Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings (Anglais) Broché – 13 novembre 2008
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His thinking, however, especially that of "Common Sense" (included in this volume), which was massively published in pamphlet form, was very well received by the American colonies seeking an end to English oppression. It can be argued that without the mass publication of "Common Sense" there might not have been a revolution in North America, as without the work of Benjamin Franklin in France that revolution might not have succeeded. It is notable, then, that Paine was opposed by so many of the leaders--many of whom were "in the receipt of a million a year"--and that his thinking has continued to be suppressed or ignored.
But every person, American or otherwise, who believes in his values as mentioned above should be familiar with the clear writing and thinking of this patriot. This volume is an excellent compendium, and it is not difficult to read despite its age. Beware, though--"they" probably don't want you to read it.
The Quaker belief in egalitarianism, in man who does not need priests to mediate and who has the inner light of conscience contribute to his thought.
That he wasn't formerly educated means he can think freely without the crippling weight of tradition behind him. His writings are original and do not cite large bibliographies and think the thoughts of other men after them. ‘I scarcely ever quote; the reason is I always think.'
His analytical treatment of political affairs shows indebtedness to an Enlightenment view of the natural order of the world. It anticipates a Hegelian view of history and Marx's class—war idea.
It is encouraging that he accepts, unlike most socialists, the right to have private property, provided that it has been gained by one's own labour and not inherited.
His acceptance of war as a means to gain justice for the poor but not as a means of dynastic extension anticipates much later thinking; he is strongly influenced by the French and American Revolutions.
Marx is clearly anticipated when Paine regards work as the one thing that the peasant is able to sell as a commodity.
Interestingly, those who oppose Paine are from the same classes as those who vote Tory today — the merchants and manufacturers whose rights are threatened, rind those who believe in a mystical church—state relationship.
Parliament must represent taxpayers and not be hereditary; a man does not inherit ability from his father. Hereditary government is an extension of the Norman Conquest.
Where laws are bad, it is better to obey them and struggle to have them changed than to flagrantly break them.
He reckons than the monarchy will disappear within seven years because the American constitution is abundantly, obviously better. He regards America as an example, as was Athens, of the ideal polis. Sadly we still have a House of Lords and an emasculated but expensive monarchy and America is probably a bad example of democracy in that large interests such as multinational companies manipulate the politics of that country so that it does not represent the interests of ordinary people and its world dominance is a theat to peace and to life itself.
He saw state intervention as something that should be kept to a minimum - men are able to organise their affairs by themselves. In this he anticipates the 'withering away of the state' idea and is opposed to the increasing intervention by the state which has become a feature of both socialism and capitalism. Maybe his view of man, based on Genesis, was too optimistic.
Read his writings and appreciate a true patriot.
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