, 2007
| Over 2 Million Served |




Home | Notes
Archives | Search
Links | About

Julia Gorin
The America Show
Episode 4
Jesus and Mordy
Watch Video Now


Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

America Alone
by Mark Steyn


The CRO Store




  Paean to Paine
by Gary M. Galles [author, academic] 1/29/07

January 29 marks the birth of Thomas Paine, who played a central role in the American Revolution.  As John Adams said, "without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain."

Common Sense was the most widely read pamphlet of the American Revolution.   The Crisis’ essays were read by a larger fraction of the population than now watch the Super Bowl, and its  first essay (opening with "These are the times that that try men's souls") was read aloud in every army camp

Gary M. Galles

Mr. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. [go to Galles index]

Paine's writings, in which he established "principles...on which government ought to be erected," inspired Washington to abandon his allegiance to Britain, Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln to end slavery.  But given how far government today deviates from those principles, we might best honor his birthday by remembering them.

…Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices...a punisher.

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best laws.

...governments...pervert the abundance which civilized life produces...It affords to them pretenses for power and revenue, for which there would be neither occasion nor apology, if the circle of civilization were rendered complete.

We still feel the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner…It watches property as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.

When…[government] operates to create and increase wretchedness in any of the parts of society, it is on a wrong system, and reformation is necessary.

When I contemplate the natural dignity of man...I become irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools...

We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free...

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.

In the end we will be the victors. For though at times the flames of liberty may cease to shine, the coal can never expire.

An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot...and it will conquer.

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression…

It is impossible to sit down and think seriously on the affairs of America, but the original principles upon which she resisted, and the glow and ardor which they inspired, will occur...The principles deserve to remembered, and to remember them rightly is repossessing them.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered...Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

I would rather die in attempting to obtain permanent freedom for a handful of people than survive a conquest which would serve only to extend the empire of despotism.

We have it in our power to begin the world over again...men...are to receive their portion of freedom.

Thomas Paine was an emphatic friend of liberty.  His words, which greatly inspired our founding, stand in sharp contrast to the America we now inhabit. Verbal obeisance to freedom is still paid, even quoting Paine's words, but that is often but the boilerplate language to cover assaults on liberties.

That is why we  should celebrate his birthday by recalling the principles Paine helped found America upon and remembering how a few who really believed in them were able to expand liberty's beachhead in the world. After all, today also tries men's souls, and the battle to defend liberty is far from over. CRO

copyright 2007 Gary M. Galles



Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2002-2007 CaliforniaRepublic.org