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

H. L. Mencken Quote

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

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

Ratings and Comments

Joel, Rochester, MI

We are a Republic. It is irritating when someone speaks of the U.S. as a democracy. The Pledge of Allegiance says “... and to the Republic for which it stands ...”. Also, it’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, not “... of the Democracy”!

jodopo, West Bloomfield, MI

And just look at where it has got us - behind a Bush with our pants down!

john-douglas, nassau

Well, guess what? It's now sock-it-to-me time for America!

Mike, Norwalk

5 stars for the not so funny accuracy, thumbs down for what it is doing to this Republic.

Me Again
  • 1
  • Reply
    Me Again    10/27/08

    The common people DO know what they want and DO deserve to get it.One day we shall.I believe.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    It is also the theory that all people are "common" people. At least there is no inalienable inequality of persons. Joel welcome to the debate, however, you are wrong. The USA is a republic that is a democracy. Republic is just another word that means state. Thus we talk of the republics of Europe or the states of Europe. Texas used to be a republic and now it is a state, it always was more or less a democracy. Originally the two words meant the same thing basic thing. Re means to go back, as in return, redo etcetera. Thus re-public means to return to the people. Thus "government of, by and for the people" equals a democratic republic.

    jim k, austin

    H.L. usually got it right. This one was no exception.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    "If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court -- I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples, so that I would now have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it, I'd be okay. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of 'redistribution of wealth,' and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society." ~ Barrack Obama. Looks like (chances are good) the next Pres. will be a Communist. Hhere comes the USSA. God save us all from this moron. Obama interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck&eurl=http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/10/audio-in-obamas.html?cid=136522259#comment-136522259

    merry, miami,fl

    I think Obama is a socialist and not pro democracy.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Ahh yes Waffler, your goofey goes on, ignoring truth and historical meanings while stating your obvious oxymorons. I've given you multiple Supreme Court decisions clearly stating that the current government that infects this nation is not of, by or for the people but rather an independent state, totally and completely aloof from the once sovereign, with inherent right - allowing for their chattel property to choose which politicians they would like to represent the state. By your definition, the U.S. in not a democracy.

    Dick, Fort Worth

    Mencken accurately labeled this country not a democracy (or republic which is just semantics) but a 'booboisie.' That's because the big majority of its citizens, like Mike, merry, and J carlton, always vote against their own interests, preferring to swallow the pablum of the fascist-moving right wing.

    E Archer, NYC

    Mencken's definition of democracy is right on. Waffler, you have been corrected on the roots of the word republic before, but as an ignoramous, I don't think you have ever listened to anyone who didn't agree with your make-believe. 'Res publica' is the latin root of the word republic which literally translates as "public thing" or "public matter". Democracy on the other hand has its roots in the Greek words 'demos' (people) and 'kratos' (rule). When Athens founded their first democracy, there were no defined human rights or legal restraints upon the actions of assembly and it soon fell to the passions of 'majority rule.' There are as many variations in 'democracies' as there are 'republics,' however, there are definite differences in the two types of political systems -- it is not just semantics. There are DOZENS of types of democracies recognized in the study of political science: Anticipatory, Athenian, Christian, Consensus, Constitutional, Deliberative, Demarchy, Direct, Grassroots, Illiberal, Islamic, Liberal, Messianic, Non-partisan, Participatory, Religious, Representative, Representative direct, Republican, Social, Sociocracy, Soviet, Totalitarian. Rather than just make stuff up, Waffler, if you really want to know what form of government was established for the united States, it was a Constitutional representative republic -- we use the word 'representative' instead of 'democratic' because it more clearly identifies what type of democratic style is being used. A 'representative democracy' (without the word republic) does not define a separation of powers or acknowledge the sovereignty of the individual people. The US government is not sovereign, the People are -- that is another distinction between republican and democratic political systems. Now can we move on, please? Waffler, your definition of 'democracy' more resembles the version of the Athenian-Direct-Social Democracy -- unfortunately these forms are the most tyrannical, authoritarian, and communistic. Might does not make right -- and that is what our republican system is supposed to prevent.

    Mike, Norwalk

    WOW Archer, very well said! Thank you. Dick, you crack me up almost as much as Waffler. I'm probably more anti-right wing fascist than you but, I guess because I'm not a brainless slave in support of communism you must lump together all those that don't agree with you. That's really too bad because, though many of your perceptions adequately identify a problem or wrong, your conclusions on how to fix the problems have already been shown to be disastrous.

    Logan, Memphis, TN

    Joel, welcome to the debate, you're absolutely right -- just ignore Waffler, the rest of us usually try to, but it has been proven that we just can't leave stupid alone; that's why we keep bantering with Waffy-boy. Waffler, exactly what theory is it that you're talking about concerning the "common man"? Well said Archer -- too bad that it falls on Waffler's ignorant and unprincipled ears; he's too busy supporting communists and mentally burning books that don't support his asinine, unfounded, nonsensical, and illogical claims.


    Get a Quote-a-Day!

    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.