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

H. L. Mencken Quote

“It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume...that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him.”

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

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

My only complaint to the above quote is, it doesn't go far enough. Amerikan courts are so corrupt today, no feverish search is needed, they just throw in whatever charge they want and put you in jail (it's profitable to boot).

J Carlton, Calgary

Mike, our entire system is so corrupt as to be beyond salvage. We need to clean house entirely.

jim k, Austin,Tx

For example, the IRS has a term for taxpayers, they call us "inventory". H.L. has it exactly right.

Joy, Papillion, NE

A really good example is airport security--if you don't feel like a criminal before you fly, they can certainly make you feel like one and appear to be one to your fellow travelers. If only Americans were a little more intelligent and a little less trusting of all bureaucracies, then we wouldn't be in the mess we are now. I've had my experiences there and with the justice system and until you do don't understand that "Innocent until proven guilty" is not how they look at you---you are and always will be in all their eyes: "Guilty until proven otherwise!"

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RBESRQ    11/29/10

Bureaucracies are the entitlement of sloth, ignorance, and indifference. I agree with Carlton - bring in the brooms... We should do what Iceland is doing and create a new constitution but this time written by the people from all walks of life, class, ages, equal gender, etc. 500 (with full biographies) are given equal air time in all the media and then the people vote on those they wish to write their constitution. Talk about thinking out of the box. Also Copenhagen is creating a super highway for cyclists. America is falling behind in EVERY way. We should do away with all political party names as they have been totally bastardized by the media, the politicians and the people. We should create three or five main party's and call the One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

J Carlton, Calgary

RBE...What you describe might be described as a "Republic" ;)

J Carlton, Calgary

To Clarify...5 parties would be sufficient to freeze government. It certainly has in S. Africa where they have 8 or 9 and as many official languages. I'd be for anything that shuts down the encroachment of a controlling government into every aspect of our lives.

E Archer, NYC

Describes the TSA, IRS, DEA, FDA, and federal courts perfectly. Joy, how does your comment today relate to your previous comment stating that socialism "is the only government that is TRULY Of the people, By the people and FOR the people"? Socialism is nothing but bureaucracies making rules for everyone else to follow! The TSA is a truly socialist/fascist agency! These are ALL aspects of socialism -- you are either for freedom and responsibility or for socialism and obedience to the state -- you can't have both.

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Anonymous    11/29/10

Does my pizza come with socialism and not capitalism?

dick, Fort Worth

Archer, socialism is the opposite of fascism. Do you ever look up definitions?

Mike, Norwalk

dick, I look up definitions (original and current). Fascism (corporatism) is an administrative form of socialism. Communism is also an administrative form of socialism. You obviously do not understand what a corporation 'IS' legally (as is averse to your perception of what it does). If you need more clarification or more definitions, I can supply those to you.

Howard, Bangkok

Socialism is not the opposite of fascism. They are both totalitarianism and are politically on the same side of the political spectrum, opposite of anarchism. The only difference is one is international and the other is national.

Howard, Bangkok

It looks like Dick lacks critical thinking skills.

Mary - MI
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Mary - MI    10/3/16

By their vile and unlawful actions you shall know them.
The IRS, FDA, EPA, NSA, CIA, DEA, Departments of Energy, Education, Labor, Homeland Security, TSA, The State Department, The privately run and owned Federal Reserve Bank ... numerous other Federal Bureaucracies and their unelected Bureaucrats

jim k, Austin

Good going Mary, you said it right.

E Archer, NYC

Dick, the opposite of socialism is the absence of socialism. Define socialism. Define fascism. You will find that they are identical in most regards -- and frankly, fascism is what you get when you try to implement socialism without communism.

Left and Right are relative terms. What is to the left of the left? So naturally, a leftist sees nothing to the left of them, only to the right. But communism, socialism, fascism, monarchy are all forms of statism, the supremacy of the State over the individual. Liberalism in the original sense is the opposite of Statism. America is founded upon the ideals of Liberty, not Statism. This left vs. right paradigm is a con -- ever so evident when non-statist candidates manage to make it through the gauntlet of media and political shills for Statism. Legalized theft has become the modus operandi of Statism, and the seats of power created for the State promise immense power for those that can scratch and claw their way into them.

Liberty is Central. Statism occurs when we move away from the center -- when we abstain from responsibility, we end up empowering the State to rule. History is replete with examples.

E Archer, NYC

BTW Dick, FDR's New Deal was pure fascism. The US has not turned off that road since.


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