Never Imitate


My father has always taught me to be my own man. He has used men like Emerson and Thoreau as examples of what I should strive to be like. In this class I have learned a lot about what it means to be both self reliant and group oriented. We have compared and contrasted many readings and discussed, sometimes rather intensely, which method is better for government. I have found that the way I have been raised had a huge impact on my opinion of this issue. Growing up hearing Emerson quotes like, “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him”, from his self reliance essay, have had a strong impact on my outlook of the world. It is my personal opinion that those who rely on others or think that the strongest government is one where uniformity and control is best do not truly tap into their ability to become the most successful person they can be. I know this is single minded and completely my own opinion but this class has helped me realize that this is how I really think. Before this class I can honestly say that I did not know I really even thought this way, mostly because I did not care. However, our class’s lively discussions and thorough dissections of each and every read, literally forced each and every one of us to dig deep and see where we side. After about the tenth time that I sided more on the liberal self reliant side I realized that’s who I was. All that kept echoing in my head during our discussion was my father’s voice saying “Greatness is a property for which no man can receive credit too soon; it must be possessed long before it is acknowledged”. That beautiful quote is another by Emerson in Self Reliance and my grandfather would always tell my dad this quote. My grandpa was in WWll and told my dad this quote after he heard it from a fellow soldier overseas. To both my dad and his dad this quote was the driving force that got them through all the rough times in hopes of the better ones. My father and his father never backed down from anything, they both served and were highly honored members of our countries military. It is their desire to accomplish so much on their own that has made me who I am today. I am just amazed that this class, a political science class, was such a huge aid in helping me see this. I have never taken a class like Jennet’s where every class is a discussion and you are pushed to see where and who you are. I am glad that I have discovered this strong political identity in the roots of Emerson, but I am also glad that it is in the roots of my family as well.


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1 Response to Never Imitate

  1. mbstanton says:

    That was quite an inspiring blog post. I would like to start by thanking your family for its service to this country. It is interesting that you so strongly associate with Emerson’s individualistic personal and political philosophy for much of your life without even knowing it! How do you feel your family’s values influenced your political stance? Also, do you feel that the political attitude of soldiers involved in WWII influenced the individualistic values that your family passed on to you? If so, how? Thank you for your input.

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