Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quote of the day - society and government

Thomas Paine goes to great lengths in Common Sense to distinguish the difference between "society" and "government".

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a county without a government, our calamities are heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer."
- Thomas Paine


Hempy said...

As usual, you're back to your deceptive practices of quoting only a part. That's called a half-truth, which is the same as a lie. That's some more of your atheistic Ayn Rand philosophy.

Paine continued: "For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others."

To which Alexander Hamilton wrote:"The welfare of the community is the only legitimate end for which money can be raised on the community." (Hamilton's Opinion as to the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States : 1791)

James Madison and Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper 51, "if men were angels there would be no need of government."

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this quote. Paine's "Common Sense" is his penultimate work. Turn to "Age of Reason, The Part One and The Part Two" for his seminal contribution. This work relates to the underlying factors of the issues we ponder today.

Your attention here to the man who made his contribution to freedom through both thought and action is commendable. Again, thanks.

John Little

Anonymous said...

Deceptive practices? Gee wiz Hempy? Quote of the day is not Paragraphs of the day. I see no deception.
Might I ask why Hempy failed to include this missing section below that ties the two "Quotes" together? I should like to call it, a deceptively edited out 1/3 truth, but I won't. I'll simply call it a missing link.

"Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise."

Hempy said...

Paine said that we inflict on ourselves what we suffer. Paine was reflecting on past governments that dressed themselves up with palaces built upon the gardens of others’ “bowers of paradise” to make themselves look good.

Those governments weren’t good since they failed to practiced justice or fairness in economics. Nor were rulers inclined to follow their conscience and regularly obeyed a fair and just system.

Paine, recognizing this, continued: “but that not being the case…”, meaning it doesn’t happen & won’t happen unless the wealthy are made to surrender part of one’s property to protect the rest.

Here are some more “missing links.” In Wealth of Nations Adam Smith wrote:

“What are the different methods in which the whole society may be made to contribute towards defraying the expenses incumbent on the whole society?”

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable, but the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property….” Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison on Private Property