Mark Twain on Whiskey and Civilization

I found this gem of a snippet today, and I rather agree with what it says!

“How solemn and beautiful is the thought that the earliest pioneer of civilization, the van-leader of civilization, is never the steamboat, never the railroad, never the newspaper, never the Sabbath-school, never the missionary — but always whiskey! Such is the case. Look history over; you will see.

The missionary comes after the whiskey — I mean he arrives after the whiskey has arrived; next comes the poor immigrant, with ax and hoe and rifle; next, the trader; next, the miscellaneous rush; next, the gambler, the desperado, the highwayman, and all their kindred in sin of both sexes; and next, the smart chap who has bought up an old grant that covers all the land; this brings the lawyer tribe; the vigilance committee brings the undertaker. All these interests bring the newspaper; the newspaper starts up politics and a railroad; all hands turn to and build a church and a jail — and behold! civilization is established forever in the land.

But whiskey, you see, was the van-leader in this beneficent work. It always is. It was like a foreigner — and excusable in a foreigner — to be ignorant of this great truth, and wander off into astronomy to borrow a symbol. But if he had been conversant with the facts, he would have said: Westward the Jug of Empire takes its way. ”