Thursday, March 27, 2008


Back in high school, I wrote a paper on Thomas Paine. I believe the reason I chose him was that his first name is the same as my middle one. As good a reason as any at that point in my life.
I wrote a paper on him, but never read a word of his writing. Thanks to HBO's miniseries on John Adams (guess the title), I went ahead and got some of his (Paine's) stuff from the library. Great stuff.
Common Sense opens like this (this is the second sentence):
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.

In other words: We have society because we don't do well on our own, and we have government because we don't do good in groups.

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