Sunday, August 1, 2010

Common Sense

So, I finally finished reading a book I got months ago, probably at the end of last year. It is Glenn Beck's Common Sense. Inspired by Thomas Paine and his writing, it was a fairly good book, providing some insights I hadn't thought of. I believe though, that I enjoyed the end of the book much better, it being a printing of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. It is rather ironic, though, that Beck put it in there.

You see, all through the book Beck builds up a case against our government. Some of it is very compelling. Yet, in his call to action in the last chapter authored by him, he explicitly states that it is in no means a call for a violent revolution in America. It denounces it as being more harmful than the good it could ever do.

On the other hand, we have Paine, who throughout his writing builds up a case that taking up arms is the only way to create meaningful change for the better, denouncing the idea of reconciliation without remorse. For example, here is a paragraph from Paine's work:

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offenses of Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, Come, we shall be friends again for all this. But examine the passions and feelings of mankind. Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me, whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon your posterity. Your future connection with Britain, whom you can neither love nor honor, will be forced and unnatural , and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than in the first. But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, Hath your house been burnt? Hath you property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then you are not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy of the name of husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the hear of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.
That's some strong language. To be honest, I think that comparing Beck's evaluation of our situation with Paine's of the founders situation, Paine is closer to where we are now than Beck is.

Anyway, I would highly suggest reading Paine's work. I'm considering trying to scrape up the money and time to buy one of the compilations of his writings. You know, it's odd how the very men that liberals call "extremist" commentators (Beck, Hannity, etc) would have been seen as pantywaists by the founders (in my estimation). How far we have come, and I don't mean that in a good way this time.

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