Thursday, March 2, 2017

Paul Craig and Lewis Lapham on Paine and plain speaking

A recent Paine reference:

Seldom in history have the people had a voice. Those who try to give people a voice are portrayed negatively by the ruling elites. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is the founding document of the American Revolution. His book, Rights of Man, sold 500,000 copies, making it the best-selling book of the 18th century. In Britain his reward was to be charged with sedition by the government and declared an outlaw. In the US, Federalist newspapers in Boston portrayed him as a drunkard and infidel. There is no monument to him in Washington, D.C. As Lewis Lapham has written, “Paine’s plain and forthright speaking is out of tune with our own contemporary political discourse, which for the most part is the gift for saying nothing.” Or for flumuxing you with false news.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Origin and Rise of Government

"Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. Freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and reason will say, 'tis right."
Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Thomas Paine: The Most Valuable Englishman Ever

I still believe this is the best movie yet produced on Thomas Paine:

Tom Paine: the worker who helped make a revolution

It should be added that it was NOT John Adams who wrote that the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain but for the pen of Tom Paine. That was Joel Barlow. Otherwise a good, timely and overall accurate essay.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Two "F"s: Fanaticism and Feudalism.

The world is once again in a great struggle with feudalism and fanaticism. This is not a war on "terror." All the parties involved use terror and terrorist practices. Nor is the world in a struggle against Islam or any of the world's great religions -- no matter how transgressive and open to criticism they may be. Christians practice terror in the name of their religion just as all the world's "great" religions do. And a great many more Christians, Muslim, Jews, Hindu and Buddhists live peaceful, benevolent and pro-social lives in the name of their religion. The problem isn't in the religions. Our enemies are the fanatics among them all and any who advocate or practice a feudal system.
The world is in a struggle against feudalism and fanaticism.

© Kenneth W. Burchell - 2015 - All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Science, the partisan of no country ..." Thomas Paine.

"Letters, the tongue of the world, have in some measure brought all mankind acquainted, and by an extension of their uses are everyday  promoting new friendship. Through them, distant nations become capable of conversation, and losing by degrees the awkwardness of strangers, and the moroseness of suspicion, they learn to know and understand each other. Science, the partisan of no country, but  the beneficent patroness of all, has liberally opened a temple where all may meet. Her influence on the mind, like the sun on the chilled earth, has long been preparing it for higher cultivation and further improvement. The philosopher in one country sees not an enemy in the philosopher of another; he takes his seat in the temple of science, and asks not who sits beside him ..."

Thomas Paine
Letter to the Abbé Raynal

One wishes that Mort Zuckerman and Benjamin Netanyahu would take Paine's words to heart.