AND NE’ER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET

What I find appalling these days about the vast sea of opinions that are offered in support or against the array of ideas that confront us every day is that so many are presented with no facts to back them up. I believe it is lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC whose tag line is “You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts”.

What compounds the offense is that it is not the unavailability of facts to use in support of arguments but that there are so many reliable sources that it is inexcusable to totally ignore them when espousing your point of view.

It is probably no surprise that that that most learned,most insightful, most prescient of our major philosophers has weighed in on this topic and is eminently quotable. Yes, Samuel Langhorne Clemens….Mark Twain to you…is a veritable quote machine when it comes these concerns.

I’ll offer this premise in order to go further. Not everyone is born with a high IQ and not everyone has the advantage of a college education, let alone an Ivy League one, but everyone does have the capacity to learn if they open their minds and try.

All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
Mark Twain

This appears to be the motto of Donald Trump as he tentatively pursues the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. A more cocksure person in any field is hard to find but if you have read any of his recent proclamations on the “Birther” movement you know he is not nerly as smart as he maintains. Either that or he is relying on the ignorance of others who are Birthers and cynically playing for their support. Despicable on either count.

A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
Mark Twain

Sarah Palin famously has been quite evasive on giving definitive answers to what she reads that help her formulate her worldview. This was a most pertinent inquiry during the 2008 election campaign as in this exchange:

Palin also was not about to be pinned down …

… by Couric on the subject of her reading habits. Here’s the exchange:

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

 

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/10/sarah-palin-dis.html

Responses like that to Couric and in other forums have suggested to many critics that her reading is either extremely limited or next to non-existent.

Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.
Mark Twain

This is a common accusation against liberals, many of them actually Ivy League educated. If anything, it’s claimed, they are ill prepared to deal with real problems in the real world having escaped any preparation to do so while ensconced in their idealistic ivory towers.

Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.
Mark Twain

But some refuse to be educated. Conservatives keep arguing that putting more money into the hands of the wealthy will lead to job creation. Yet, especially in the past ten years, all evidence is to the contrary. With tax cuts across the boards in 2001 and 2003 more favorable to the wealthy, and with numerous reports showing wealth redistribution in favor of the wealthy yielding the largest gap between haves and have-nots in our history, and with recent record corporate profits, job creation has still not caught up with the rest of the recovery.

And during Bush’s two terms, with those tax cuts, he still has the worst job creation record of any President ever since such studies were first conducted when Truman was in office.
For more on these facts check my archives.
Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
Mark Twain

When presented with statistical studies be skeptical. Even the ones I present.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Mark Twain

That is sooooooooo true. I’ve often been on a roll opining on a particular issue and believe this is the most convincing argument EVER, and an opponent will provide a specific example to the contrary that is difficult to refute. DAMN THEM ANYHOW!

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

Two words……Glenn Beck.

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.
Mark Twain
My answers are never that prompt. I never admit I don’t know something.
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
Mark Twain

I wonder if Newt Gingrich has ever heard of this one.

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.
Mark Twain

This is a direct contradiction of my basic premise. The conclusion is the same whether there are facts supporting this claim or not.

Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
Mark Twain

Never so true as when someone calls you un-American for your views.

The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.
Mark Twain

I hope my friend Centinel reads this.

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
Mark Twain
The one quote we all agree with.
Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain’t so.
Mark Twain

DAMN!! All is in vain

All quotes from:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mark_twain_9.html

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