Thursday, July 14, 2016

199 years of Henry David Thoreau

 July 12, 2016 was Henry David Thoreau's 199th birthday. The corruptible part of Henry has long since gone back to the dust from which it came. Thoreau died at the young age of forty-four years from tuberculosis. However, his was a busy and productive life.

Thoreau was a man who knew his way around a one-room cabin in the woods, which was his preference. He told the world to "Simplify! Simplify!" His writings on non-violent civil disobedience influenced many, including Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote in his autobiography:
"I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice."

Some consider Thoreau to have been an anarchist. Thoreau's book Resistance to Civil Government, or Civil Disobedience (1849) seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government. "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government" The ambiguity of Thoreau's writing style left the door open for different interpretations of what he thought, as an invitation to the reader to question ingrained assumptions. As with any good writer, the more the reader puts into the pot, the more she gets out of it.

'That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

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