To counter the freezing rains we have been receiving as of late, I find myself in the midst of a very enjoyable week as Guest Teacher in our Senior Government Class at Bath. I taught history and government for about 20 years, beginning in the mid-’70s on through the late 90’s. (FWIW, I double-majored in Government and U.S. History in college.) This week has reminded me of how much fun it is to explore and ponder this stuff.
Among other things, we spent a fair amount of time discussing and writing about one of my all-time favorite pieces on the nature of government. Written by Thomas Paine in 1776 — less than 6 months prior to the Declaration of Independence — it’s short, rich, and timeless. See for yourself:
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (Philadelphia – February, 1776)
“Of the Origin and Design of Government in General”
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.
Love this stuff!
Onward, Malcolm Gauld