Michael Daum


Thoreau on the primary process
May 18, 2007, 3:34 pm
Filed under: philosophy, politics

The 2008 presidential primary process is quickly ramping up to full swing. And rising along with it are my old feelings of disenchantment with the miserable state of the process, filled with garbage kabuki-style debates, petty swiping, and tales of obscene amounts of cash raised; all accompanied by the usual hand-wringing. So I thought I’d share a particularly apropos quote from Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”:

“I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they come to, shall we not have the advantage of his wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reason to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue.”