From Don Kemerling This is an excerpt from THE BEST OF ROBERT INGERSOLL, edited by Roger
From Don Kemerling
This is an excerpt from THE BEST OF ROBERT INGERSOLL, edited by Roger
E. Greeley and published by Prometheus Books.
If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas,
I would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to
I would have the nobility drop their titles and give their lands back
to the people. I would have the Pope throw away his tiara and take off
his sacred vestments, and admit that he is not acting for God-is not
infallible-is just an ordinary Italian[now a Pole]. I would have all
the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, and clergymen admit that
they know nothing about theology, nothing about hell or heaven, nothing
about the destiny of the human race, nothing about devils or ghosts,
gods or angels. I would have them all tell their "flocks" to think for
themselves, to be manly men and womanly women, and to do all in their
power to increase the sum of all human happiness.
I would have all the professors in colleges, all the teachers in
schools of every kind, including those in Sunday schools, agree that
they would teach only what they know, that they would not palm off
guesses as demonstrated truths.
I would like to see all the editors of papers and magazines agree
to print the truth and nothing but the truth, to avoid all slander and
misrepresentation, and to let the private affairs of people alone.
I would like to see drunkenness and prohibition both abolished.
I would like to see corporal punishment done away with in every
home, in every school, in every asylum, reformatory and prison. Cruelty
hardens and degrades; kindness reforms and enobles.
I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a trust for the
I would lke to see a fair division of profits between capital and
labor, so that the toiler could save enough to mingle a little June with
the December of his life.
I would like to see an international court established in which to
settle disputes between nations, so that armies could be disbanded and
the great navies allowed to rust and rot in perfect peace.
I would like to see the whole world free free-free from
That will do for next Christmas. The following Christmas, I may
want more. (1897)
Great harm has been done by those who have successfully kept the
writings and speeches of Robert Ingersoll from our nation's schools and
collective consciousness so effectively and by those who neglected to
promote him as the great American thinker and orator that he was. This
man should be brought to the public's attention now, as he was when he
lived and packed halls with overflowing crowds consistently and drew
extravagant praise from the best of his time, like Mark Twain and
President Hayes. dk
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank