Perhaps you’ve heard the adage: “The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.” It’s intended as irony, of course: It means that nobody is irreplaceable, a notion considered so profound it’s been attributed over the years to people who never even said it, including French statesman Charles de Gaulle.
Its earliest known source, however, was an American writer and philosopher, an early 20th century socialist named Elbert Hubbard. “The graveyards,” he wrote in 1907, “are full of people the world could not do without.”
I don’t want to pick on Hubbard, even if he penned such dubious tracts as “Jesus Was an Anarchist,” because he and his wife were aboard the RMS Lusitania when the Germans torpedoed it in 1915. Both Hubbards perished along with 1,200 other sou
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