Zitate von Henry Louis Mencken

Henry Louis Mencken Foto
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Henry Louis Mencken

Geburtstag: 12. September 1880
Todesdatum: 29. Januar 1956

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Henry Louis Mencken war ein US-amerikanischer Schriftsteller und Journalist, Literaturkritiker, Kolumnist und Satiriker.

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Zitate Henry Louis Mencken

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„(Brief an Gore Vidal vom 28. Februar 1999) Jeder normale Mensch muss zuweilen versucht sein, in die Hände zu spucken, die schwarze Flagge zu hissen und ein paar Kehlen aufzuschlitzen.“

—  Henry Louis Mencken
Abgedruckt in Gore Vidal: Die Bedeutung von Timothy McVeigh. In Gore Vidal: Ewiger Krieg für ewigen Frieden. Aus dem Amerikanischen übersetzt von Bernhard Jendricke und Barbara Steckhan. EVA Hamburg 3. Aufl. 2002. Original "The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh", in Vanity Fair September 2001 vanityfair. com 4. Abschnitt.

„IDEALIST. Einer, der bemerkt hat, daß eine Rose besser als ein Kohl riecht, und daraus folgert, daß sie auch eine bessere Suppe abgeben müsse.“

—  Henry Louis Mencken
Aus dem Wörterbuch "Jazz Webster". Autorisierte Übersetzung von Thea Maria Lenz. In: DAS TAGE-BUCH. Berlin, 17. Februar 1923, Heft 7 Jahrg. 4. S. 222 archive. org

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„Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats“

—  H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series
Context: Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. Ch. 6, "The New Poetry Movement"

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„No government as such is ever in favor of the freedom of the individual.“

—  H.L. Mencken
Context: Government, like any other organism, refuses to acquiesce in its own extinction. This refusal, of course, involves the resistance to any effort to diminish its powers and prerogatives. There has been no organized effort to keep government down since Jefferson's day. Ever since then the American people have been bolstering up its powers and giving it more and more jurisdiction over their affairs. They pay for that folly in increased taxes and diminished liberties. No government as such is ever in favor of the freedom of the individual. It invariably seeks to limit that freedom, if not by overt denial, then by seeking constantly to widen its own functions. 197

„No man ever entered the White House under the burden of a more inconvenient past. And no President was ever denounced with greater ferocity.“

—  H.L. Mencken
Context: No man ever entered the White House under the burden of a more inconvenient past. And no President was ever denounced with greater ferocity. -- said of Andrew Jackson Review of Andrew Jackson: An Epic in Homespun by Gerald W. Johnson http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-1928mar-00382, The American Mercury, March 1928, pp. 382-383 (March 1928)

„What should be a civilized man's attitude toward such superstitions? It seems to me that the only attitude possible to him is one of contempt. If he admits that they have any intellectual dignity whatever, he admits that he himself has none. If he pretends to a respect for those who believe in them, he pretends falsely, and sinks almost to their level. When he is challenged he must answer honestly, regardless of tender feelings.“

—  H.L. Mencken
Context: Once more, alas, I find myself unable to follow the best Liberal thought. What the World's contention amounts to, at bottom, is simply the doctrine that a man engaged in combat with superstition should be very polite to superstition. This, I fear, is nonsense. The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame. True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them.... They are free to shoot back. But they can't disarm their enemy. The meaning of religious freedom, I fear, is sometimes greatly misapprehended. It is taken to be a sort of immunity, not merely from governmental control but also from public opinion. A dunderhead gets himself a long-tailed coat, rises behind the sacred desk, and emits such bilge as would gag a Hottentot. Is it to pass unchallenged? If so, then what we have is not religious freedom at all, but the most intolerable and outrageous variety of religious despotism. Any fool, once he is admitted to holy orders, becomes infallible. Any half-wit, by the simple device of ascribing his delusions to revelation, takes on an authority that is denied to all the rest of us.... What should be a civilized man's attitude toward such superstitions? It seems to me that the only attitude possible to him is one of contempt. If he admits that they have any intellectual dignity whatever, he admits that he himself has none. If he pretends to a respect for those who believe in them, he pretends falsely, and sinks almost to their level. When he is challenged he must answer honestly, regardless of tender feelings. "Aftermath" in the Baltimore Evening Sun http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/menck05.htm#SCOPESD (14 September 1925)

„It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone-that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is, far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous.“

—  H.L. Mencken
Context: Such obscenities as the forthcoming trial of the Tennessee evolutionist, if they serve no other purpose, at least call attention dramatically to the fact that enlightenment, among mankind, is very narrowly dispersed. It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone-that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is, far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous. The man of the educated minority, no doubt, know more than their predecessors, and of some of them, perhaps, it may be said that they are more civilized- though I should not like to be put to giving names0 but the great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge. Homo Neanderthalensis Baltimore Sun (June 29th, 1925), The Impossible Mencken

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