In his 1841 essay “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood?
Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Emerson presupposes that the mind is initially subject to an unhappy conformism. Throughout the essay he gives a defense for his famous catch-phrase “Trust thyself”. This argument makes three major points: that each person has his own self-contained genius, that society and worldly influences must be resisted in favor of one’s own individuality, and that self-worth has great importance and value.
Emerson understood that forced consistency destroys the individual mind and spirit.
Gerald Russello writes in his column Open season on religious persons? that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent refusal to rule on a religious freedom case demonstrates government’s determination to force conformity.
In Stormans, Inc. v. Weisman, the Supreme Court refused to review a federal court’s decision that upheld a Washington State regulation forbidding pharmacists from refusing to provide contraceptives or abortifacients contrary to their religious belief.
This refusal, in other words, lets the federal appellate court decision stand, which would permit Washington State to force the consciences of pharmacists. The case is potentially a dark precedent because it allows states to discriminate against religious believers, even when the discrimination against them is clear – and even when no one was adversely affected by the assertion of religious conscience.
The next president will be either one who believes in self-reliance or one who believes in foolish consistency. That president will not only change government itself but also appoint, perhaps three, Supreme Court justices, whose judicial temperament will or will not “force conformity.”
There are groups in America that want forced conformity such as: the Democratic Party, the Communist Party of the USA (who has nominated Hillary Clinton for president), Islamic Supremacist organizations, career statesmen of both political parties and one candidate for president.
It is important for Americans to ‘Trust Thyself” rather than trust government. As Ronald Reagan said, “Government is the problem, not the solution.”
In other words always Trust Thyself!