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“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger, 1916, Ch.9
Thanks to Charles Buffalo, I just read this downloaded book: an excellent allegory by Mark Twain. Read along with Voltaire’s “Candide” (1761), Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason” (1794) and Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince” (1943), one can drop Patricians, Philosophers, Poets, and Priests, plus hang most Politicians — whereby all Mother Earth’s underprivileged (outside America, of course), especially its children, can finally be free to grow in real health under far less Phallic-obsessed, aggressed and fearful Parents and Patriarchs (kudos to WC Fields’ 1920s’ satire).
Thereby, thanks to less institutionalized subjugation to honorific, titled and capitalized men exercising Patriotic Power over social nurturing, conformity and obedience, not us but possibly our children will be blessed by egocentric Paternalism being replaced by humane guides and honest friends.
The final result would be true freedom for our race: thanks to less fears instilled by machismo Papas inundating young minds with material and spiritual insecurities, and more Platonic humanism determining mature actions.
I highly recommend Twain’s short story. Taking place, on the face of it, year 1590 in a Catholic village in Austria. The main characters are three boys, two priests and a bishop, an astrologer, a comely maiden and timid beau, all watched over by a kindly old gypsy spirit, called Satan. Supported by a lively cast of typical Western followers: the innocent and naive, the guilty and malicious – all with fear in their hearts of those elevated
Following is an iconoclast’s terse theory, reversing time on three Americans for a history lesson:
“Even in the midst of this tragedy, the eternal lights of America’s goodness and greatness have shown through.”
Written for Mr. Bush (by ????) as he mouthed the words last weekend to the American Society of Anesthesiologists in a speech taped earlier (NB: CIA terrorism experts are checking connections from Bush Sr.’s “Points of Light”, to Bush Jr.’s. “Eternal Lights”, to all those unsuspecting lights blown away on Sept. 11th).
PLUS # 2
“The highest possible form of treason is to say that Americans aren’t loved wherever they go, whatever they do.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., written nearly four decades ago, as he portrayed the problem of ignorance by putting the above words into the mouth of a fictitious American ambassador who had been fired for pessimism.
EQUALS 100% PERCEPTION :
“I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don’t dare to assert themselves. Think of it!”
op cit, Mark Twain, Ch. 9
To finalize connections into this definitive history, we add two most astute analyses from Mark Twain:
1) his incisive historical wisdom explaining institutional fear oppressing people in guise of democracy, 2) his courageous prescience in accurately predicting the most competent of modern Terrorist killers.
1) “Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race — the individual’s distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety’s or comfort’s sake, to stand well in his neighbor’s eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities.”
2) “It is a remarkable progress. In five or six thousand years five or six high civilizations have risen, flourished, commanded the wonder of the world, then faded out and disappeared; and not one of them except the latest ever invented any sweeping and adequate way to kill people. They all did their best — to kill being the chiefest ambition of the human race and the earliest incident in its history — but only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognized that all the competent killers are Christians; then the pagan world will go to school to the Christian — not to acquire his religion, but his guns. The Turk and the Chinaman will buy those to kill missionaries and converts with.”
(op cit, ch. 9)
Richard Manning lives in Antibes, France.