In 1776 Thomas Paine published Common Sense
It served as an inflammatory indictment of English control of the Americas and incited revolution. Like all common sense the value of his thoughts do not seem to have faded in the modern world. Many different groups can read many different things into these short selected paragraphs but at the end if it makes us think of where we are and where we are going then the value is not in the content but the understanding of ourselves.
Some thoughts from Common Sense by Thomas Paine
From the Preface
The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling, of which class, regardless of party. censure is.
From the opening paragraph
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages are no yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom…. Time makes more converts than reason.
From the middle:
As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question( and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry)
Some writers have 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. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.
To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason forbids us to have faith, and our affections wounded through a thousand pores instruct us to detest is madness and folly . Every day wears out the little remains of kindred between us and them; and can there be any reason to hope, that as the relationship expires, the affection will increase or that we shall agree better when we have ten times more and greater concerns to quarrel over than ever.
From the last paragraph
O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted around the globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger and England hath given warning to depart