Emerson’s Self-Reliance Essay Sample

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In his most revered work Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” In this essay Emerson falls prey to countless ideal fantasies, most notably of which is the illusion that one can exist without society. What Emerson fails to mention is that individuals are molded by society, which means that we are not determined by society, but we are influenced by its product. Furthermore, we need society; man alone in nature cannot survive. For generations humans have built cities, and made technological advancements to protect ourselves against the cruel forces of nature such as weather related storms and plagues. A world without rules or a world without communal living leads to a life of anarchy. When tying a state to anarchy we are also tying every individual within that state to responsibilities and commitments. Anarchy simply means existing without a government, without rules or laws. With anarchy comes freedom, but with freedom come responsibility. What is also true is that not everyone has the power to be self-reliant; not everyone knows how to be dependable. Therefore when we fail to take our responsibilities we end up in a world with destruction. A world without rules, Is a world under chaos.

Take a look at the country Somalia for an example. The time their government, Siad Barre’s Regime, fell in January 1991, Somalia became a country of chaos. Somalia turned violent and hopeless, all for the reason of existing without a government, no government means no laws, and no laws means no moral boundaries. Years of lawlessness and violence has corrupted the country’s economic and social organization, leaving the Somalia extremely weak. The country suffered from extreme cruelty and insecurity due to competition between clans and even wars. Jeffrey Getleman says “Before the war, that might have seemed strange. Somalia used to be a secular place, where women wore skirts and men drank beer.” Nothing was the same for people in Somalia. The era of anarchy has bought danger, war and changed everything. There was no such thing as discipline or justice, human rights were violated. Murders, death, and crime begun to rise tremendously, and there was no one to fight against it. Without a government things starts falling apart, there is no organization, and no one to prevent a country from chaos. Anarchy doesn’t work, it fails. It’s in our nature to work together in a society and be organized, structured and a community.

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