Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ralph...

May 25 is Ralph Waldo Emerson's birthday.

I read Emerson on a regular basis like some folks watch old movies, again and again. In this political season I found a fine snippet to share with you folks. It is from an essay titled "The fortune of the Republic" and is well worth the time spent to read the whole thing.

For now, here's some Emerson for you:

"In our popular politics you may note that each aspirant who rises above the crowd, however at first making his obedient apprenticeship in party tactics, if he have sagacity, soon learns that it is by no means by obeying the vulgar weathercock of his party, the resentments, the fears and whims of it, that real power is gained, but that he must often face and resist the party, and abide by his resistance, and put them in fear ; that the only title to their permanent respect, and to a larger following, is to see for himself what is the real public interest, and to stand for that ; - that is a principle, and all the cheering and hissing of the crowd must by and by accommodate itself to it. Our times easily afford you very good examples."

The full Essay.

Has there ever been a more descriptive phrase for the evils of lock step partisanship than "The Vulgar Weathercock of his Party"?

Happy birthday, Ralph. America could use you right now.



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