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septembre 2018   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Thomas Paine’s Truth-to-Power Message in 1776

At age 37, Thomas Paine carried more baggage than most travelers who had immigrated from England. Even before our nation came into being, he embodied the words of novelist Alfredo Véa: “America is best seen through the eyes of an immigrant.” A trail of debts and bankruptcy nagged him, the legacy of dismissals from government appointments as a tax collector, a failed career as a stay-maker and shopkeeper, and two childless marriages that had unraveled. His first wife died tragically in labor with her first child; his second marriage dissolved into a loveless business arrangement that collapsed, as well. The couple separated, Paine sold off his possessions to avoid debtor’s prison, and then he disappeared into London, haunting the taverns, attending lectures on science and philosophy, and plotting his departure to the New World. There was a genius about Paine, who had been esteemed by fellow excise men and welcomed into the political parlors, that could not find a door of opportunity in England.

Paine had arrived at the Philadelphia docks in 1774 on a stretcher in a virtual coma, having fallen ill from typhoid on the ship from England. A letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin, who had briefly met him in London, ensured his safe passage to a house of recovery. Within a short time, Paine turned his own personal reinvention in the upheaval of the colonies into a reinvention of America’s destiny, as well. After a floundering attempt to tutor children, he found work at a new magazine.

Paine, of course, did not emerge out of a vacuum of rebellion. His adopted home of Philadelphia struggled over its own power shift to an emerging radical faction. In the years after the Stamp Act of 1765, according to historian R. A. Ryerson, as various factions squabbled over tactics, a new resistance movement came of age in Philadelphia. Drawn from a broader assortment of mechanics and laborers, movement leaders felt that “neither the city’s merchants as a body, nor any established elite, nor any branch of the provincial government would go far to defend them.”

More: Common Sense!

101: Thomas Paine was one of the most influential people in history. He is one of my heroes. If my life had turned out the way it should have, I would have written a Broadway hip-hop musical called, "Growing Paines." Note two things, however, Sometimes the idea of, "common sense," can be a reckless, feckless thing, as Trump's sort of populism suggests. Sometimes, for example, what the democratic mob says is, "common sense," might in fact be something anti-science and/or pro-coirporate, as we so often see with the Libertarians. You can even find that common sense, "skepticism," may sit on its laurels like atheism or anarchism, and SNOPE this or that, when in fact, they are SNOPING the truth.

Another thing to point out is that Paine and his gang were crusading against the Monarchy. In fact, monarchy may not be so inherently corrupt, as it may be when it is in bed with large corporations. Indeed, it was more the big trading companies, chartered by the monarchy, serving the monarchy and themselves, that the American revolutionaries were opposing, and rightfully so. Today, corporations are chartered by our so-called democratic States, yet they are given ample leeway, under a false doctrine of, "fiduciary responsibility," to their stockholders and CEO, above the full needs of citizens, customers, and even local or regional governments. Today, predominating corporations ally themselves even beyond the government of the USA, but take the cheapest route, which is the route of globalisation. To a globalised elite, a new kind of monarchy, many coporations are now in bed. Therefore, it is important to recognise where the Paine gang was truly coming from, as it is very relevant to today.
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