Thursday, July 21

On the Decay of the Art of Lying by Mark Twain

"No fact is more firmly established than that lying is a necessity of our circumstances, -- the deduction that it is then a Virtue goes without saying. No virtue can reach its highest usefulness without careful and diligent cultivation, -- therefore, it goes without saying, that this one ought to be taught in the public schools -- at the fireside -- even in the newspapers. What chance has the ignorant, uncultivated liar against the educated expert? What chance have I against Mr. Per ---- against a lawyer? Judicious lying is what the world needs. I sometimes think it were even better and safer not to lie at all than to lie injudiciously. An awkward, unscientific lie is often as ineffectual as the truth. Now let us see what the philosophers say. Note that venerable proverb: Children and fools always speak the truth. The deduction is plain--adults and wise persons never speak it."

Excerpt: of "On the Decay of the Art of Lying" by Mark Twain. Whole text here.

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