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

Famous H. L. Mencken Quote

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

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


Ratings and Comments


David L. Rosenthal

He was drinkung heavily when he said that.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

While I don't know when this quote is from, it is a perfect description of both McCarthyism and Bushism...

Joe, Rochester, MI

Apparently someone else has been "drinkung" heavily too! hahaha

E Archer, NYC

This technique has been used by rulers for eons. A nation of people without Courage has but one destiny.

David L. Rosenthal

Hey, Joe! I resemble that remark!

A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL

H.L. is my favorite curmudgeon and he always got it exactly right...how about this one? "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 when the White Hose will be adorned by a downright moron." H.L. Mencken (1880-1956 Red State America and those Plain Folks gave us this administration and we do, indeed, have a moron in the White House...

Jimmy Shirley, Palm Springs, Florida

It certainly applies. Hitler used it, Lincoln used it, Bush has used it.

Graham Vaughan, Dumfries. UK

Global warming, swine flu,aids,mad cow disease, obesity,cholesterol, population control,bird flu.It just goes on and on and on.

Mike, Norwalk

don't read the bill, just pass it, we'll read it later

jim k, Austin, Tx

The quote is perfect in describing government, and Graham in the UK you got it right.

J Carlton, Calgary

Gen. MacArthur said much the same thing.

E Archer, NYC

And if you can't wait long enough for some nut to blow up a building, do it yourself, then you can say, 'hey, some nut just blew up that building -- we have to do something!' Then do what you wanted to do using the excuse that you are going to make sure this never happens again... that is until the next time you decide to blow up a building. False flags -- history is replete with them.

GunnyCee, Durham

Archer, the initials after your name says a lot. I don't know what you are smoking, but it has scrambled whatever scarce cells you were supplied with. Speaking of H. L. Mencken, I wish we had just one journalist with one tenth the integrity and intelligence of this man. How can anyone claim that Bush or Lincoln created false alarms? Only a total whack job like Archer could think that Bush created 9/11 so we could go to war, or that Lincoln created the Civil War so he could get re-elected. We know that Archer is an Obamanista and it has been my exerience that most of the followers of Obama are just like Archer. A wise man named Thomas Gray once said, "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." We see how the ignorant try to demonize anyone with common sense. Today, ignorance reigns much to our chagrin. Hurry up November, 2012!!

E Archer, NYC

Ad hominem arguments and character smears do not back up your claims, GunnyCee. I am neither an Obamanista, Bushista, or Clintonista. I am a seeker of truth. Whatever the truth may be about 9/11, it certainly is NOT the official story about what happened that fateful day. Ignore the testimony of NYC firefighters on the scene vividly describing explosions in the basement of the towers -- the 911 Commission did. Ignore the testimony of the clean up crews who said molten steel was flowing beneath the rubble, so hot it took MONTHS to cool down -- why? Ignore demolition experts' testimony that Building 7 fell in free fall without even being damaged by the twin towers -- watch the video and it is exactly how a controlled demolition works. Ignore all the unanswered questions, ignore all the lies, just trust Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Google 'Operation Northwoods,' if you dare, to see that our government does indeed make plans for false flags in order to justify assassinations, covert ops, regime changes, fostering rebellions, etc.. War is a Racket -- if you don't believe that, remain in your blissful ignorance while your children are sent to die for private gain. Ignorance doesn't change facts. Bombing your house because you might be planning to bomb mine is not defense -- it is an act of war. You cannot be at war with 'terrorism' any more than you can have a war on guns -- war is between governments, not a government and a list of people in the Middle East. Now WE are on 'the list' -- is that where you want this country to go? A perfect copy of Fascist Germany? A police and surveillance state? All because you refuse to hold your government accountable -- not for 9/11, but for not telling the truth about it? Talk about ignorance...

Dave Wilber, St. Louis

Mencken was describing Hegelian dialectics and we face them daily. 9/11 was a classical example of Hegelian dialectics. Bush needed an excuse for war as Franklin Roosevelt need one in 1941 that resulted in creation of the UN.

warren, olathe

Truthers are fools. They fit right in with all the other alarmists like the global warming, killer bee, global cooling, and ozone hole crackpots. Conspiracy theory nuts can be entertaining but have a problem with never having grown up. It is our childish nature to want to believe in these things because they give us a sense of adventure and perhaps superiority. Many of these theories are fun to look into but they all have so many holes in them that they fall apart with only the smallest amount of rational analysis. Whenever you feel the urge to get excited about one of these things you need to check yourself and think about all of the other similar things that have come and gone with time only to be found lacking.

E Archer, NYC

warren, why not discredit the theory instead of the theorist? Building 7 -- video clearly records its near free fall speed. Ask a demolition expert what possible causes would bring down a building like that. The real issue is not whether Building 7 was brought down in a controlled demolition; the real issue is what it means if it were true. That may be just too much to bear for the 'true believers.' Why wasn't Saudi Arabia invaded since the terrorists were Saudis? Osama bin Laden was a Saudi CIA operative -- how come the Saudis and Bush's are old family friends? Iraq had nothing to do with 911, yet shock and awe were rained down upon them. Another 'hobgoblin' to fear until the people can be counted on to chime in on cue, "BOMB 'EM! BOMB 'EM!" Psst, warren, there is no Great and Powerful Oz ...

@

Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.