A celebrity is one who is known by many people he is glad he doesn't know.
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations. (describing Shakespeare)
A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
Alimony: The ransom the happy pay to the devil.
All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man.
A man may be a fool and not know it -- but not if he is married.
A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant, and the crazy, crazier.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office, he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.
Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't, they'd be married too.
Capitalism undoubtedly has certain boils and blotches upon it, but has it as many as government? Has it as many as marriage? Has it as many as religion? I doubt it. It is the only basic institution of modern man that shows any genuine health and vigor.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody is looking.
Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
Evil is that which one believes of others. It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.
Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice.
Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
Hanging one scoundrel, it appears, does not deter the next. Well, what of it? The first one is at least disposed of.
He sailed through American history like a steel ship loaded with monoliths of granite. (on Grover Cleveland)
His speeches left the impression of an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea; sometimes these meandering words would actually capture a straggling thought and bear it triumphantly a prisoner in their midst, until it died of servitude and overwork. (on Warren G. Harding)
Hygiene is the corruption of medicine by morality. It is impossible to find a hygienist who does not debase his theory of the healthful with a theory of the virtuous. The whole hygienic art, indeed, resolves itself into an ethical exhortation. This brings it, in the end, into diametrical conflict with medicine proper. The true aim of medicine is not to make men virtuous, it is to safeguard and rescue them from the consequences of their vices. The physician does not preach repentance; he offers absolution.
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
If I ever marry, it will be on a sudden impulse -- as a man shoots himself.
If there had been any formidable body of cannibals in the country he would have promised them with free missionaries, fattened at the taxpayer's expense. (on Harry Truman's 1948 presidential campaign)
Injustice is relatively easy to bear. What stings is justice.
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.
It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull.
Lawyer: one who protects us against robbery by taking away the temptation.
Liberals have many tails and chase them all.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?
Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy.
Men have a much better time of it than women. For one thing, they marry later; for another thing, they die earlier.
Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.
No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes she were not.
No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.
One may no more live in the world without picking up the moral prejudices of the world than one will be able to go to hell without perspiring.
One might plausibly argue, indeed, that the complete disappearance of France would produce no more perturbation in the world than the loss of an ear produces in a man. Brussels and Lucerne would quickly put in better cooks, and Copenhagen, I venture, could take care of the peep-show business without any need of an international loan.
On one issue at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.
People constantly speak of "the government" doing this or that, as they might speak of God doing it. But the government is really nothing but a group of men, and usually they are very inferior men. They may have some better man working for them, but they themselves are seldom worthy of any respect.
Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.
Self-respect: The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
Sentimental or not, I confess that the predicament of poor Valentino touched me. It provided grist for my mill, but I couldn't quite enjoy it. Here was a young man who was living daily the dream of millions of other young men. Here was one who was catnip to women. Here was one who had wealth and fame. And here was one who was very unhappy.
Suicide is belated acquiescence to the opinion of one's wife's relatives.
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.
The average man does not get pleasure out of an idea because he thinks it is true; he thinks it is true because he gets pleasure out of it.
The average woman must inevitably view her actual husband with a certain disdain; he is anything but her ideal. In consequence, she cannot help feeling that her children are cruelly handicapped by the fact that he is their father.
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animals.
The chief knowledge that a man gets from reading books is the knowledge that very few of them are worth reading.
The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
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.
The Englishman seldom tries to gloss menial occupations with sonorous names; on the contrary, he seems to delight in keeping their menial character plain. He says servants, not help. Even his railways and banks have servants; the chief trades-union of the English railroad men is the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants.
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre -- the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
The objection of the scandalmonger is not that she tells of racy doings, but that she pretends to be indignant about them.
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear -- fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.
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 only praise worth a damn is from someone who works at the same bench.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
There are no dull subjects; there are only dull writers.
The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
The way to hold a husband is to keep him a little jealous; the way to lose him is to keep him a little more jealous.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.
'Tis more blessed to give than to receive; for example, wedding presents.
Truth would quickly cease to become stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule -- and both commonly succeed, and are right.
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
[Warren Harding] writes the worst English I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean-soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights.
We are here and it is now. Further than that, all knowledge is moonshine.
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the same sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
We suffer most not when the White House is a peaceful dormitory, but when it is a jitney Mars Hill, with a tin-pot Paul bawling from the roof. Discounting Harding as a cipher, Coolidge was preceded by one World Saver and followed by two more. What enlightened American, having to choose between any of them and another Coolidge, would hesitate for an instant?
When women kiss it always reminds me of prizefighters shaking hands.
Women can keep a secret just as well as men, but it takes more of them to do it.