Mark Twain (1835-1910) is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. One of Clemens many occupations was working on Mississippi steamboats, and later becoming a steamboat pilot.
A steamboat leadsman’s job was to measure the depth of the water. When the river depth was two fathoms (12 feet), it was safe for a steamboat. The leadsman would then call out “Mark Twain” to the pilot. Clemons took this for his pen name.
Mark Twain is a great American author and humorist. He is best known for his books The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Many people think these books are children’s books, but this is not true. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is lighter reading and based on Clemons’ life growing up on the Mississippi. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is often called “The Great American Novel”. It deals with many of the issues of the day. Ernest Hemmingway once called Mark Twain the greatest author of all time, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the greatest book ever written.
I love some of Mark Twain’s humorist statements on politics. I find it amazing how many are just as true today as when he made them.
“No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislation is in session.” This is certainly still true. The primary objective of the political elite of both parties seems to grow government and redistribute wealth at any cost.
“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.” It costs a lot of money to run a large and continually growing federal government, especially one that is full of waste and corruption.
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But then I repeat myself.” Congress still seems to be incompetent, but I don’t think they are idiots. Until we have term limits and campaign spending reform, an incumbent’s primary goal will be raising money and getting reelected. I see why our Founding Fathers never wanted a position in Congress to be a full-time job or career.
“There is no distinctly Native American criminal class, save Congress.” If Clemens felt that way during his lifetime, I wonder what he would think is he was here today. There is a new scandal and cover-up every week. Why do we put up with it?
“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uniformed. If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” Today we read the newspaper less and get more of our news from television and the Internet. The big three TV networks do their best to keep us misinformed. Our Founding Fathers felt a responsible media and religion were both essential to the success and survival of this great republic. What is happening?
Will Rogers is another political humorist that I like and have previously written about. He said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” This is certainly still true today.
I find it interesting that Clemens (1835-1910) and Rogers (1879-1935) both made similar jokes about our federal government that are even truer today. The problem is that big government and government debt have grown to the point that it is making the American dream impossible for future generations.