Libertarian History/Philosophy

Mark Twain on Communism

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In the Wall Street Journal, Mark Twain's refined economic theories [subscription required]:

"Communism is idiotcy," he reckoned. "They want to divide up the property. Suppose they did it—it requires brains to keep money as well as make it. . . . The division would have to be re-made every three years or it would do the communist no good."

Via Greg Mankiw

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  1. Yup, and the Capitalists would give their property to teh joos to hold on to during the re-division.

  2. What always struck me about Marx was that he drew out a distinction between C-M-C processes and M-C-M processes (been a long time, but I think that’s Capital-Money-Capital and Money-Capital-Money)…but it never occurred to him to just string them together C-M-C-M-C-M-C-M. Of course, that’d kind of undermine the central thesis.

  3. I’m not a WSJ subscriber, but the site let me see the page, once I told my Firefox NoScript extension to unblock it.

    Kevin

  4. sounds as though Twain’s observation also applies to inheritance.

  5. After a redirect, I was able to read the article as well.

    And I am now going to use the word “idiotcy” from now on, because I like it.

  6. Sam Clemens knew all about having the brains to keep money. He lost several fortunes.

    It speaks well of his character that he didn’t blame Capitalism for it.

  7. Mr. Ross,
    “Sam Clemens knew all about having the brains to keep money. He lost several fortune”

    The WSJ article linked above is actually about a book which focuses on that part of Twain’s life.

  8. “It speaks well of his character that he didn’t blame Capitalism for it.”

    Unlike, oh, say, Karl Marx?

  9. You can get free access to that Wall Street Journal article with a Netpass from: http://news.congoo.com – click the WSJ logo

  10. I am disappointed that the Reason H&R Commies have not begun bleeting and squealing yet!

    How on earth can I be home from defending the Republic AND home from Happy Hour before them?

  11. Well, considering Mark Twain and Abe Lincoln said about 1% of the things that are attributed to them, I’ll take that with a grain of salt.

  12. Communism?

    “To my mind, this is irregular. It is un-English; it is un-American; it is [f]rench.”

  13. I don’t think that Roger Lowenstein quite understands communism enough to get his own Clemens quote.

  14. My favorite Twain quote:

    “Man is the only animal that blushes…or needs to.”

  15. I’ve a couple Twain faves….

    “I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five. I had a jolly time. I would not have fooled away any of it writing letters under any consideration whatever.”-Mark Twain

    “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”-Mark Twain

    “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”-Mark Twain

    and, of course….

    “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress . . .But I repeat myself.”-Mark Twain


  16. Edward | March 14, 2007, 5:20pm | #
    sounds as though Twain’s observation also applies to inheritance.

    “I Don’t Take No Stock in Dead People”

    -Huckleberry Finn

  17. One mark of Twain’s importance is that clever things other people have said are routinely misattributed to him. It was Judge Gideon J. Tucker. who made that crack about the legislature. I long labored under the notion that Daniel Webster had said it.

    Kevin

  18. Mark Twain,
    Like fence-whitewashing Tom, might fain
    Have others’ wit
    Acrue to his lit crit.

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