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Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a... Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
ReydePalabras
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 12:00:57 PM
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Just love Thoreau. Going spend this weekend reading 'Civil Disobedience". Does anyone know of any hidden gems of Thoreau's that I should read?
Bully_rus
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 1:52:46 PM
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If you replace the word legislator with word law, reasoning will not be so convincing as at first sight. First not always meaning best, my conscience said me lately.
Verbatim
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 7:53:37 PM
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Daemon wrote:
Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Once we understand Thoreau we understand why he appeals to so many types of people, so many-labeled interests.
His essay was first published in 1849 titled "Resistance to Civil Government", later in 1866 after Thoreau's death
it became "Civil Disobedience" and in modern times it has been referred to as "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience".

It is not by accident, perhaps, the several titles; the essence of the essay has been reduced unfairly to one or the other.
Some reputable sources can't even get the year of its first published version right( 1846, 1848 ). I have read somewhere that
Thoreau has never actually used the term "Civil Disobedience".

The point is that Thoreau's capital writing needs thought. Today's quotation (find it in the fourth paragraph of page one http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil1.html) defines one very important aspect of the essay:
Thoreau stands up for the individual's conscience. But how must that conscience act and why?

Here is a good size excerpt to ponder over in light of the historical and textual context of the essay; it follows on the heels of
a previous quotation this past week about unjust laws:

"If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth- certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

As for adopting the ways which the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man's life will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to. I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should do something wrong. It is not my business to be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not bear my petition, what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconciliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is an change for the better, like birth and death, which convulse the body.

I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already."

Someone asked for gems, how about the ones in bold letters? Or this one right before the end of the essay: "There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."

Skyoe
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 8:57:01 PM
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Verbatim wrote:


Once we understand Thoreau we understand why he appeals to so many types of people, so many-labeled interests.


Is the word "many-labeled" your own coinage, Verbatim? I searched for it on the internet, but did not get any result.

I'm having difficulty understanding the sentence you wrote, because of this word. Is "many" the modifier of "labeled"? If so, your sentence would read "...appeals to so many types of people, so (many-)labeled interests", and then I would have another problem: what is "labeled interest"? (I googled that too, and got no result.)

Or, I should read it the other way - "many" is modified by "labeled"? "...appeals to so many types of people, so many(-labeled) interests" would be much easier for me to comprehend, but I have some feeling that it's not the message you were trying to convey.

Could you please enlighten me?
Absurdicuss
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 11:02:44 PM

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Great post Verbatim....thanks very much. So many books to read and so little time. You've introduced me to another kindred spirit whose heart I shall pursue.

Cheers, Ab
Verbatim
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 12:29:39 AM
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You are welcome, Ab. Unfortunately, you are right. So little time to spend with the many books that need reading... and the second reading.
Verbatim
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 1:38:23 AM
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Skyoe wrote: "Is the word "many-labeled" your own coinage, Verbatim? I searched for it on the internet, but did not get any result. ...Could you please enlighten me?"

If it is, it was not intended as new coinage. What I tried to say was that not just many people of many kinds, but people with many different interests at heart, each with its own label already attached,
have claimed Thoreau's words--sometime the same exact words--as justification, even vindication, of their theories, creed, platform, demands. Thoreau was quoted or invoked by Radicals, Anarchists, Soviet Union Communists, just as well as
the Anti-Slavery activists, Civil Rights and National Liberation movement leaders. His ideas inspired some of the most important concepts which originated at the Nuremberg Trials, even as the necesity to hold them
had been known months before. I am sure Libertarians would avail themselves of his name in support of their free-will ideas, as they see them today.

Let Google take notice that there are, indeed, "labeled interests". I hope that I was able to explain it, failing that I can always claim it as a new coinage.







Skyoe
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 2:30:13 AM
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Verbatim wrote:

people with many different interests at heart, each with its own label already attached,
have claimed Thoreau's words--sometime the same exact words--as justification, even vindication, of their theories, creed, platform, demands.


Verbatim wrote:

Let Google take notice that there are, indeed, "labeled interests". I hope that I was able to explain it, failing that I can always claim it as a new coinage.


Thanks for your explanation, Verbatim. It's all clear now, about this word.

I need a little more time to absorb the ideas from your posts, though. I'll come back here to discuss with you, if I have some other problems about the words you said, or if I have some opinions different from yours.

Thank you.
Verbatim
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 3:30:05 AM
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Welcome, Skyoe. Curiosity of intellect makes the crowning of an intellectual. Discernment defines the quality of the “crown”.
Don't try to look it up, I don't think Google has it. Verbatim
Bully_rus
Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 4:58:04 AM
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What conscience of the citizen says about gun control in the USA in light of late events or gay marriages? Abstract terms and grand good intentions may be very handsome and comforting for readers and its imagination but are rarely useful. On the contrary, sometimes good intentions resolve itself into revolutions like Russian and bring disaster and havoc with itself. Sorry, but tragic experience of my country make me cautious about smooth talking guys with appeal to everyone.
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