For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.
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.
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
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 normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.
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.
Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.
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.
Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven.
Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
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.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
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.
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.
God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
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.
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
There is always an easy solution to every problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.
The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.
The only really happy folk are married women and single men.
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.
Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99 % of them are wrong.
Honor is simply the morality of superior men.
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.
Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't they'd be married too.
A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married.
Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.
A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?
Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.
Life is a dead-end street.
Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.
Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia - to mistake an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.
We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.
Man is always looking for someone to boast to; woman is always looking for a shoulder to put her head on.
Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
No married man is genuinely happy if he has to drink worse whisky than he used to drink when he was single.
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.
The worst government is often 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.
Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.
A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.
Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.
In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.
The cynics are right nine times out of ten.
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
Wealth - any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one's wife's sister's husband.
I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.
I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them.
Criticism is prejudice made plausible.
A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.
Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it.
We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
Women have simple tastes. They get pleasure out of the conversation of children in arms and men in love.
A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
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.
Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas.
When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before.
When women kiss it always reminds one of prize fighters shaking hands.
One of the most mawkish of human delusions is the notion that friendship should be eternal, or, at all events, life-long, and that any act which puts a term to it is somehow discreditable.
Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal.
What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.
The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
Adultery is the application of democracy to love.
Man is a beautiful machine that works very badly.
Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.
A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.
Every man is his own hell.
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
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.
Men have a much better time of it than women. For one thing, they marry later; for another thing, they die earlier.
Don't overestimate the decency of the human race.