There's no doubt about it: Will Rogers was a man ahead of his times. His commentaries, ironically, centered on politics, a realm in which everyone is stuck in a time warp and heading backwards as fast as they can go - and, alas, trying to take us all with them!
Will Rogers on Mexico, Debt, Women and the Good Ole Days
By Will Rogers
We could never understand why Mexico wasn't just crazy about us. We have always had their goodwill, oil, coffee, and minerals at heart. Up to now our calling card to Mexico or Central America has been a gunboat or violets shaped like marines. We couldn't figure out why they didn't appreciate the fact that they had been shot in the most cordial manner possible. We couldn't realize their attitude in not falling on our necks and blessing us for giving them the assistance of our superior knowledge of government.
I have no humorous cracks about Mexico being lazy. If they are lazier than us, which I doubt, and can make a living at it, why, then, I give them creddit for being the smartest nation on Earth. For our own educational system is to teach our youth to learn something so that he will feel assured he won't have to do any manual labor through life. So if Mexicans can abstain from physical work without having to go to school twelve or fourteen years to learn how not to work, then I claim that is a national asset. (1928)
On the National Debt
We owe more money than any nation in the world. When is the time to pay off debt if it is not when you are doing well? All government statistics say that 70% of every dollar paid in the way of taxes goes just to keeping up of interest and a little dab of amortization of our national debts. In other words, if we didn't owe anything, our taxes would be less than one third what they are today.
I bet tomorrow if you started a political party and had this as its platform: "No taxes are to be paid at all. We will borrow money on our national resources for all our current expenses. Remember the slogan: No taxes as long as we can borrow!" Well, I bet you would have the biggest political party in America. But, start a society on the following platform: "Everybody try to borrow all you can personally, and save up nothing. Leave your children plenty of debts." You wouldn't get ten to join that. You would be arrested for being crazy. But you will let the coming generation pay 70% of each dollar they pay in just for what you borrowed during your generation. No sir, you let a politician return home from Washington and announce: "Boys, we lowered your taxes. We had to borrow the money to do it, but we did it." They would elect him for life. While me on my platform would be thrown to the wolves as an infidel.
Most folks say, "Well our children seem to think they are smarter than we are, so if they are, the chances are that their children will be smarter than they are, so if they are that smart, why maybe they can think of some substitute for money that they can pay off their national debt with, and they will wonder why we didn't have a bigger one."
There is a change coming over the country, anyhow. People have just got get more used to debt. Let's all let the fellow we owe do the worrying and the United States will be the happiest land on Earth.
Every nation and every dindividual, their principal worry is debt. What would be the matter with this for relieving practically everybody's depression: Just call all debts off! There can't be over a dozen men in the world that are owed more than they owe, so you woulnd't be hurting very many and besides, if you give them some worry, that's what they had everybody else doing for years. This would give great temporary relief to 99% and would not hurt the others long, for they would soon have it back again.
A debt is just as hard for a government to pay as it is for an individual. No debt ever comes due at a good time. Borrowing is the only thing that is handy all the time.
There has never been anything invented yet, including war, that a man would enter into that a woman wouldn't too. As a matter of fact, six or eight women could prevent any war. The wives of prime ministers, diplomats, and presidents would only have to say, "If you allow war to come to this country, I will leave you, so help me." But history records no record of one having left for that reason, though they left for everything else.
All the wars in the world, even if you won 'em, can't repay one mother for the loss of one son.
You can't pass a park without seeing a statue of some old codger on a horse. It must be his bravery - you can tell it's not his horsemanship. Anyhow, women are twice as brave as men, yet they never seem to have reached the statue stage - but one is due.
You know, women always could endure more than men. Not only physically, but mentally - did you ever get a peek at some of the husbands?
Masters of War
Take the profits out of war and you won't have any war.
The Real 'Good Ole Days
There wasn't any Republicans in Washington's day. No Republicans, no boll weevil, no income tax, no cover charge, no disarmament conferences, no luncheon clubs, no stop lights, no static, no headwinds. Liquor was a companion, not a problem; no margins, no ticket speculators, no golf pants or Scotch jokes. My lord, living in those times, who wouldn't be great?
Distribution of Wealth in America
Ten men in our country could buy the world, and ten million can't buy enough to eat.