Intrusive irrelevance of the State …

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life…

It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable experience, to be lost in the woods…

One afternoon, near the end of the first summer, when I went to the village … I was seized and put into jail, because … I did not pay a tax to, or recognize the authority of the State which buys and sells men, women, and children, like cattle, at the door of its senate-house.

I had gone down to the woods for other purposes.  But wherever a man goes, men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society.

It is true, I might have resisted forcibly with more or less effect, might have run “amok” against society; but I preferred that society should run “amok” against me, it being the desperate party.

I was never molested by any person but those who represented the State.




Henry David Thoreau


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