The Impractical Philosophies of Self-reliance and Civil Disobedience

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The Impractical Philosophies of Self-reliance and Civil Disobedience

 

The philosophies of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson would work well in a society comprised only of highly intellectual, healthy individuals who were willing put forth the effort needed to thoroughly examine themselves and formulate their own opinions about every issue pertaining to them. Emerson said that all members of society should think for themselves and formulate their own opinions rather than conforming to a popular belief. Thoreau said that the best government was no government, and that people should always do what was just. A society that functioned under the ideals of Emerson and Thoreau would have no problems. No money would be
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Thoreau said, "Government is best which governs not at all." For society to be able to survive without government, all members of society must be willing and able to do what is right. They must always do what is good for the community rather than for themselves and they mustn't be tempted by greed, lust, or hate. If all members of society cannot meet these requirements, then a government is needed to resolve problems that arise. Emerson's philosophy is based on the idea that people are inherently good, and will eventually make each decision based on their good nature. According to him, every person knows in their soul the difference between right and wrong, and wants to do right. However, if one member of society strays from his good nature and acts in a way that is detrimental to the community, all of society can no longer follow the advice of Emerson or Thoreau.

 

A person who lives under a government cannot be self-reliant. A republican government, by nature, takes self-reliance away from its citizens. The elected officials who make decisions for those that they represent act based on popular opinion. Therefore all the people represented by an elected official automatically conform each time the official casts a ballot. Government is the compromise forced upon society by those members who do not make the effort to be self-reliant and do what is
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