Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Common sense: it's what they asked for

Cross posted to Freedom Democrats

Glen Greenwald complains about how Glen Beck is presenting himself as a modern day Thomas Paine, by writing his own pamphlet called "Common Sense". I'm not sure exactly what Beck is getting at in the book, but I have no respect for his intellect (though his rants are quite amusing) so I won't be reading it. However, I doubt that Beck and his audience are really ready to hold up Thomas Paine as their mascot.

If you want to read some brilliant writing that contains innovative and profound thoughts (penned by a brave man), check out Pain's writing:

  1. Common Sense: A masterpiece of radical political propaganda. Paine took an idea that had previously seemed like common sense (allegiance to the monarchy) and presented it as pure madness.
  2. Agrarian Justice: An argument for the citizen's dividend funded by a land tax. As a matter of practicality, Paine suggested a lump sum payment to all young adults and regular payments to the elderly, all funded by an inheritance tax (which would effectively be a land tax, since he lived in an agrarian society).
  3. The Age of Reason: A critical examination of Christianity.
  4. Rights of Man: Defending the French Revolution against Burkean criticism.
To top off Paine's anti-conservative credentials, he typically presented elected government as the incarnation of the people's will, and would probably be baffled by the application of "Common Sense" to such a government (but maybe not if he had seen how the American experiment has turned out).

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