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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Common Sense

A former student recently recommended a book on Thomas Paine's Common Sense. I realized in reading the book that I had read Common Sense so long ago that I remembered almost nothing. Upon re-reading Paine's work, I was fascinated by his use of the Bible to make his argument against monarchy, the ways in which the Declaration of Independence piggybacked on Paine's arguments, and the verve of some of his prose. Here is one example that could apply to any modern dictator:

There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of a monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly; wherefore the different parts, unnaturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the whole character to be absurd and useless.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on May 31, 2022 at 09:36 PM | Permalink


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