Monday, March 19, 2012

Independent Thinking, Helped

I would still say, despite my reverence for Emerson, that one can learn a good deal from writers like Paul Krugman and Don Boudreaux, even if you can anticipate their arguments.  They can help you become a more independent thinker.

If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument.  I hear a preacher announce for his text and topic the expediency of one of the institutions of his church.  Do I not know beforehand that not possibly can he say a new and spontaneous word?  Do I not know that, with all this ostentation of examining the grounds of the institution, he will do no such thing?  Do I not know that he is pledged to himself not to look but at one side—the permitted side—not as a man, but as a parish minister?  He is a retained attorney, and these airs of the bench are the emptiest affectation.  Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinions.  This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars.  Their every truth is not quite true.  Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four…
— Ralph Waldo Emerson in Self-Reliance

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