Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

20090128-thomas_paine Common Sense was the name of a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine and published in January of 1776, just prior to the American Revolution. Common Sense presented the American colonists with a powerful argument for independence from British rule and was written in a style that common people understood.  The pamphlet became an immediate success; at the time, it was the best selling book in American history.

Though not a signer of the Declaration of Independence or a participant in the Constitutional Convention, Thomas Paine is considered one of our country’s founding fathers for the influence he had on those men.  Paine’s great contribution was in initiating an open public debate about independence, which had previously been rather muted. Due to his influence on the revolutionary generation through the Common Sense pamphlet and other writings, Thomas Paine rightly claims the title of Father of the American Revolution.

Thomas Paine is also the author of these famous lines, read by General George Washington to his inspire his troops:

“These are the times that try men’s souls…Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” –Thomas Paine, The Crisis

Here are some of the Common Sense principles set forth by Thomas Paine:

  • “Small islands not capable of protecting themselves are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.”
  • “Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens…It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot.”
  • “For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have the right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever.”
  • “Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness…Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.”
  • “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 round the globe.”
  • The American colonists “have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth.”
  • “Wherefore, since nothing but blows will do, for God’s sake let us come to a final separation.”

Now, 230 years later, we have another man, inspired by Thomas Paine, who is advocating similar Common Sense principles. It is Glenn Beck in his new book Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government.  Some of the common sense principles that Glenn Beck is advocating are:

  • Reduce the National Debt. The government has spent way too much money over the last decade.  Paying it back will be difficult or impossible and it will create a huge burden on future generations.
  • Reduce the Size of Government. The vast expansion of government has taken away the voice of the people, and has put power instead in the hands of an elite few.
  • Reform the Tax Code. The tax code is way too large and complex. The Internal Revenue Code is more than 10,000 pages in length.  Such convoluted, lengthy legislation invites manipulation and corruption.  Even Obama’s Secretary of Treasury can’t figure out how to pay his taxes.
  • Self-serving Politicians Need to Be Reigned In. Politicians  look out for themselves, their special interests and their re-election first and foremost.  This must change.
  • Eminent Domain Has Gotten Out of Hand. The government should not be allowed to seize your house in order to build a shopping mall.

Says Glenn about the book, “if you believe it’s time to put principles above parties, character above campaign promises, and Common Sense above all — then I ask you to read this book.”  The purpose of the book is “to galvanize Americans to see past government’s easy solutions, two-part monopoly, and illogical methods and take back our great country. ”

The book is non-partisan, though liberals who hate Glenn Beck may not believe it.  But to prove that the principles of the book transcend party lines, please watch the video below.  The book’s principles really are in line with common sense, whether you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal.  Though it is very funny to see the reaction of liberals in the video below when they find out they agree with Fox News commentator Glenn Beck.

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