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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Received from writer Frank J. Hutton, a fan of the great H. L. Mencken:

"H.L. Mencken died 50 years ago, tomorrow.

He was a great American ‘man of letters’ and more popular when he lived than any writer can today dream of being, considering what he wrote. I wonder how he’d be received today? For Saturday morning enjoyment, a generous helping of the wit and wisdom of H.L. Mencken:"

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.

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

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what sting is justice.

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.

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

Criticism is prejudice made plausible.

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.

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

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

Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.

A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.

A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.

All government, of course, is against liberty.

Archbishop - A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.

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

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

I believe that it should be perfectly lawful to print even things that outrage the pruderies and prejudices of the general, so long as any honest minority, however small, wants to read them. The remedy of the majority is not prohibition, but avoidance.

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

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

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.

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

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