Really couldn't resist the question title :-)
This question asks about the famous quote by Mark Twain:
Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
which I'm sure most people here know. When I first read it I obviously interpreted the meaning as "All congressmen are idiots" - but when trying to actually reason through the construct in a comment for the question, that actually doesn't work out I find.
Let's go for a slight formalism with propositional logic:
Imeans that the person is an idiot.
Cmeans that the person is a congressman.
Now Twain states that the person is an idiot so we know that
I is true. Then he states
C. So far so good,
I ^ C. But the next sentence is: "but I repeat myself" which I can only interpret as "but the second statement doesn't add any new information to the first". So this means that
I -> I ^ C (since otherwise saying
C is true would add information). This can be simplified to
not I v C and since we know that
I is true, this means that
C must be true - nothing surprising there.
So now the options are: Did I make a mistake in my reasoning? Did Mark Twain screw up in his and actually wanted the opposite order or I guess #3 did Mark Twain really want to imply that every idiot is a congressman?