MentalFloss.com today posted an incredible video which is the only film footage that exists of famous American writer Mark Twain. The video was produced by his good friend Thomas Edison when he visited Twain’s estate in Redding, Connecticut in 1909.
The video shows Twain in a signature white suit, puffing on a cigar, enjoying tea and walking around his estate. Today is Mark Twain’s birthday. He was born November 30th, 1835 and died one year after the making of this video. No audio recordings of Twain’s voice exist, as all were destroyed in an unfortunate fire.
Twain may not have been a libertarian, as he was sharply critical of the idea of free will. Writer H.L. Mencken argued that Twain said his “farewells to libertarianism” in his writing of “What is Man?” Mencken interpreted Twain’s work as arguing that man only has a fixed number of choices, and individuals never truly have limitless freedom to choose.
Still, Twain’s unwillingness to believe in government’s ability to get anything done makes him a hero to many libertarians today. Twain abandoned the Confederacy during the Civil War, and condemned false patriotism saying: “Talking of patriotism what humbug it is,” he wrote; “it is a word that always commemorates a robbery.”