I am currently reading through Thomas Paine's Common Sense. It is my hope to read the plethora of material written by our Founding Fathers. I am collecting reliable copies that I hope to understand thoroughly.
While traversing the pages of Common Sense I ran across the upcoming quote. To put it into context, the section of the book is discussing whether or not there could have been reconciliation with Britain. The conclusion given was in the negative. It was established that the government of Britain could not properly govern, nor was it in their interest to properly govern. The toll of taxes being taken out of America was more than could be tolerated.
The obviousness of the lack of Justice in the rule of Britain over the Colonies struck at the heart of those who loved Justice. Despite this, not every American wished for self-government. The following is a simple list of the traits of the men who wish for reconciliation. I wish to parallel this list to those who wish to re-form our Republic into something more European;
"Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offense, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions. Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who cannot see; prejudiced men, who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think it better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent, than all the other three." Common Sense Thomas Paine
Interested Men. Not to be trusted. Could these not be people who have learned to suck on the public teet? Could these not be those who have a vested interest in the government spending money in a certain way as to profit that individual or a group they either represent or are a part of?
If we are to move into the future preoccupied with our current wealth, while forgetting the need for a firm foundation for the future, then we are all interested men.
These kind of men could best be illustrated in current trends of business. A certain CEO may take certain steps to make the appearance of profits shoot up at record rates. His pockets and golden parachute get lined. The natural and systemic result of this is the lack of foundation for future solvency.
People are doing this, as I write, to our Republic. Instead of securing the freedom and security of this country, people are wanting to shove money at social problems that ought to find resolution in the virtue and charity and resolve of the people, not the foolish reallocation of wealth from one segment of society to the other.
Weak Men. They cannot see. There are people who think the current path this nation is on is wonderful. The strides being made away from the environment that encourages personal development to one that encourages perversity and sloth and slovenly attitudes are most disturbing. Some lack the fortitude to see not only where we are going, but where we are coming from. They lack the strength and will to endure hard times now in order to set an even firmer foundation for the future. These men have the inability to reason from any foundation.
These men could be illustrated by a man who wants a relationship with a woman who is clearly not good for him. She doesn't pay her bills. She is emotionally unstable. She is gluttonous, prideful, slothful, and selfish at every turn. But he wants love and is willing to sacrifice his own future just to have someone who says they love him.
Prejudiced Men. They will not see. These men have already decided that their knowledge and wisdom and preference ought to dictate the future of the Republic. Though they can reason, they only do so from faulty foundations. The future is forsaken for the now. The desire to offend none has forced them to offend the stability of the future and the past. They have the mind to see Reason, but their heart blinds them to it.
This trait of prejudiced-ness can be seen in demagogues. If someone is finding solace in being an adherent to a class of ideas they can give neither a reason nor a defense for, they have already ceased their struggle for betterment. It can be seen in a wife who is beat daily but find comfort in that her husband loves her enough to beat her. She want more than anything to find her identity and moral code in the marriage that she doesn't care if it kills her. No other foundation or form of rationality can convince her that the relationship is bad because it is all-important to defend that marriage.
Moderate Men. The cause of the most calamity. Seeking to get along at all costs, though their Foundation may be firm, and their Reason consistent, their hearts mirror the Prejudiced Man. They are capable of seeing and even acknowledging the way things should be, but they lack the Virtue to seek out these things.
I am surrounded by moderate men. Honestly, I feel bound to respect the others more than Moderate Men. Peace at any cost is not a philosophy that has served any nation. The fear of offending another person, another group of people, or another nation is noble at its core, but rotten when it overruns other virtues. When moderation takes over Justice and Charity it is the most rotten of options.
Moderate men worship nothing more than their peace with others. They are cowardly and think so little of Truth that their only truth is how they relate to others. They hold onto vapor and claim it as the ultimate paradigm.
Let us neither be weak nor prejudice nor interested nor moderate. Let us be strong in striving for what is best not only for us, but for posterity. Let us be discerning of all proposals and notions by Wisdom and by Reason. Let us not be beholden to inclinations that strip us of Reason and Foundation; neither confusing inclination with Foundation, nor Reason with the burden of emotional preference.
Let us be brave, not willing to steal from the future. Not willing remove the blindfold from Justice. Not willing to remove from our own hearts the determination to be better people seeking a better world, not by tyrannical government but by the challenging of ourselves by Truth through Reason and consistency.
8 years ago