What does Mark Twain have to say to today’s pro-lifer?

By Dave Andrusko

Like many people I love pithy quotes. They not only capture an essential truth, they do so in a manner that almost burns them into your memory.

Take, for example, Mark Twain. Two of my favorite quotes (off our topics) are

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds

But when it comes to defending the defenseless, the two Twain quotes that most strike home for me are

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Of course, there is irony galore in that it was not so long ago that I learned that the former quote is actually Charles Sturgeon’s. I’m sure Twain is smiling about that. Sturgeon was a famous 19th Century Baptist preacher and Twain’s relationship to organized religion was (to put it politely) strained.

But whether it be Sturgeon or Twain, I have often thought of the significance (and the relevance) of that insight: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

We spend a lot of time taking pro-abortionists to task for astonishingly ill-informed assertions. But that’s the point, actually points (plural).

First, abortion advocates distribute lies and misinformation like chocolates. They are the Willy Wonkas of deception and misdirection.

Second, when, for instance, they declare life does not begin at conception or that this is a “controversial statement,” you must carefully offer up the many textbooks that say, yes, life does begin at conception.

Then when they switch gears and/or fudge, you must carefully explain that human “life” may have started millions of years ago, but the life of each and every individual human begins at conception.

Which takes us back to Twain’s insight, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Our benighted opposition traffics in obfuscation so obtuse no one can follow them. They gorge on distinctions without a difference.

By contrast our case is straightforward. We are in this together as a human family. It is a gross injustice to kill dependent beings (such as unborn children, newborns whom some think lack sufficient “quality,” or the medically fragile elderly) because they cannot defend themselves or because they do meet discriminatory criteria we create.

These are foundational truths that can never change. Will we, nonetheless, be lambasted mercilessly by the usual, usuals? 

But consider the reward. It was Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn who said,“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. “One word of truth outweighs the world.”