Our Wants, Our Wickedness…

Got my teach on today. With one of our teachers absent, I stepped in to teach government to our seniors. This let me dust off one of my all-time favorites pieces on the nature of government, a brief excerpt from Thomas Paine’s classic 1776 call to arms, Common Sense.

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. 

Suffice it to say that this piece truly stands the test of time.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld