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.