Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

If you've ever wondered what Mark Twain thought of the 4th of July and patriotism... brace yourself. An article in the Cleveland Examiner recently gave examples of Twain's quotes on patriotism, some of which I will include here.

If you know anything of what Twain thought of religion, then you know that this quote, "Patriotism is merely a religion -- love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country's flag, honor and welfare" isn't in support of patriotism. And if you don't know Twain's views on religion, there here you go: "In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."

Some more quotes to ponder...
"[Patriotism] a word which always commemorates a robbery. There isn't a foot of land in the world which doesn't represent the ousting and re-ousting of a longline of successive "owners" who each in turn, as "patriots" with proud swelling hearts defended it against the next gang of "robbers" who came to steal it and did -- and became swelling-hearted patriots in their turn."

"...the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation ALL the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it."

"We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter -- exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place -- the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else's keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan."

Happy 4th of July from The Mark Twain House & Museum!


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