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Thoreau’s Walden: Phony Testament of the Greens

Written by Gary North on April 18, 2014

Henry David Thoreau was one of the most successful literary scam artists in American history. Walden was a masterpiece of fraud.

This book has been inflicted on helpless English majors ever since the 1930’s. It is anti-capitalist and pro-green. It has been the supreme literary testament of the greens.

It was fake from day one.

Henry David Thoreau was a practicing capitalist. His family owned a pencil-making business. He worked for it for most of his adult life. He was an American version of Frederick Engels, who converted Karl Marx to socialism in 1843. He bankrolled Marx for the rest of Marx’s life. Engels had the money to do this. He ran the family’s textile mill until he retired a wealthy man.

A year after Engels turned Marx into a Marxist, Thoreau went to live on Walden Pond. He did not own the pond or the land. Walden never says who owned it. Ralph Waldo Emerson owned it. Thoreau briefly had taught Emerson’s children and also the children of Emerson’s brother.

Thoreau built a shack on the land. He lived in it for 26 months. Then he left the land forever. He went home to mama’s, and spent eight years writing Walden. It is an anti-capitalist, anti-commerce, pro-green tract. He hated economic growth. But he profited from it as a capitalist.

While living in “the wild,” he had his mother do his laundry for him. He never married. He lived with her instead.

In other words, the book was a sham from day one. The mythology of Walden Pond is a sham. The mythologists know this, but they refuse to let loose of the myth.

The book had no influence in his lifetime. He died in 1862. It became widely read by intellectuals in the 1930’s, during the Great Depression. It was part of the anti-capitalism worldview of Leftist intellectuals. They recognized a kindred spirit.

The book is a literary disaster. I have spent my adult life writing for a living. I can recognize good writing. He shows occasional flashes of brilliance, but most of the book is either irrelevant or insufferably boring. It is worse than National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

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17 thoughts on “Thoreau’s Walden: Phony Testament of the Greens

  1. Phillip the Bruce says:

    Isn't that the way with 'Progressives'? "Do as I say, not as I do."
    They think they know better than 'we' do what is good for us

  2. justjammin says:

    Phillip. EXACTLY my words. They "think" they know better.

  3. Christopher says:

    …..and when he arrives at Walden the first thing he does, and is quite proud of, cut down the trees!! Isn’t that predictably ironic from one of our first “environmentalists”???

  4. Christopher says:

    …..and when he arrives at Walden the first thing he does, and is quite proud of, cut down the trees!! Isn’t that predictably ironic from one of our first “environmentalists”???

  5. This article caused an exacerbation of my PTSD from my college years. As a new student I was trying to learn how to learn in an entirely new environment having spent three years in the US Army directly out of high school. One of my first classes was an English Lit course prof'd by an instructor about one year my junior. I did a couple of papers and the young lady prof lauded me openly in class for my efforts. Midway through the term we had to read two books; On Waldon Pond by Thoreau and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Hemmingway.

    Long story short. I did my report on Hemmingway and got a A+ and she read my report to the class. Did my report on Thoreau concluding that reading Thoreau was like reading instructions on painting a white wall with white paint and opined that Thoreau sucked. Got a solid "D" minus and barely passed the course.

    What did I learn in that class? In college never p I s s down the back of a college prof, opinions are for fools unless they are a speculum to open and perceive the narrow mind of an elitist academic.

  6. Bravo, Mr. North! Thoreau's hour-long single sentence which describes the activities of a squirrel is mind-numbing. It is also unnecessary, as Thoreau tries to probe the mind of his rodent friend and comes up short, in the world's longest sentence. Squirrels skitter about like that because if they don't something will eat them, it's that simple. No wonder this eight year Thoreau magnum opus was a literary failure during Thoreau's time. It was successful later as the subsequently industrialised country produced its attendant crowds of parasitic utopian dreamers as do all wealthy societies.

  7. allosaur says:

    Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Animals and birds would sing along as Mama's Boy pranced naked around that woody pond singing "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" while tossing up ripped away flower petals and pausing only to hug a tree that would shiver with delight.

  8. Just as today, we live in massive illusions? Apparently they did as well and we all suffer the ignorance of academia ! What a twist of fate or outcome , Hey ?

  9. grayjohn says:

    My high school girl friend was in love with this book. It set off my BS alarm ,though back then (40 years ago), I didn't realize I had a BS alarm. A few years later she informed me that she was bi sexual and moved to Seattle. I didn't know what hipsters were back then either. Anyway, I sense a pattern. Love is blind and stupid. Thanks for the great article.

  10. grayjohn says:

    If they could "think", they wouldn't be progressives.

  11. Now THAT was a mental picture that..I did NOT need. *S*

  12. Today's preachers of the elitist Green religion are like the celibate bishop living in a 3 million dollar palace telling parishioners that they shouldn't spent so much money on drinks and dinner so that they can give to the poor and have more babies..

  13. I suppose if your girlfriend were simply lesbian she'd have moved to Portland! 🙂
    Sorry, couldn't resist, I got a huge laugh from your comment, being familiar with both places. "Moved to Seattle (or Portland)" is almost synonymous with LGBT.

  14. This book is another in the 19th century "noble savage" genre which brainwashed the American public to hate modern existence and long for the simpler, more harmonious life of the primitive.

    It was wrong on two counts: First, the life of the primitive was actually "nasty, brutish, and short", not anything like its proponents claimed; and second, the whole mindset ignores the reality of human existence–that we are not basically good, naturally cooperative, and kindly toward our fellow man.

  15. I am a direct decendant of Emerson . My grandmother told me many things about this complete hypocrit !

  16. chiavarm says:

    Funny, when I read this for American Lit, I was thinking this guy is whacked, and the writing was terrible and incompressible. The Prof. was taken aback when I asked why this guy was considered one of America's great writers. My conclusion was the he was included due to the small number of available writers.

  17. I ALWAYS thought that the Book, "House of the Seven Gables" was a piece of trash with too many characters, and too many stupid little plot twists. I told that to my English Lit Teacher and got an "A" on the book report.
    AT least ONE intelligent teacher in my day.