TRY and have the standard of living our parents did on one salary during that time period.

    Note that I am all for equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work but that is NOT what Women’s Lib is actually about. If they truly cared about women they would be howling mad about islam and not in ‘solidarity’ with islam.

    REFERENCES:
    The “Little Rascals” ritual abuse case in Edenton, NC

    The Fells Acres Day-care Ritual-abuse case

    The Hand that Rocked the Cradle: A Critical Analysis of Rockefeller Philanthropic Funding, 1920-1960

    The Rockefeller Foundation Funded ‘Womens Lib’

    ….While trying to recruit Aaron Russo to CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), Nicholas Rockefeller told that his family foundation created women’s liberation using mass media control. Interview with Aaron Russo is available on YouTube….

    Behind the façade of “women’s rights”, Feminism teaches that heterosexual roles (wife, mother etc) are socially constructed by MEN and oppressive to WOMEN. This underscores the fact that feminism was created to destabilize the society and undermine the institution of family. Aaron Russo says, the two key reasons given by Nicholas Rockefeller were

    Before women’s lib we couldn’t tax half of the population
    Can indoctrinate kids in school at early ages. When there is no male figure in the family, kids start seeing the State as their family who provide and protect.

    American feminist icon Gloria Steinem, (an ex CIA agent) proudly claims in one of her own books that CIA funded Ms Magazine with the stated goal of breaking up the families and taxing women…

  6. Ron Clutz says:

    Beth, on the same topic Mencken said this, my favorite quote from him:
    “Education today has become the casting of synthetic pearls before real swine.”

  7. beththeserf says:

    Say, Ron, ‘The vorpal blade went snicker-snack.’ )
    H/t Lewis Carroll.

  8. Soronel Haetir says:

    My favorite is:
    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

  9. Glenn999 says:

    What on Earth would have made Jupiter King of Gods?
    Was there something different about the night sky in ancient times?

  10. gallopingcamel says:

    beth,
    Thanks for that serfs collar link which has been added to my favourites.

    My assessment of the K-12 situation is on the same lines:
    http://www.gallopingcamel.info/docs/BadIdeas.doc
    http://www.gallopingcamel.info/docs/EdReform.doc

    My site has some excellent camel photos:
    http://www.gallopingcamel.info/education.html

  11. Fred Streeter says:

    60 years ago, in Chelsea Public Library, I discovered North American (to incude Leacock) humourists.

    I remember sitting at a reading table, creased up with silent giggles, as I read my way through Mencken. At 14, I was almost as cynical as he.

    More so now – I am even cynical of Mencken. :)

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