SPUG: Emerson (was Re: Advice on sub return-code policies?

John Costello cos at indeterminate.net
Thu Oct 5 11:51:31 PDT 2006

On Thu, 5 Oct 2006, Michael R. Wolf wrote:
>   A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
>     -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
> Emerson does not explain the difference between foolish consistency and wise
> consistency.  Nor could we.  That's the balance between art and science that
> we balance every day in our code.
> Many folks have never heard the "A foolish" part of this quote, so they
> consider all consistency to be evil.

But he did give a hint to his meaning in the full sentence.  The part 
above is only the first clause; the second clause often is dropped.

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,
    adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

My interpretation is that he was arguing against close-mindedness and 

More information about the spug-list mailing list