Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Common Sense" by Thomas Paine

A post I wrote in my Modern Mothers Group

Kerry and I have decided that we would like to study something together. We decided that we wanted to study "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. We found an online subscription where we can receive this in parts in our email three times a week. We would love it if anyone else in here wanted to read it with us. Here is the link.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."

I loved this statement. Our society is truly like this. Many things that are "standard" for society are assumed to be correct or right. Kerry's favorite statement right now has been "question everything". I think that there are many things in our lives that need to be questioned. Kerry was telling me that she wanted to teach her children to be self thinkers, so that they can see through standard lies. After discussing this we decided that one of the best ways to raise a self thinker is to read classics. Thus we are starting by reading Common Sense.

"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. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher."

Thomas Pain explains that humans naturally like to live together in community. "In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same." I believe this is true. We humans crave community and interaction with other humans. Thus, we now have online communities like this one to bring like minded people together.

For a little while community can prosper without laws. But eventually "they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue." Thus laws are a necessary check and balance to keep society for regressing.

I enjoyed reading this such common sense, and hope some of you will join us in reading and discussing this.

Tell me what you think.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ~ Aldo Leopold

Follow the discussion here.
and here

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