Saturday, October 1, 2011

The end of American civilization

Take a look at the following quote:

I told him what I believed to be true - that [the nation's leaders] have quite completely transformed our people from a nation with pretty high and respectable ideals to just the opposite of that; that our people have no ideals now that are worthy of consideration; that our Christianity which we have always been so proud of - not to say so vain of - is now nothing but a shell, a sham, a hypocrisy; that we have lost our ancient sympathy with oppressed people struggling for life and liberty; that when we are not coldly indifferent to such things we sneer at them, and that the sneer is about the only expression the newspapers and the nation deal in with regard to such things...

Who said it? A Republican candidate for president? A liberal blogger? A TV preacher?

None of the above. It was Mark Twain, in his autobiographical dictation for March 30, 1906. (If you haven't read his autobiography, newly published, treat yourself. I recommend getting it for an e-reader, because it its big and heavy, and only Volume 1).

Where I wrote {the nation's leaders] what he actually said was:

the McKinleys and the Roosevelts and the multimillionaire disciples of Jay Gould - that man who in his brief life rotted the commercial morals of this nation and left them stinking when he died)...

In other words he was referring to capitalists and imperialists. Today he would be accused of class warfare, or worse. Maybe that's why he insisted his autobiography wait for a hundred years before being published.

No comments: