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.

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