Government and Society

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In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote the highly popular Common Sense to lay out why the Colonies should be self governed and independent from the UK. How popular was it? Relative to population it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. I'm interested mostly in Section 1, describing Government and Society.


Issue Lie Truth
Government and Society

Common Sense

The left/media often have this view that paying taxes, Social Justice, and many Social Services are "human rights". You can never have the right to someone else's property or labor. So the left will throw around, "un-American" to those that choose liberty over their view of balancing the Social scales, but their ideas are the ones out of touch with history. Like it or not, the nation was built on the western awakening: that Nations were necessary evils (at best), and they were there to serve the people and protect their liberty (individual, religious, economic), from those that would encroach on it. That was what America was founded on. Telling someone what to do using governmental taxes/laws/regulations to bully them? That's un-American. Telling them fuck off when they try? Now THAT'S American.

Common Sense

Slightly reformatted:

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.

  • 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 is a patron, the last a punisher.
  • 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.

...
And so on.

The point is that we may need to make rules (laws), but they are an encroachment on what is important: individuals free will, to make the right or wrong choices. To speak truth to power, even when that is politically incorrect. It is that taxes and burdens on individuals should have limits -- and in the case of creating the nation it was a tax burden of about 2% that got us to rebel, as it had gone up to pay England's war debts where we had no interest.

Conclusion

The point of that little intro is key to understanding the difference between Socialism and America. To get the underlying idea that inspired America to rebel from England in the first place. We were founded on the idea that the government that governs best, governs least. That we the wester enlightenment that created America was the idea of trying to maximum individual liberty, religious liberty and economic liberty: something that was oppressed under British rule. So when someone tells you trying to reduce taxes, or minimizing government is un-American, I'd remind them that they can want Socialism (the Nanny-State), but that is fundamentally un-American... and absolutely nothing could be more American than the principles it was founded on, as elucidated above.

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