A Word (or two) from Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine- do they teach him in school anymore? Probably not. {sigh} Too bad- much of what he penned back in Revolutionary times is good advice for today.  I posted from Paine’s Common Sense back during the primaries and will post a little more today.


SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.


Absolute governments (though the disgrace of human nature) have this advantage with them, that they are simple; if the people suffer, they know the head from which their suffering springs, know likewise the remedy, and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. But the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which part the fault lies, some will say in one and some in another, and every political physician will advise a different medicine.

I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing prejudices, yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the English constitution, we shall find them to be the base remains of two ancient tyrannies, compounded with some new republican materials.

First.- The remains of monarchical tyranny in the person of the king. Secondly.- The remains of aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the peers. Thirdly.- The new republican materials, in the persons of the commons, on whose virtue depends the freedom of England.

(All bolding is mine.)

Now go back and read it again and substitute America for England, Obama for King and Congress for peers.  We have today a situation very much resembling what Paine is describing here. There is a problem in this country and every “political physician” (read talking head, political adviser, Senator, Congressman, President etc) has a different cure. And they all want to blame the “other side.”

I should note that Paine goes on in his discourse to point out that both King and Peers were hereditary positions. Not so here in the States at least as far as the Presidency goes. The Congress is not supposed to be hereditary- but think back to a few months ago when there was the uproar over “The Kennedy’s seat.” And think also on this- as pointed out at by Uppity Woman yesterday in the comments section of one of her posts- we need term limits! (Sorry UW I could not find the exact comment- you are so popular and there are so many nuggets of wisdom maybe you can provide the average age of the dinosaurs in Congress.) Many of the Senators and Congress people might as well have hereditary seats they have been there so long!

A little common sense people!


9 Responses

  1. I will be doing a post this week on the ages of the dinosaurs in Congress. These people serve half-dead. I sometimes think Strom WAS dead and they propped him up and put his finger on the vote button.

    There has to be something wrong with a country that allows people who are wearing diapers to make laws.

  2. We’re sinking further and further from a true Democracy and the only one’s we have to blame are those who are too lazy to vote or too lazy to rfesearch the person they are voting for.

    When Obama was running, those who chose to support him refused to hear anything negative about his past record. They held their hands over their ears and screamed “racist!” to anyone who tried to tell them differently.

    It’s not any different than those who supported Bush, IMO. They only wanted to get their news from Fox and ignore anything negative about Bush or Cheney.

    And, as far as Thomas Paine being discussed in history classes these days? I doubt it because unless he is going to be covered on a Standardized test question…he will be ignored by teachers who are forced to teach to the test because if they don’t, they will be fired.

    • My heart breaks when I see how low our country is sliding- We are truly blessed in this country- even the poorest of the poor here have so much more than many on this planet.
      We are in big trouble when the people give over their responsibilities to elected officials and just keep sending them back over and over again no matter how corrupt they become.
      Like Uppity says- term limits!
      If the Cardinals can not vote in enclave past the age of 80- why do we let old codgers continue making (poor) decisions for us?

  3. “…he will be ignored by teachers who are forced to teach to the test because if they don’t, they will be fired.”

    Boy, if that isn’t the truth. I think that one of the biggest failures this country has to overcome is No Child Left Behind on a test strategy. It has failed miserably.

    • I think it all started long before No Chold Left Behind- though that is going to be the death of learning in this country.
      It started when we no longer required teachers to actually have a degree in a real subject! It’s all psychology of the (fill in the blank) child, curriculum management, classroom management, how to use the lesson planner etc etc. What the hell ever happened to teachers writing their OWN lesson plan? And how are you supposed to teach English if you haven’t taken anything other than English 101?
      I was having this argument this summer with my sister who is a teacher- and she told me ANYBODY can teach -it’s all in the lesson planner! And these come from where? Form WHO?
      I lvoe her, God Bless her- she is older than me so came up through the rigorous education those of our genertion enjoyed. We both went back to school after raising our kids- and let me tell you- with my B.S. I have more English, Science, History and Math. That is just wrong folks- WRONG! Especially with the lack of basic knowledge kids coming out of high school have now!

      • With a Masters degree in NYS, I am qualified to be a substitute teacher. If I got a 4 year education degree, I could become a fully qualified teacher, having no depth in the subject I was assigned to teach in. So this state is overeducated, overtaxed and heavily in debt.

        • Exactly! Call me old fashioned but I want teachers who know the subjects! And I want kids to sit down, put away all their electronics, pay attention and LEARN!

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