Paine on Government  

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One of my favorite quotes lies in its shortened form in my random quotes, but I came across it today, and you can imagine the impact the full quote had upon me.

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 country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

- Thomas Paine, Common Sense - 1776
In other words, any time you let a government handle a crisis, you will always have been better off having handled it yourself, and if the government does a bad job, you will always be worse off than if you had done the same bad job.

By the way, when Paine refers to "Society", he is referring to people helping each other voluntarily, not the government stealing their money and giving it to others, as the socialists would have you believe.

This quote, also from Common Sense, brings to the fore the whole purpose of the Tea Party movement:
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
And we don't even have to begin the whole world over again ... just the Constitution.

One of the platforms that was used to build the Federalist Party Platform called for a final sunset on all legislation, and then anything that would be needed from there would be re-passed. What a great connection between Paine and the modern conservative movement. He should truly be among our heroes!