The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.
Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
Of all escape mechanisms, death is the most efficient.
Progress: The process whereby the human race has got rid of whiskers, the vermiform appendix and God.
Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull.
The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.
The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth.
The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians — and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse.
One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.
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.
Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter.
One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions.
The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes.
Laws are no longer made by a rational process of public discussion; they are made by a process of blackmail and intimidation, and they are executed in the same manner.
In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic.
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
No man, I suppose, ever admits to himself candidly that he gets his living in a dishonourable way.
Democracy, in fact, is always inventing class distinctions, despite its theoretical abhorrence of them.
What is not true, as everyone knows, is always immensely more fascinating and satisfying to the vast majority of men than what is true.
Nature abhors a moron.
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.
Immorality is the morality of those who are having a better time. You will never convince the average farmer’s mare that the late Maud S. was not dreadfully immoral.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know.
Platitude — An idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.
Remorse — Regret that one waited so long to do it.
Self-respect — The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
Truth — Something somehow discreditable to someone.
We are here and it is now: further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
Historian — An unsuccessful novelist.
Christian — One who is willing to serve three Gods, but draws the line at one wife.
The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.
Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.
The theory seems to be that so long as a man is a failure he is one of God’s chillun, but that as soon as he has any luck he owes it to the Devil.
Judge — A law student who marks his own examination-papers.
Jury — A group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health and business engagements, have failed to fool him.
Lawyer — One who protects us against robbers by taking away the temptation.
Jealousy is the theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.
Wealth — Any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.
Misogynist — A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.
A man may be a fool and not know it — but not if he is married.
Bachelors know more about women than married men. If they didn’t they’d be married, too.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
Theology — An effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into terms of the not worth knowing.
Creator — A comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh.
Sunday — A day given over by Americans to wishing that they themselves were dead and in Heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in Hell.
A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.
We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
I have often argued that a poet more than thirty years old is simply an overgrown child. I begin to suspect that there may be some truth in it.
My guess is that well over eighty per cent of the human race goes through life without ever having a single original thought.
Human life is basically a comedy.
A man who can laugh, if only at himself, is never really miserable.
It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just and omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board of gods. If such a board actually exists it operates precisely like the board of a corporation that is losing money.