Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known to the world as Mark Twain, considered the lifelong duty of his acerbic pen—as he put it a letter of 1888, accepting an honorary MA from Yale—to be “the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities, the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence.” It was a role which, he continued, made him “the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges and all kindred swindles, and the natural friend of human rights and human liberties,” and he embraced it wholeheartedly.
These are just a few of his assaults on the “swindles” he saw deforming…
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