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The quote is an interesting one. On one hand, I think that if the idea of "swims against the tides" is something that provides a sense of positive social change, enfranchising more people as it envisions what is into what could be, there is something extremely redemptive present. Thinkers like Thoreau, Gandhi, or Dr. King would fall into this category, as individuals who actively swam against the current in seeking to make life better for more people. I think that these individuals would have to be seen as worthy of admiration because of the sacrifices made not for themselves, but for others to stand on their shoulders. Yet, I think that there can be a pivot into a realm where there could be some danger if an individual who "swims against the tides" is doing so for a reason that does not benefit the general welfare or poses a threat to specific people. Hitler was one who "swam against the tides." In his ascent to power, Hitler was not readily accepted until he subverted the system that enabled him to gain power. I am not entirely comfortable to render a badge of "admiration" to him in this process. I think that this is something that has to be accepted in the quote, namely that point of view and frame of reference both play intensely vital roles in fully understanding the nature of the quote.
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