From that inward fixation flowed a social and political vision that is deeply unsettling. It is true that Thoreau was an excellent naturalist and an eloquent and prescient voice for the preservation of wild places. But “Walden” is less a cornerstone work of environmental literature than the original cabin porn: a fantasy about rustic life divorced from the reality of living in the woods, and, especially, a fantasy about escaping the entanglements and responsibilities of living among other people.


Looks like somebody was forced to read Walden as a child... This article is actually pretty good as a case study in taking some out of context quotes from a largely neutral historical figure and making that figure out to be the devil. It'd be a waste of time to go through the whole article and explain why the author misunderstood most of those quotes.

Hell, I don't really agree with Thoreau at all. But I still think it's worth questioning whether society and civilization are actually good for humanity, even if you arrive at the conclusion that for the most part, they are. And I don't like that the article's tone implies that to even question some ideas makes one immoral.

posted by ButterflyEffect: 647 days ago