Friday, August 31, 2007

Minority Report. HL Mencken. Significant Sentences 12

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

"The truth is that in any conflict between altruistic purpose and private self-interest, the latter always wins hands down." p. 153.

"The New Deal not only cost the American tax payer billions and greatly depleted the accumulated resources of the country, it also burdened future generations with a charge that will grow larger and larger as year chases year." p. 159.

"No politician is ever benefited by saving money; it is spending it that makes him." p. 159.

"There is a great need of a history of political corruption in America." p. 160.

"The essence of science is that it is always willing to abandon a given idea, however fundamental it may seem to be, for a better one." p. 166.

"The English know how to make the best of things. So-called 'muddling through' is simply skill at dealing with the inevitable." p. 167.

"The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work, stretch out in the sun and scratch himself." p. 168.

"The only way a government can provide jobs for all citizens is by deciding what every man shall do." p. 168.

"It is never possible for a metaphysician to state his ideas in plain English." p. 169.

"The thing that makes philosophers respected is not actually their profundity, but simply their obscurity." p. 178.

"Philosophers translate vague and dubious ideas into high-sounding words, and their dupes assume, as they assume themselves, that the resulting obfuscation is a contribution to knowledge." p. 178.

"Yesterday, the danger that a soldier ran in the field was the danger of a duelist with a sword in hand; today, it is much more like the danger of a hog in a slaughter-house." p. 179.

"Life on this earth is not only without rational significance, but also apparently unintentional." p. 182.

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