Emerson opens this paragraph by stating:
Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.
He says in the quote "I am ashamed ..." that we are, however, likely to accept the mere outward form of goodness. We tend to "capitulate" or give in to some outward marker of respectability that states a person, cause, or institution is "good."
Emerson says this is shameful, and we must look deeper. Just because someone, for example, is working for an abolitionist cause doesn't mean he is a good person: Emerson states that if the person is bigot, he should be called out for it. He states too:
Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right.
By that, Emerson means...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 413 words.)