Sunday, June 16, 2013

Twain and a Mysterious Stranger
Let's recall an angel, called Satan, from the pages of Mark Twain's posthumous (1916) story from 1590, the 'Austrian Middle Ages' as Twain calls the storytime, The Mysterious Stranger, Being an Ancient Tale Found in a Jug, and Freely Translated from the Jug, (Chapter 9) to tell us about just wars:

"...and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers...but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation...will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. 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..."

One would, perhaps, be forgiven to think that in certain types of thing, the times have not really been a-changin' that much at all.

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