Mark Twain
on Civilization

from "Papers of the Adam Family"

Our civilization is wonderful, in certain spectacular ways; wonderful in the material inflation which it calls progress; wonderful in its hunger for money, and in its indifference as to how it is acquired; in closing the public service against brains and character; in electing purchasable legislatures, blatherskite Congresses, and city governments which rob the town and sell municipal protection to gamblers, thieves and prostitutes for cash.

It is a civilization which has destroyed the simplicity and repose of life; replaced its contentment, its poetry, its soft romance-dreams and visions with the money-fever, sordid ideals, vulgar ambitions, and the sleep which does not refresh.

It has invented a thousand useless luxuries, and turned them into necessities; it has created a thousand vicious appetites and satisfies none of them; it has dethroned God and set up a shekel in His place.

(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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