22 Jan 2019

Emerson on Self Reliance


“[D]o not tell me, as a good man did to-day, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. There is a class of persons to whom by all spiritual affinity I am bought and sold; for them I will go to prison, if need be; but your miscellaneous popular charities; the education at college of fools; the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now stand; alms to sots; and the thousandfold Relief Societies; — though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have the manhood to withhold.”

— “Self Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

There was a time when every school child in the United States read Emerson’s essay on Self Reliance.

2 Feedbacks on "Emerson on Self Reliance"

Seattle Sam

As I recall, there were a number of buildings on the Yale campus that referenced Emerson. Probably need to send people out to erase them.

bob sykes

The great majority of blacks live off white charity disguised as tax payments. And were it not for affirmative action, blacks would be invisible in the larger society.


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