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Walden/On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

I considered writing a review of Walden and On The Duty of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, but I've decided I'm just going to link this: Pond Scum, by Katheryn Schulz, who says it far more eloquently than I do.

But I struggled (and snarled) through it, so I'll say it as succinctly as I can: what a hypocritical, narcissistic, uncharitable and self-righteous worm. How dare you preach from above what you don't even adhere to (hungry, so walk to your mother's place half mile down the road?) How could you even dredge up the self-importance to say humanity's life is meaningless and worthless when you refuse to even live among people, to learn anything about humanity and civilization? How self-absorbed can you be to think living without a doormat makes you more "pure"? Did you lose your empathy, to say "I have tried [Doing-good] fairly, and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution", and feel proud of putting those words down?

You idolize subsistence farming because you never had to live it; you don't put manure down because you only expect to plant and harvest once. You look down on young people who have to go off to make their fortunes before they can "go up to the garret to write their poetry", because you're so myopic you can't understand not only poverty, but not even the whole class of people who have to make a living. You draw out sums that feed a single man in good health in good weather who owns his own property, but since everyone else is deaf and blind to all the truths you see, surely this is enough for all other lives and families. And there isn't even internal consistency! Is having an editor also impure, Thoreau?

P.S. a hundred Romantic poets, novelists, and essayists did nature writing better.

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/181170.html.



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