If we are a democracy like we say we are (constantly), then just as much as you have the right to argue with your neighbor about politics, you should stand up or rather kneel when your country seems to have failed you or failed your fellow citizen. Now, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch for Reece and Thoreau.
Your idea here that kneeling is essentially a way to “stand up” for the principles you believe your country should follow, and therefore as a way to show your respect for those principles while suggesting that your country is failing to live up to them, is backed by a long tradition in which we can see Thoreau as a participant. In her new biography of Thoreau, Laura Dassow Walls describes T at an anti-slavery rally: ““On the Fourth of July 1854, at one of the largest and angriest antislavery rallies, the professed hermit of Walden Pond stepped onto a high lecture platform under a black-draped American flag hung upside down” (313). By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court recognized an even more extreme use of the flag for this kind of political speech – burning it – as protected by the First Amendment in Texas v. Johnson (1989).
September 28, 2018 at 3:34 am
Posted in: ENGL 203 Geneseo F18
[commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself]
I included this passage in my blog as an example of how Thoreau felt the state took advantage of people. He found it hard to believe that they charged people for activities that they did not partake in. He also did not agree that the state and the church were intertwined because this gave them more power than they should have had.
See in context
September 28, 2018 at 3:30 am
[I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.]
I included this passage in my blog post because it perfectly represents Thoreau’s view of the government and slavery. It is my belief that his hatred of enslavement influenced his disapproval of the state. His opinion was not widely agreed on, but that did not stop him from questioning how one human could own another while the state permitted it.
September 28, 2018 at 3:27 am
September 27, 2018 at 10:30 pm
[His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government; but for thinkers, and those who legislate for all time, he never once glances at the subject.]
he doesn’t really to seem to know the difference in what they are doing wrong so if there is an issue it is our job as human beings to educate others and make them aware of whats really going on.
September 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm
Posted in: Panel of Experts
[I HEARTILY accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.]
“That government is best which governs least” was the motto of the Democratic Review, edited by John O’Sullivan. The quotation is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
September 25, 2018 at 6:07 am
[Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?]
Unjust laws are not always morally correct. Subjectivity due to circumstance is what makes moral law superior to the ideal of political law. Over time, political law is adjusted but what we find to be morally correct is somewhat of a recurring principal in political culture. The laws that crucified, excommunicate and pronounces people is due entirely to circumstance. Franklin and Washington broke the laws but were paraded for their efforts, however Copernicus was excommunicated for his heliocentric theory.
September 25, 2018 at 5:59 am
Thoreau goes up one level of abstraction when he switches from the story to his argument. He begins with an example of a neighbor stealing tour money and the feeling of being cheated and relates this back his questioning of ‘joy’ in holding opinions. After being cheated, you’re willing to take any steps necessary in never being ‘cheated’ again. This causes polarization.
September 25, 2018 at 5:51 am
[Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support, are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform.]
(relating to my comment in the previous paragraph) People who follow a blind patriotism and trust for their government are the hardest to budge when it comes to reform. Traditionalists can see a moral wrong, but will attempt no such actions to prevent it, in fear of damaging the natural order of the laws.
September 25, 2018 at 5:47 am
[The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war;]
Thoreau critiques the stigma that the government can do no wrong or that the government is not to be criticized. People will disapprove of a government action but will hesitate in truly speaking out about such actions.
September 25, 2018 at 5:35 am
[ It is not so important that many should be as good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. ]
This is a quote in which proves that Thoreau is not trying to coerce his audience into adopting his opinions. He states that he knows that people are not going to be involved as him and he respects that. However, he believes the morality of the society needs a fix. He believes that for someone to take a step in the right direction, is a step towards transforming society for the better.
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