make a stir about it


Senior Member
Hi there,

"If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them: all machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer."

The Project Gutenberg eBook of On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

How am I supposed to understand the underlined part? I understand the "machine" as the government in general. Even though machines are evil, they are necessary. So anyway, it is a huge mistake to overreact to its evil side.

Am I right?


  • Barque

    Senior Member
    "Stir" here means "fuss". The writer's saying it'd be a great evil to make a big fuss about it.

    stir (WR dictionary): a state or occasion of general excitement; commotion: [usually singular] What's all the stir?
    < Previous | Next >