Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Minority Report. HL Mencken. Significant Sentences 06.

Significant sentences from HL Mencken's Minority Report, acerbic thoughts on American life and culture.

"The same childish credulity is visible in the doctrine that the cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy." p. 29.

"Intellectuals are so bogged down in dogma that it is impossible for them to make themselves understood." p. 30.

"The whole process [trial, conviction, sentencing and execution] should be shortened to bring crime and punishment close together." p. 31.

"As things stand, the spread between [conviction, sentencing and execution] is so great that by the time the criminal comes to the chair the crime is forgotten and all we see is a poor fish making a tremendous (and sometimes even gallant) effort to save his life, with all sorts of shyster lawyers and do-gooders as assistant heroes." p. 31.

"One of the strangest delusions of the Western mind is to the effect that a philosophy of profound wisdom is on tap in the East." p. 36.

"The existence of most human beings is of absolutely no significance to history or to human progress." p. 39.

"Most human beings live and die as anonymously and as nearly uselessly as so many bullfrogs or houseflies." p. 39.

"If all the inhabitants of the Appalachian chain succumbed to some sudden pestilence tomorrow, the effect upon civilization would be but little more than that of the fall of a meteorite into the jungles of the Amazon." p. 41.

"...for it becomes manifest that the United States, which escaped unscathed from both wars, will have to destroy deliberately much of the sort of property that was destroyed in Europe and Asia by military vandalism. Its plants will need modernizing to meet the competition of the new plants built to replace the war's ruins." p. 44.

"...for a man who really knows a subject is seldom content to spend his lifetime teaching it." p. 44.

"There is simply no way for his [the patient's] physician to tell him just what is the matter with him, for all the concepts on which the explanation must be based, and even most of its terms, are incomprehensible to him." p. 45.

"Men always try to make virtues of their weaknesses." p. 47.

"Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses." p. 48.

"It is impossible to hang the average murderer until he has killed at least a dozen people." p. 53.

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