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Rediscovering AnimalsĀ 

The Hen House Takes On Mark Twain--2. Are Humans the Only "...avaricious and miserly" Animal?

This is Mark Twain’s second observation in his list of human faults, due to their unique “moral sense.” Quotes cited below are from Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth: Uncensored Writings, the letter entitled “The Damned Human Race, Section V. The Lowest Animal.”

MT states that when several animals were offered the chance to accumulate all the food they wanted “...none of them would do it.” Humans who become millionaires, however, “...show...a rabid hunger for more.

Recent evidence seems to confirm this. What CEO needed a 150 million dollar bonus for devising funny money games that undermined the world economy in 2008? If that millionaire tried to spend his bonus in local businesses during one year—which would actually boost the economy more readily than if he started a new business with it—he would have to spend $13,636 dollars a day, a near impossibility given that shops are only open for eight hours. Of course, grocery stores sometimes stay open all night, but then how would our generous millionaire push all those grocery carts around?

Surely none of us needs more than one home or two yachts. A private jet is handy, but not when fossil fuels are scarce. Don’t we do conference calls now, rather than travel all over the world just to plan how to sell something none of us need or should afford?

I think MT got it wrong. Most of us are not avaricious and miserly. We know how to save for a rainy day and buy only what we need for a pleasant life. Less than a billion of us now are malnourished, and we know how to share—or do we? Less than a billion? That 850,000 people that don’t get enough to eat every day.

Is MT right on this one? No one in the Hen House hordes, not even the cracked corn they relish.

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