H. L. MenckenH. L. Mencken, (1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic

H. L. Mencken Quote

“I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.”

H. L. MenckenH. L. Mencken
~ H. L. Mencken

Ratings and Comments

  • Reply
P.M.    11/3/06
Cosmo, Free State

trying to shrink government is a good use of time

bozo the clown, compton

this one is pretty rad.

Dapo, Portland

Is only capitalism that I worry about, It is a corrupt and evil system that chokes little guy. I am not a socialist, nor communism either. I would like Jesus Christ to give me my government where I could care for the least of my brethren. A system that allows me to share-to care for others. Capitalism talks too mich but yeilds more oppression.

Mike, Norwalk

All government is not evil, only evil government is evil. Righteous self government at positive law, united with other principled sovereigns is not evil. As for societal structuring, "A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master." (George Washington) Dapo, you obviously have no understanding what capitalism in fact, is (forget all the leftist propaganda, do some original research) When laissez-faire economics is defined within the law of nature or nature's God, and/or positive law, all may prosper with oppression to none.

J Carlton, Calgary

Mencken is right, the best we can do is reduce and keep a leash on a small but necessary government. And Dapo, we don't have capitalism, never did. We have what is called economic fascism. And the way its going, we'll have military fascism before its over.

Anonymous, Reston, VA, US

To agree with this one is to see only the bad in the world with no hope of good... reveals a lot about who people are at their core.

jim k, austin

H.L.is usually right and this is no exception. Dapo is from Portland, in one of the most liberal states, so you might expect drivel such as this. From his spelling and sentence structure I suspect that he must have been "educated" in one of our fine public schools.

Dave C, Meriden

The quotes are great, keep them coming!

cal, lewisville, tx

True. The more they do in DC-the worse it gets!

J Carlton, Calgary

"To agree with this one is to see only the bad in the world with no hope of good"...actually, to agree with this is to see only bad in our existing form of government. The "world" would be just fine with a lot less of their kind of help.

Crystal, Pittsburgh

I think that there are two sides to this, the good and the bad. But it's still a good quote because it makes you think.

Justin, Elkland

Too true. Government is just another way for a group of individuals to control another group, and has generally let to institutionalized slavery of one kind or another. Its sad that most liberals fall into the slave category and not the master category and don't even realize it.

libertyjack, North Carolina

The word government means what it says, "govern me". I am for a Protectorate, protecting our Natural and Common Law Rights. As Dr. Michael Munger 2008 NC Libertarian candidate for Governor says, "Anything is possible in a truly free and responsible society."

Howard, Bangkok

For the love of money is the root of all evil

Waffler, Smith

Since man has always had government then it would follow that man is by nature evil. I think Mencken is a bit short sighted in his observation. Aztecs, Mayans, Iroquois, Greeks etc. name a time when man was not evil. So give the fact that we must be evil let us accept our evil governments as a fact of life and move on.

E Archer, NYC

"Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher." -- Thomas Paine

Doug, Calif

There was one time when man was not evil – but it was a very short time. In the Garden of Eden before temptation got the better of him.

  • Reply
Anon    4/12/10

The only way to improve goverment is to make laws that further restrict the power of the government thus the real purpose of the juror, to decide by the laws of nature and the rights of men in favor of those rights contained in nature.


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