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I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject. Options
Daemon
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Ray41
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:56:58 AM

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Does not sound like one you would want to borrow a cup of sugar from!Whistle
gradyone
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 2:27:44 AM

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Perhaps not sugar, Ray, but I would certainly like to sit on a barstool by his liquor cabinet
and share drinks and stories with him. ..

[image not available]

reinsalkas
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:40:14 AM
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Wonderful phrase that can be widely analyzed.
pedro
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:34:39 AM
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I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Well, judging by the photograph he's achieved the latter
Christine
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:42:14 AM
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http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil3.html

" I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow-countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with — the dollar is innocent — but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can, as is usual in such cases."
jcbarros
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:17:49 AM

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What matters is to dissimulate, while you´re awaiting for your moment. :}
Bully_rus
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:55:38 AM
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Daemon wrote:
I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


For good or bad, something went wrong in Thoreau's calculations at least until now. Though present have an anxious undertone.

>> They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufacturers and agriculture. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations.
capitán
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:55:22 AM

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Daemon wrote:
I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Here now put in context for better understanding...

---
On The Duty of Civil Disobedience

I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow-countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with — the dollar is innocent — but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can, as is usual in such cases.

http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil.html
---

I think the key here is the latter part:

I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with — the dollar is innocent — but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can, as is usual in such cases.

Thoreau believed that by -supporting schools- and -educating the fellow countrymen- he was being as good as being good through opposition to a government that would use his money to fight for causes he deemed wrong.

Let's not forget that by supporting the war, people were actually thought of as good subjects. However, supporting slavery and the Mexican-American War is something that a good person does not support. Therefore, he called himself "desirous of being a bad subject".

What is important here is: a good subject follows the state blindly, but a good person has ideas of his or her own and when this person judges the actions of the state as wrong, his duty is to oppose the state.
Trivium_Discipulus
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:31:04 PM
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Ahh, the smell of righteous freedom in the morning. If left to the government, that would be napalm you smell in the morning… or the process of being driven into bankruptcy which will, inevitably, lead to grinding poverty for you and yours.

I have a different take on what this quote says about education. Thoreau appears to reject “state schooling” by laying claim to educating people himself (if “state schooling” was doing the right job, Thoreau would not have to, correct? In short, it sounds like he knows enough not to trust “state schooling” and took the responsibility on himself to educate people in the only way he knew how to do so.

He’s right, too. The message of this quote is persona non gratis in “state schooling.”

BTW, there is a big distinction between education and schooling. Education teaches empowers the imagination as it teaches on to think critically and results in autonomous, independent autodidacts – self learners. As opposed to teaching people how to think, schooling teaches you what powerful special interests want you to know and think and, though a decade and half of operant conditioning, teaches you to surrender intellectual fealty to the “authority,” in this case, the Central State.

I refer people to the multitude of works, many available online for free (youtube, schoolsucks.com and http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/), of John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year at the time of his resignation.

The Ultimate History Lesson
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL463AA90FD04EC7A2

Bravo Thoreau
Guto André
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:31:34 PM

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Good examples will do good fame.
Apsu
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:04:18 PM
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Veni. Vidi. Didici.
Marguerite
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:48:28 PM

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When Thoreau was taking his daily walk in the woods he would wend his way past his aunt's home where he would indulge in homemakde cookies. When he was caculating his expense account he failed to include the cost of the cookies. We all need each other, even such a solitary individual like Thoreau had a need for cookies. No doubt his aunt's musing were exasperating to him but I could be wrong. As for government, it should serve more than the pressing needs of the rich.
Absurdicuss
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:31:01 PM
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Daemon wrote:
I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)




A man after my own heart.
Jarrett
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:41:51 PM

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Dancing true
Ahmad Al-Qudah
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:33:04 PM

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Great
Professor
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:17:29 PM

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Ray41 wrote:
Does not sound like one you would want to borrow a cup of sugar from!Whistle


He sounds like an interesting soul. Not sure i want him living next to me.... Can't we all just get along.
Professor
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:25:25 PM

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Absurdicuss wrote:
Daemon wrote:
I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)




A man after my own heart.


What, don't you like us--other humans?
Verbatim
Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:04:45 AM
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Daemon wrote:
I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Taken even in the context which has already been provided by Christine and capitan, this quotation does represent
the radical view, the rebellious in Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. But he was not an anarchist.

He was not a rabble rouser either, nor suspicious of government, anymore than most every luminary of post-independence days, or of mid 19th century America.

Thoreau also wrote this excerpt further to the quoted passage, which may help to understand his single minded determination to oppose his tax
dollars being spent on that war with Mexico and supporting the continuation of slavery by the state of Massachusetts:

"" I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed, I have reason to suspect myself on this head; and each year, as the tax-gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments, and the spirit of the people, to discover a pretext for conformity.""

Sadly, he never did discover the pretext for conformity. Nor has one been discovered since, although most Americans will conform, and look what "fine" results the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought to America.
Thoreau in fact was not against government; he only wanted one such as this:
""[19] The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to — for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well — is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed.""
Absurdicuss
Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 8:06:02 PM
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Professor wrote:
Absurdicuss wrote:
Daemon wrote:
I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)




A man after my own heart.


What, don't you like us--other humans?


Of course I like you!

I'm an optimist, and my reading of his quote, in isolation, is that he desired to be a good neighbor and a bad subject. Subjects are ruled not by consent but by force, to which Thoreau was, evidently, reluctant to comply.



@Verbatim - Thanks for the informative follow up; very insightful.
Verbatim
Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 2:06:00 AM
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@Absurdicuss: You are always welcome, and you always understand how to connect various parts of an excerpt. Yes, Thoreau did not think there was anything wrong with being "a bad subject",
because he thought of himself as "governed", not "under the rule", not "ruled", let alone by force. So your quip "a man after my own heart" was on the money.

According to TFD: Subject: n.
1. One who is under the rule of another or others, especially one who owes allegiance to a government or ruler.

And how is Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, these days? Eh?

Trivium_Discipulus
Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 11:15:38 AM
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Marguerite wrote:
When Thoreau was taking his daily walk in the woods he would wend his way past his aunt's home where he would indulge in homemakde cookies. When he was caculating his expense account he failed to include the cost of the cookies. We all need each other, even such a solitary individual like Thoreau had a need for cookies. No doubt his aunt's musing were exasperating to him but I could be wrong. As for government, it should serve more than the pressing needs of the rich.


I don't think this represent Thoreau's view at all.

You portray him as somehow selfish and greedy, but that's not consistent with being desirous of being a good neighbor.

A better representation of his views, IMHO, is that he didn't like being forced, at the point of a gun or the threat of being locked in jail (the animator of government), to pay 2x as much cookies he didn't like produced by a campaign contributor to his Congressperson and purchased with inextinguishable interest bearing debt that would eventually lead to the bankruptcy and impoverishment of his country.

Those two scenarios are very, very different and ought not be conflated or confused as somehow remotely close to equivalent.
Absurdicuss
Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 9:29:43 PM
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@verbatim Ushuaia? The Kalma Resto is absurdly delicious and the views are the end of the world.

That is, when viewed through my desktop monitor located in rural South Carolina.


Triv kicks it up a notch with some sobering realist sarcasm.....swish
Verbatim
Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014 9:33:52 PM
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Absurdicus: "@verbatim Ushuaia? The Kalma Resto is absurdly delicious and the views are the end of the world.

That is, when viewed through my desktop monitor located in rural South Carolina."

I changed the subject and it made you jump. From Tierra del Fuego, Argentina all the way to Nuuk, Kujalleq, Greenland.


It's all in the angle of the view how we see Thoreau's blunt statement, and the vantage point of the viewer. How he must amuse himself with our guessing,
viewed from his vantage point.

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