Henry David Thoreau for President? (Being dead notwithstanding)

Thoreau was a smart guy (with, admittedly, odd facial hair). Here are his thoughts on household finances, and they might be worth considering for the U.S. national finances as well – just think nation instead of house

When I consider how our houses are built and paid for, or not paid for, and their internal economy managed and sustained, I wonder that the floor does not give way under the visitor while he is admiring the gewgaws upon the mantelpiece, and let him through into the cellar, to some solid and honest though earthy foundation…  The first question which I am tempted to put to the proprietor of such great impropriety is, Who bolsters you? Are you one of the ninety-seven who fail, or the three who succeed? Answer me these questions, and then perhaps I may look at your bawbles and find them ornamental. The cart before the horse is neither beautiful nor useful. Before we can adorn our houses with beautiful objects the walls must be stripped, and our lives must be stripped, and beautiful housekeeping and beautiful living be laid for a foundation…

This quote also is in my book, Build Your Castles in the Air: Thoreau’s Inspiring Advice for Success in Business (and Life) in the 21st Century, in which I apply excerpts from Thoreau’s Walden to modern life, with modern commentary. It is astounding how much of what he wrote makes solid sense today. Especially now.

 


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