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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 4 Apr 2011 16:51:08 -0700
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Shelley Fisher Fishkin <[log in to unmask]>
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You  are referring to the "lie of silent assertion" that Twain defines in "My First Lie and How I Got Out of It" (1899):

" .... I  am speaking of the lie of silent assertion; we can tell it without saying 
a word, and we all do it--we that know. In the magnitude of its 
territorial spread it is one of the most majestic lies that the 
civilisations make it their sacred and anxious care to guard and watch 
and propagate. 

For instance. It would not be possible for a humane and intelligent 
person to invent a rational excuse for slavery; yet you will remember 
that in the early days of the emancipation agitation in the North the 
agitators got but small help or countenance from any one. Argue and 
plead and pray as they might, they could not break the universal 
stillness that reigned, from pulpit and press all the way down to the 
bottom of society--the clammy stillness created and maintained by the lie 
of silent assertion--the silent assertion that there wasn't anything 
going on in which humane and intelligent people were interested....."

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
Shelley Fisher Fishkin 
Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, Professor of English, and Director of American Studies, Stanford University 
Mail: Department of English, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2087
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On Apr 4, 2011, at 5:17 AM, C.J. Peiffer wrote:

> I am trying to find a Twain quote that has something to do with silent agreement ---something to the effect that if we are opposed to something, but don't speak up, our silence is showing that we agree.
> Or perhaps it was not from Twain.  Maybe I am searching under the wrong topics online and in Rasmussen's  Quotable Mark Twain.
> I'd appreciate the exact text of the quote and also the source if anyone knows it.
> Thank you.
> Carol Peiffer
> ========== 
> See and purchase art work and products designed by C.J. Peiffer at Zazzle Pro ArtzVisit C.J. Peiffer's art and writing blog: Pro Artz and her Peace Corps Brazil blog: A Little "Peace" of Brazil
> “Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in commonas human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.” -Sargent Shriver