Friday, December 31, 2010

Thomas Paine, Ronald Reagan, and Harvey J. Kaye on Thom Hartmann

 Harvey J. Kaye comments on the effort of the Right to own Thomas Paine and American revolutionary history ... and how Progressives can reclaim them both (Kaye begins at 9:00 minutes into the show ... you can skip to it):

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ron Paul gets it wrong

Ron Paul gets it wrong: gold and silver currency is a chimera -- the wet dream of gold-bugs and crackpots. Public banking/Greenbackism is the solution to the present crisis. The question is who creates money and to whom does the interest return?

Dime-store novelist Ayn Rand's sorry sycophants croak her weary refrain:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thomas Paine -- "A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be."

"A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be.
Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation
in principle is always a vice." Thomas Paine, RIGHTS OF MAN II, 1792.

Harvey J. Kaye and Martha Stewart -- LISTEN UP, PRES. OBAMA !!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Right's Rotten History by Harvey J. Kaye

Thomas Paine v. Dick Morris

 The little tiff in New Rochelle between the Huguenot and Historical Society, who have just decided to initiate a Thomas Paine Award of some sort and the same (in my opinion) dunderheads at the TPNHA who sold off the prize holdings (now in private and anonymous hands) of the Paine Museum. The writer of this article makes a mistake or two, for which he is forgiven. For one thing, John Adams did NOT write (regardless of what the plaque outside the cottage states) that ""Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain." That was penned by Joel Barlow. Paine, moreover, not only believed in government intervention, he advocated, as shown in this blog a 100% tax on income over what would be something like 3.25 million dollars per annum. Nevertheless, for the interest of our readers:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Congressman Ron Paul on airport scanners

 This bears recognition and I personally believe that Tom Paine would approve:

"[W]e have to realize that the real problem is that the American people have been too submissive. We have been too submissive. It has been going on for a long time. ... [T]he bill that I have introduced ... is very simple. It is one paragraph long. It removes the immunity from anybody in the Federal government that does anything that you or I can't do.

If you can't grope another person and if you can't X-ray people and endanger them with possible X-rays, [and] you can't take nude photographs of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail. He would be immediately arrested, if an individual citizen went up and did these things, and yet we just sit there and calmly say, 'oh, they are making us safe.'

And besides, the argument from the executive branch is that when you buy a ticket, you have sacrificed your rights and it is the duty of the government to make us safe. That isn't the case. You never have to sacrifice your rights. The duty of the government is to protect our rights, not to use them and do what they have been doing to us." - -- Ron Paul - (1935-) American physician, US Congressman (R-TX), US Presidential candidate - Source: Congressional Record, Nov. 17, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thomas Paine -- schoolmaster v. priest.

"One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests." Thomas Paine, Worship and Church Bells, 1797.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thomas Paine on property and privelege

"... when property is made a pretense for unequal or exclusive rights,
it weakens the right to hold the property, and provokes indignation
and tumult; for it is unnatural to believe that property can be secure
under the guarantee of a society injured in its rights by the
influence of that property." Thomas Paine - Dissertation on First
Principles of Government,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nature does not bestow virtue - Seneca

Nature does not bestow virtue; to be good is an art.
-- Seneca Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another bogus quote: "It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government."

This quote has long since gone viral, plastered all over the WWW and mistakenly attributed to Thomas Paine. You won't find it in any of Paine's works because he simply never said nor wrote it. The actual quote is (drum roll, please) .....

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Edward Abbey A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis en Deserto) : Notes from a Secret Journal (1990) ISBN 0312064888

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thomas Paine on wealth and economic justice.

"I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable
in consequence of it. But it is impossible to enjoy affluence with the
felicity it is capable of being enjoyed, while so much misery is
mingled in the scene.

The sight of the misery, and the unpleasant sensations it suggests,
which, though they may be suffocated cannot be extinguished, are a
greater drawback upon the felicity of affluence than the proposed ten
per cent upon property is worth.

He that would not give the one to get rid of the other has no charity,
even for himself.

There are, in every country, some magnificent charities established by
individuals. It is, however, but little that any individual can do,
when the whole extent of the misery to be relieved is considered.
He may satisfy his conscience, but not his heart. He may give all that
he has, and that all will relieve but little. It is only by organizing
civilization upon such principles as to act like a system of pulleys,
that the whole weight of misery can be removed."

-Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice, 1797.

Glenn Beck -- recent Beckapalooza

By any credible source, he only mustered about 85,000 + or - to his latest Beckapalooza. That's penny-ante. The concern of people like you and I must be for the demagogue to come who will, if Amerika continues down its present course, head a legion of hatred and fear much greater and more disastrous to Progressives and indeed all honest citizens.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Paine, taxation and redistribution

In reply to a correspondent and friend on:

Thanks for the note, S. The point, it seems
to me, is that here (Rights of Man II) we have
Paine recommending a confiscatory tax above a
certain income level -- £23,000/annum. The currency
calculator that I used indicated that in so-called real
dollars today 2010 that would translate to a bit over 3 million.

1792 is only midpoint in Paine's public career
and he's already moved beyond Adam Smith and
embraced the need for redistribution of wealth
and power. Midpoint in his career. He still has Agrarian Justice
and Dissertation on First Principles of Government
to write -- both of which discuss the dangers of and
potential remedies to the property and capital system-- and
his even later eight Letters to the Citizens of the United
States where he condemned monopoly,
undue corporate influence, usury, military
procurement fraud and the whole host of
predatory pests that plagued the young republic
and plague still its ever thinning shadow.

Paine embraced commerce as a visible representation
of what he called "society" or man's greatest blessing.
But he was no libertarian.

"... when property is made a pretense for unequal or exclusive rights,
it weakens the right to hold the property, and provokes indignation
and tumult; for it is unnatural to believe that property can be secure
under the guarantee of a society injured in its rights by the
influence of that property." Thomas Paine - Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795.

© Kenneth W. Burchell 2010, All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 23, 2010

How Glenn Beck Warped Extreme Liberal Thomas Paine into a Teabagger

Thanks to Vermont T. for the link to this well written and cogent commentary by Hrafnkell Haraldsson:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thomas Paine statue, Lewes, E. Sussex, UK detail

Here's another great detail shot of the new statue of Thomas Paine in Lewes, East Sussex, UK sent in by Thomas Paine friend Micheal Turner and originally found on the great Lewes website at

Monday, July 12, 2010

New statue of Thomas Paine -- Lewes

This just in. Photo compliments of Michael Turner, UK friend of Thomas Paine.

From another friend in the UK, we learn that the sculpture sits on the steps approaching the public library in Lewes, that it cost £39 thousand pounds, being commissioned and paid for by local resident, Janet Mortimer.

See posts below for further information and photos. 

Mummers and dignitaries at the unveiling of the new Lewes statue of Thomas Paine.

Mummers and dignitaries at the unveiling of the new statue of Thomas Paine raised in Lewes, East Sussex, UK on July 5, 2010. From left to right:

Kirrily Long as Elizabeth Ollive
Jennifer Henley as Mrs Ollive
Mike Turner - author of Mummers Play and Mayor of Lewes
Paul Myles as King George III (author of Tom Paine In Lewes)
Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex
Mike Fitzgerald as Samuel Ollive
John Ford as George Lewes Scott
Simon Hellyer as Thomas Paine
Barrie Smith as Henry Verrall

Photo and info courtesy of Michael Turner, UK friend of Thomas Paine. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First photo of the new statue of Thomas Paine in Lewes

The new terracotta statue is visible in the background. In front are Paul Myles (a member of the Thomas Paine Society), who as George the Third was taking part in a humorous mummers play on Paine and the Officers of Excise that was performed as part of the ceremony, Mike Taylor, the Mayor of Lewes, Robert Morrell, secretary of the UK Thomas Paine Society, and Simon Hellyer, who played Paine.The photo was kindly forwarded by Robert Morrell, secretary of the Thomas Paine Society and editor of the Journal of Radical History and the society's other publications.

Monday, July 5, 2010

New statue of Thomas Paine -- Lewes

Here's the link to a BBC article on the unveiling. The
video of sculptor Marcus Cornish and the statue-in-progress
doesn't seem to work well. Will publish a link or photo as
soon as it arrives.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Who are our nation's hero's? Thomas Paine scores high!

In nationwide study of 3000 High School students, Thomas Paine scores right next to Martin Luther King:

Thomas Jefferson was the first choice with 18 percent, followed by Abraham Lincoln at 14 percent, Martin Luther King, Jr. at 10 percent and Thomas Paine with nine percent.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Question: Thomas Paine and income tax

Here's a question that I noted some years back
when first I read this book and it has pestered
my mind ever since. Can anyone answer this?

In Iorwerth Prothero's ARTISANS AND POLITICS
AND HIS TIMES (U. of Louisiana Press, 1979), the
author makes the claim that Thomas Paine wanted
the British taxation system to be "replaced by an
income tax which above £23,000 a year should
be 100%."

Is Prothero correct? Honestly, I don't recall it, if so.
As I recall, Paine proposes a tax of 20 Shillings per
pound for the £23,000 estate and hoped it would
encourage the break-up or sell-off large holdings.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Laurie Anderson does Thomas Paine.

And another warm thanks for the link to frequent contributor
and Paine friend Harvey J. Kaye.

Thomas Paine, folk music, and human rights.

Thanks to historian and Thomas Paine biographer
Harvey J. Kaye for forwarding this very fine article at:

Paine portrait vandalized 2.

Don't miss the latest details. Just click on the link to the right of this post entitled "A Mystery of Two Portraits of Paine" or just click this link

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thomas Paine portrait vandalized.

 An attempt has been made to contact the curators at the museum
in order to determine the nature of the "portrait" (most likely a print)
and details of the incident.

Thomas Paine on vice.

"An association of vices will reduce us more than the sword." Thomas Paine, American Crisis IX, 1780.

Thomas Paine on property rights.

"There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity on any part of it." Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice, 1796.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thomas Paine on pre-emptive war.

"And were America, instead of becoming an example to the Old World of good and moral government and civil manners, or, if they like it better, of gentlemanly conduct toward other nations, to set up the character of ruffian, that of word and blow, and the blow first, and thereby give the example of pulling down the little that civilization has gained upon barbarism, her independence, instead of being an honor and a blessing, would become a curse upon the world and upon herself." Thomas Paine, To the Citizens of the United States VI, 1802-1806.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thomas Paine on war profiteering.

"That persons who are hunting after places, offices and contracts, should be advocates for war, taxes and extravagance, is not to be wondered at; but that so large a portion of the people who had nothing to depend upon but their industry, and no other public prospect but that of paying taxes, and bearing the burden, should be advocates for the same measures, is a thoughtlessness not easily accounted for. " Thomas Paine, To the Citizens of the United States VII, 1802-1806.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thomas Paine on silence and guilt.

"Silence becomes a kind of crime when it operates as a cover
or an encouragement to the guilty." -- Thomas Paine, Pennsylvania Packet, January 23, 1779.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thomas Paine on voting rights and representation.

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected." Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thomas Paine on terror, war and sedition.

"The country, during the time of the former Administration, was kept in continual agitation and alarm; and that no investigation might be made into its conduct, it intrenched itself within a magic circle of terror, and called it a SEDITION LAW.  Violent and mysterious in its measures and arrogant in its manners, it affected to disdain information, and insulted the principles that raised it from obscurity." Thomas Paine, To the Citizens of the United States VI, 1802-1806.

Thomas Paine on poverty.

"Poverty is a thing created by that which is called civilized life. It exists not in the natural state." Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice, 1796.

Thomas Paine on religion and equal rights.

"Every history of creation, and every traditionary account, whether from the lettered or the unlettered world, however they may vary in their opinion on belief of certain particulars, all agree in establishing one point, the unity of mankind; by which I mean that man is all of one degree, and consequently that all men are born equal, and with equal natural rights." Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792.

Thomas Paine on government and religion

"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government has to do therewith." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thomas Paine on Commerce

"Commerce diminishes the spirit, both of patriotism and military defense. Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.

All Thomas Paine all the time.

That's what this blog ...

Thomas Paine Circle, AZ

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review of Thomas Paine -- A Collection of Unknown Writings, ed. Hazel Burgess, London: Palgrave McMillan, 2010.

The full review as originally published in the Journal of Radical History is found on this blog here:

Thomas Paine Exhibit opens in Thetford

A NEW exhibition about Thomas Paine, his life and works, will be launched at the Charles Burrell Museum in Thetford at midday on Saturday, May 15. Link at:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Burchell on mankind

"Man is the animal who thinks he is not an animal." Kenneth W. Burchell.

Thomas Paine on republican virtue.

"When republican virtue fails, slavery ensues." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thomas Paine on Government.

"Governments, so far from being always the cause or means of order, are often the destruction of it." Thomas Paine, Rights of Man II, 1792.

Review of Thomas Paine -- A Collection of Unknown Writings, ed. Hazel Burgess, London: Palgrave McMillan, 2010.

Just posted to this blog, a review of Thomas Paine -- A Collection of Unknown Writings, ed. Hazel Burgess, London: Palgrave McMillan, 2010. Just click on the right on the upper right hand side of this page to read in its entirety.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thomas Paine on morality.

"As for morality, the knowledge of it exists in every man's conscience." Age of Reason II, 1795.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thomas Paine on taxes and war.

“In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.” Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, pt I, 1791.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thomas Paine on Ideas

"Let but a single idea begin and a thousand will soon follow." Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thomas Paine on nature.

"He who takes nature for his guide is not easily beaten out of his argument." Thomas Paine -- Common Sense, 1776.

Glenn Beck -- Avatard

Glenn Beck is the avatard of the Right.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thomas Paine on writing and writers

"Universal empire is the prerogative of a writer. His concerns are with all mankind, and though he cannot command their obedience, he can assign them their duty." Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1777.

Tea-Party, Tea-baggers, tea-pee

Glenn Beck and his tea-bagger brigade continue to invoke Thomas Paine, but Paine would have loathed their hateful, discourteous demeanor, spitting, name-calling and ignorance. Most of Beck's assumptions about Paine are the result of his having never read more perhaps than Common Sense. The fact is that Paine's ideology evolved over time -- he started out a strong Federalist (something the tea-bagging crowd would hate) and ended up a staunch anti-Federalist with a strong social welfare component (see Agrarian Justice). 

Collection of "undiscovered" works by Thomas Paine

A new collection of "unknown" works of Thomas Paine edited by Hazel Burgess turns out to be a dud. Complete book review will publish first in the Journal of Radical History (UK) -- stand by for details and later posting to this blog.

Thomas Paine on Time and Reason.

"Time makes more converts than reason." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thomas Paine on error.

"Error, like guilt, is unwilling to die." T. Paine, To the Opposers of the Bank, 1787.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New statue of Thomas Paine

 A new statue of Thomas Paine is scheduled to be unveiled in Lewes, UK in July of this year:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thomas Paine named the United States?? or coined the phrase??

The claim is frequently made that Thomas Paine
"named" the United States in his pamphlet Crisis 2, entitled

To Lord Howe
January 13, 1777

An alert correspondent to my list and blog -- a gentleman named
Ron Matthews -- noted recently
that the claim seems to be inflated and/or erroneous, easily
disproved by reference to the title of the Declaration of Independence.

The factoid (erroneous or not) seems to trace back to John Remsburg's
THOMAS PAINE - APOSTLE OF LIBERTY, p. 195 (available free online at google
books) and has been carried forward by the now nearly defunct
Thomas Paine National Historical Association and others.

Two questions -- is anyone aware of an earlier appearance of
the claim? Any insights on this? The fact that the colonies were still
states at the time of the Declaration is certainly true, but by the same
token, they were also when Paine wrote his second Crisis. Paine made
reference to a single nation in his Crisis, where the Declaration was
written to represent thirteen individual states? Does this matter? Is
it a mere quibble? Does an inflated Paine claim need to be dismissed?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thomas Paine on compassion

Thomas Paine on compassion

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Correct publication date for COMMON SENSE by Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine's COMMON SENSE was not, as popularly held, published on the 10th of January 1776. Moncure Conway, one of Paine's best and most influential biographers, gave the date as 10 January and most biographical treatments have simply repeated that date. Paine antiquarian scholar Richard Gimbel and others corrected this error many years ago, but old habits die hard.  The best evidence comes from the announcement for its publication in the PENNSYLVANIA EVENING POST 9 January 1776:

"THIS day was published, and is now selling by
Robert Bell, in Third-street (price two shillings) COMMON SENSE
addressed to the INHABITANTS of AMERICA, on the following interesting
I. The origin and design of government in general, with concise Remarks
on the English Constitution.
II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession.
III. Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.
IV. Of the present ability of America, with some miscellaneous reflections.
Man knows no master save creating Heaven,
Or those whom choice and common good ordain.

Perhaps the best work on the publication history of Paine's Common Sense is found in

Gimbel, Richard
Check List of Common Sense With an Account of its Publication
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956

Anniversary of COMMON SENSE

Truth is that the more accurate date is for yesterday, 9 January -- 234 years ago, Thomas Paine published his great work, the work he wished to be most remembered for, Common Sense.

Top Muslim Clerics condemn "terrorism."

 As near as I can tell, not a single N. American news agency carried this story other than the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting System). In my view, this announcement confirms Paine's view that, while he supported no institutional religion of any kind, that the vast majority of people want to do right by their neighbors.