Box Burner wrote:Whilst doing research I was reminded that Thomas Paine was an anarchist.
You do remember who Thomas Paine was don't you?
Paine recognized, as did no other writer of his time, the evils of government. Much of his writing is exposure of existing governmental wrong. Paine was perhaps the very earliest apostle of what to-day we call Anarchism.
“Society in every state is a blessing,” he wrote in one of the earliest of his books, “Common Sense,” “but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
Never a believer in government, he wrote, “I am very decided in the opinion that the sum of necessary government is much less than is generally thought, and that we are not yet rid of the habit of excessive government... Excess of government only tends to incite to and create crimes which else had never existed.”
Paine was an ardent believer in civilization and education. Were men but sufficiently civilized, they would have no need for government. “The more perfect civilization is,” he says in his “Rights of Man,” “the less occasion has it for government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs, and govern itself... It is but few general laws that civilized life requires, and those of such common usefulness, that whether they are enforced by the forms of government or not, the effect will be nearly the same.”
“Government ought to be as much open to improvement as anything which appertains to man, instead of which it has been monopolized from age to age by the most ignorant and vicious of the human race.
“When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness; when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government.”
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