Mark Twain unveils in these uncensored writings sarcastically his outspoken views on man, religion, politics and human civilization.
Mark Twain exhorts all men on earth: `each of you must for yourself alone decide what is right or wrong.'
Unfortunately, man's intelligence is limited. His irrationalism is blatantly exposed by the population explosion. Mark Twain sees at the horizon an earth burdened by 50 billion people! Another example: (the Christian) man `thinks he thinks.' But, look at his heaven: he `has entirely left out the one ecstasy that stands foremost in the heart of every individual ... sexual intercourse.'
Spiritually, man's `disastrous Moral Sense is the parent of all the immoralities. It enables him to distinguish good from evil, and, necessarily, to do wrong.' Materially, man is `but a basket of pestilent corruption provided for the entertainment of swarming armies of bacilli - armies to rot and destroy him.' Concerning his character, its main traits are `hypocrisy, envy, malice, cruelty, vengefulness, seduction, rape, robbery, swindling, arson and the oppression and humiliation of the poor and the helpless. Many men who have accumulated more millions of money than they can ever use, have shown a rabid hunger for more.'
Of course, `man is the only religious animal.' But, for Mark Twain, he is, moreover, `the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cut his throat if his theology isn't straight.' `When the Lord God of Heaven and Earth goes to war, he is totally without mercy for both sexes and all ages.'
For Mark Twain, `the Old Testament is interested mainly in blood and sensuality. The New One in Salvation by fire.' In the fall of Adam and Eve, `the serpent said the forbidden fruit would store their vacant minds with knowledge; whereas the priest, God's representative, had made it his business to keep them from knowing any useful thing.'
More cynically, God, `Our Father perceived that death was a mistake; it allowed the dead person to escape all further persecution. (Therefore,) he invented hell.
In Mark Twain's republic, `it is the common voice of the people who is the Country.' But, the elected government was (is) irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on. There was (is) no patriotism but of the pocket.' Look at war: `we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war against a helpless people, and for a base object - robbery.'
For Mark Twain, civilization should be `morally, the evil passions repressed and the level of conduct raised; spiritually, idols cast down and God enthroned; materially, bread and fair treatment for the greatest number.'
But, human civilization replaced these visions with money-fever, sordid ideals, vulgar ambition, turning useless luxuries into necessities.' It is organized for keeping `the sheep docile and usable; for electing purchasable legislatures and city governments which rob the town and sell municipal protection to gamblers, thieves, prostitutes and professional seducers for cash.'
These biting, vitriolic texts about the Descent (not the Ascent) of man from the higher (not the lower) Animals have lost nothing of their topicality.
Where are the Mark Twains of today? There are not many: sunt rari nantes in gurgite vasto (= our world).
These texts are a must read for all lovers of world literature.