Alleged Mark Twain quotes

Mark Twain is alleged to have said the following two quotes.

“It It is easier to fool people than convince them they have been fooled.”

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Whether he is the author is moot, as they sure sound like they came out of his brain or mouth. Twain was not just an author, he was a fabulous and witty orator.

These quotes resonate as it alarms me how too many people read, listen and watch pseudo-news that tell them what they want to hear or see. I fault these pseudo-news outlets, salivating readers and watchers and politicians such as the president who know they can be loose with the truth.

As someone who is fiscally conservative and socially progressive, I do not mind people being more conservative or liberal than I. What I do mind is people spouting arguments from sources known for spin-doctoring, misinformation and disinformation. We must get away from hyper-rationalization of untruthful or even bizarre statements made by their party. With a very untruthful president and his sycophants, the rationalization is rampant.

We must be the navigators of our customer service, which includes our news. We must look at multiple sources that do not spend so much time on nonsensical conspiracy theories and provide errata statements when they get it wrong. Another sure sign of less-than-aurhentic news is the glee in what is being presented or an opinion meant to flavor what we just heard.

We must be truthseekers. It is not an easy job. Yet, if we don’t do our part, we might prove Mark Twain correct.

5 thoughts on “Alleged Mark Twain quotes

  1. I was thinking about this very thing earlier today. I spend 12-14 hours on my blog, more than half of it spent trolling news sources, verifying stories & sources, researching stories, and I don’t even manage to quite keep up. So, people who have a full-time job, family, etc., cannot possibly keep up with everything and know what’s factual and what isn’t. So, they likely listen to one source or another … could be CNN, could be Fox, or they might catch their news in between chatting with friends on Twitter or Facebook. The point being, they likely don’t have or make time to verify what they hear from a single news source, and these days, there is so much disinformation out there that is it really any wonder everyone is going about screaming, “fake news”? The mainstream media is still the best place for fact-based news, but even they are letting the ball drop by focusing more on the rhetoric than the facts. And, as I see it, we bloggers also have a responsibility to try to be as accurate and relevant as possible. It isn’t always easy, but the alternative is unacceptable.

    Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, my friend!

  2. Well said. And I do think Twain said those things. But getting people to listen carefully to those they disagree with may be a pipe dream — even though, as John Stuart Mill said long ago — it is essential if we want to hold in our hands anything looking like the truth!

    • Jill, you are so right it takes time. The mainstream media does attempt to get it right, but also needs to stay away from opinion. This morning CBS interviewed Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, then the hostd shared their opinions about what we just heard. You noted the use of rhetoric more than they should, but I also don’t like how shallow some stories and the lack of reporting on recent statements or votes that offer context.

      My wife will hush me sometimes when I say “that is not true,” when a guest or newscaster says somethlng that stretches the imagination. Keith

    • Hugh, you are so right. In the Nebraska state senator’s letter he laments that same fact. The tribal politics of some will not know how to handle the cognitive dissonance of his message, so they will diffuse, discount or discredit the message and source.

      It is like Stuart Varney and others saying Trump does not lie, as the truth that he lies often creates too much cognitive dissonance. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: Remedying cognitive dissonance requires a powerful force. We align ourselves personally with a political tribe, so that we have a hard time when the truth causes disharmony.

    So, rather than look foolish, there is a tendency to dig further risking further embarassment. Politicians who rationalize poor Trump comments or actions are good examples of this. The same was true with Democrats to explain away the philandering of Bill Clinton. It also occurred with Richard Nixon until it was learned he recorded oval office conversations – his Waterloo,

    We must step away from the tribal nature of politics. We must be able to say we made a bad decision or say the elected official we voted for is making inappropriate comments or actions.

    Fox News opinion person Stuart Varney has not put himself in a good light saying Trump does not lie. Of course, he does and he lies often. It is an insult to people’s intelligence to say otherwise.

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