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Old 07-03-2006, 11:34 PM   #2
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"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790), Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Mark Twain

MORAL STATISTICIAN. - I don't want any of your statistics. I took your
whole batch and lit my pipe with it. I hate your kind of people. You are
always ciphering out how much a man's health is injured, and how much
his intellect is impaired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he
wastes in the course of ninety-two years' indulgence in the fatal
practice of smoking; and in the equally fatal practice of drinking
coffee; and in playing billiards occasionally; and in taking a glass of
wine at dinner, etc., etc., etc. And you are always figuring out how
many women have been burned to death because of the dangerous fashion of
wearing expansive hoops, etc., etc., etc. You never see but one side of
the question. You are blind to the fact that most old men in America
smoke and drink coffee, although, according to your theory, they ought
to have died young; and that hearty old Englishmen drink wine and
survive it, and portly old Dutchmen both drink and smoke freely, and yet
grow older and fatter all the time. And you never try to find out how
much solid comfort, relaxation and enjoyment a man derives from smoking
in the course of a lifetime, (and which is worth ten times the money he
would save by letting it alone,) nor the appalling aggregate of
happiness lost in a lifetime by your kind of people from not smoking. Of
course you can save money by denying yourself all these little vicious
enjoyments for fifty years, but then what can you do with it? -what use
can you put it to? Money can't save your infinitesimal soul; all the use
that money can be put to is to purchase comfort and enjoyment in this
life -therefore, as you are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment, where is
the use in accumulating cash? It won't do for you to say that you can
use it to better purpose in furnishing a good table, and in charities,
and in supporting tract societies, because you know yourself that you
people who have no petty vices are never known to give away a cent, and
that you stint yourselves so in the matter of food that you are always
feeble and hungry. And you never dare to laugh in the daytime for fear
some poor wretch, seeing you in a good humor, will try to borrow a
dollar of you; and in church you are always down on your knees when the
contribution box comes around; and you always pay your debts in
greenbacks, and never give the revenue officers a true statement of your
income. Now you know all these things yourself, don't you? Very well,
then, what is the use of your stringing out your miserable lives to a
lean and withered old age? What is the use of your saving money that is
so utterly worthless to you? In a word, why don't you go off somewhere
and die, and not be always trying to seduce people into becoming as
"ornery" and unloveable as you are yourselves, by your ceaseless and
villainous "moral statistics?" Now I don't approve of dissipation, and I
don't indulge in it, either, but I haven't a particle of confidence in a
man who has no redeeming petty vices whatever, and so I don't want to
hear from you any more. I think you are the very same man who read me a
long lecture, last week, about the degrading vice of smoking cigars, and
then came back, in my absence, with your vile, reprehensible fire-proof
gloves on, and carried off my beautiful parlor stove.

Last edited by rkzenrage; 07-03-2006 at 11:48 PM.
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