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Friday, July 24, 2009

Common Sense Rights of Man and others Part II: Common Sense and The American Crisis

This is almost one of America's lost work.  I'm glad to see it's getting a resurgence.  In every history you read about the Revolutionary War this book is mentioned but I don't remember passages being quoted or passages being required reading in any of the history classes I've taken.

I loved reading it because the ideas that we take for granted in America and that permeate our society were once new and fresh and revolutionary.  That men should be free to choose their own executive, that democracy prevents war, that people have a natural propensity and right to form societies and that government actually gets in the way of this natural course of events were fresh and new and somehow dangerous and seductive ideas.

This work was written completely about the American situation at the time.  It gave the case for American to be separate from Great Brittan, it explained why the course was already set and explained why that moment in time was the best time for it to happen.  Looking back at history I was fully convinced that Mr. Paine was right and I'm so grateful that he made his case so well.
Now I'm amazed at what a high level Paine wrote at, this work is a work of populism but Paine certainly didn't  dumb it down like politicians do today.  I like to think that I know a few words, I don't mind using some overpriced words in everyday conversation but I did need to keep a dictionary at hand.  I'm impressed that Paine didn't go with a few cheap easy slogans but laid out a simple case in an intellectual way.  He was not afraid to build up a case for a complex idea slowly and lead the reader by the hand to a complex conclusion.  Along the way he also was able to see things from the viewpoint of someone on the other side and point out why he comes to a different conclusion.  Unfortunately this is a skill that many of our modern leaders either lack or that modern man doesn't respect.

If we had a few more like Mr. Paine around today, or would listen to those that we have, we would have a better world today.

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.