Wow so this took me longer to get to then I would’ve liked but what with work, constantly trying to stay on top of my YT feed and other things I haven’t had the drive or time to get around this until now. Hope you enjoy!
I’d also like to point out that I am reading the 1995 Fall River Press version of Common Sense if you’re looking to read along or just know what I’m citing pages the way I am, thanks!
Chapter 1: On the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution.
Part I: Addressing: On the Origin and Design of Government in General
Right off the back let me say I have a hell of a lot of respect for what Thomas Paine did in his life and what he tried to do. Before I begin my address of some of Paine’s lackluster arguments towards government I don’t want anyone to think I dislike Paine or what he stood for. Back then being what he was (a pretty radical classical liberal) was a huge thing. You were completely in defiance of the prevailing power structures of the monarchy, of the church of a lot of the dominant cultural perceptions of what a just society should look like. Basically, it was Paine and other people who were practically against the world and how it currently looked. Doing what Paine did was not only just an act of heroism but one of a great defiance of the dominant power-relations that were held through violence, deceit, flat out lies, threats of violence and more. So for Paine to write Common Sense itself is worthy of praise for the time he wrote it in.
That being said I do have plenty of critiques right off the back of what Paine is trying to say in this chapter and although this chapter isn’t that long (it’s only 8 pages and only four of them are based on “the origins”) it’s got plenty of stuff for me as an anarchist to object to and at the very least throw into question if not outright try to get people to reject. However it should be of course remembered that I’m more specifically doing this to better my own knowledge and use thereof. If I can’t convince you Paine’s classical liberalism (radical at the time then but not so much anymore I’d posit) then that’s fine. After all Paine’s classical liberalism is a hell of a lot better than what we have now anyways.
To finally begin Paine starts off with something I actually agree with wholeheartedly:
“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickenedess; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other createst distinctions. The first is a patron, the last is a punisher.” (p. 1)
Well…ok, I guess it’s not completely fair I agree with all of this and how far he takes it to a degree but I certainly agree with his main premise: the fact that people have confounded society with government is a common argument made by government-supporters. In fact Murray Rothbard, a famous anarcho-capitalist attempted to refute such an argument here. Albert J. Nock’s idea of social power vs. state power is also discussed there which I think is also worth checking out even if it’s a bit lengthy. So there you have it, I don’t think many (if any at all) anarchists would disagree with Paine’s assertion there. From anarcho-communists to the capitalists I doubt there’d be any disagreement that many thinkers have seen government as society even though they are two different entities.
For example society as Rothbard points out is just the general interrelation of individuals in voluntarily associated groups. Now the anatomy of the state could be considered a bit different or perhaps more complex. Either way I typically refer to the weberian definition of the state as:
“…a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.”
Now there are reasons to disagree with this and perhaps the genealogy of the state would make us agree or disagree more with that definition especially in the modern day where trans-national state, multi-national corporations and talks of “New World Orders” go on. Nonetheless for the purposes of these responses and reflections I will be using the classic Weberian definition unless anyone can show me a better one.
I shall also be using the terms “government” and “state” interchangeably and to mean the same thing as the Weberian definition outlines. It is from these definitions and clarifications that I hope it has become clear why I think Pain’s premise is valid here and why I agree with it.
Now back to the quote itself, while I agree with the main premise that society and government are different I don’t necessarily agree with Paine goes with this valid premise. For example from there Paine suggests,
“Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickenedess; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other createst distinctions. The first is a patron, the last is a punisher.”
Now I think society and government are bother produced by people’s wants. It’s just, for the anarchist, those wants become distorted under government then with normal society-based actions. When you have a group of people coming together to make collective decisions about what is to be done on something this is obviously produced by commonly held wants. While government is typically a small group of people who also have their own wants. But these wants are produced by the desire for power, control and domination over others. Of course, this is more heavily pronounced in Paine’s time via monarchy and feudalism in some aspects still being around as well as of course the existence of the institution of slavery. Nonetheless I’d say government is produced by our wants in the sense of general human wants of control over our lives. But through the organization of government it becomes distorted through how the power relations are inherently going to come out. So Paine is somewhat right and somewhat wrong here.
The second part about affections and vices is also slightly true but ironically Paine commits the same fallacy he accuses many critics of making. He says government is created through our vices but many people and actions are created by our vices that have nothing to do with government. For instance during the BP spill we can see direct action is key to attaining things like rectifying the vices of others. So I certainly don’t think it’s out of the way of possibility at all for society to be able to create things that are non-governmental. If I didn’t believe anything like that I suppose I’d just be a classical liberal or something like Paine is. But I am an anarchist.
Finally, the “patron and punisher” is also incorrect for the reasons I just cited above so I won’t repeat myself further.
All of that right there eliminates my first 3 points I made out of 11 so let’s continue with whether government is a “necessary evil”. Paine writes,
“Society in every state is a blessing, but goverment, 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 a government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.” (p. 1)
Well this is the big one folks. This is probably the biggest part of this post. Why you may ask? Well basically this makes up the entire classical liberal theory of government in one nice quote.
Let’s break it down:
1. The view that government is an evil generally but a necessary one (check)
2. The idea that people can control the government but it can be apt go go astray (check)
3. The necessary “logical” (implicit here) subsequent idea that anarchism or other ideas like it go against human nature or the way of history. (check)
So this is pretty much the classical liberal’s whole theory of society and government. While governments can be bad, they are necessary top keep society together. Or else perhaps we may think that even the best of societies without governments would not match the society with the worst of governments. This isn’t to say Paine would make this argument (I’d even go so far as to give him the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t) but just that the classical liberal could conceivably (and from my experience has if memory serves) make this argument.
But how true are all of these things? Well I’d posit as an anarchist that almost none of this is true. Why almost? Well it’s certainly true that government is an evil but the real question is whether it’s necessary or not. You see, the classical liberal at least in Paine’s case has the intellectual honesty to admit that government is generally an evil but one that must be tolerated. We’ll get into Paine’s reasons of why that is as we continue to go through this section of chapter one. For now however I want to try to rebuke if not flat out convince you to reject Paine’s idea that government is a necessary evil.
First off, how is government an evil to begin with? Government is an evil (that is something that causes much more net harm than health) because of how it begins, how it maintains itself and how it ends. In essence the whole process of government is one of a great evil. To the more general question however, is evil ever tolerable? Why should it be? What evils can you think of that people say are just “necessary”? Sure, things like rape, murder, theft and so on happen in current day society (sadly) all the time but do people say it’s a necessary evil? Do they say that society would be far worse if these things did not exist at all? I don’t believe you’d hear women say if sexism was lessened or made less distinct in society that things would be worse or black people for racism would you? So what gives here for Paine and government? Where’s the disconnect?
For one thing perhaps my analogies are unfair. Obviously government is regarded as an evil by classical liberals like Paine and anarchists such as myself just like racism, sexism, bigotry, rape, theft, murder, etc. are regarded as evils probably by myself and perhaps to some extent Paine as well (Paine did actually speak in favor of women and their rights and against slavery which is briefly mentioned in the introduction of the version of Common Sense I have). Maybe it’s because these things are not as alike as I’d like them to be. After all, rape, theft, sexism, etc. these are all generally more individually based actions that are pretty direct while government is an organization, a community of people.
However, in the end I reject the notion that my analogies are unfair. For one thing, government is by and large questionable even on a basis of how it is special. And furthermore a lot of these things like racism, sexism and more are reinforced by the state/government. Don’t believe me? Check out things like Women vs. The Nation-State by Carol Moore or things like Sheldon Richman’s Libertarianism and Anti-Racism for more info on that.
For me the way the harms of society generally come about is created through unequal power relations between people and if these unequal power relations start being collectivized or institutionalized through things like government how does that make them more tolerable? In actuality it makes it less tolerable then the things that happen on an individual level. How government forms is on the basis of these unequal power relations, through exploitation, theft, violence, threat of violence, use of cultural authoritarianism against weaker individuals who are vulnerable and more. The sociologist Franz Oppenheimer in his great book “The State” spells out a lot of what I just said.
With all of that being said I can’t see how evils in general should be tolerated or done nothing about just because they’ve been institutionalized or monopolized by a certain group. If anything that means more must be done about that group and the individuals who would continue to try to do it even once that institution is gone. I’m sure Paine doesn’t mean to suggest that nothing should be done about evil in general but I don’t see how minimizing government and trying in vain to keep it small is going to somehow keep the evil away. But if government is itself an evil and we’ve determined that what keeps us from abolishing it?
Well that’s where we get into what Paine says next,
“For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest and thus he is induced to do by the same prudence whuch n every other case out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.” (pp.1-2)
Like all of the classical liberal defenses of why anarchism cannot work (or basically just a flat out non-government based society for Paine here) they deeply misunderstand many of the things going on.
For one thing, why does the conscience of every person need to be clear for no government to exist? Are all consciences clear when government does exist? Clearly this was never the case historically, not even in the case of the original government set up by those so hallowed figures referred to collectively as the “founding fathers”. So what gives? Does government somehow make our conscience more clear? At least in this section Paine doesn’t give the reader a reason to think so nor does he offer reasons why it wouldn’t be so if government didn’t exist.
Second, why must they be “uniform and irresistibly obeyed”? What is the point of having a free society if one cannot freely associate and disassociate into different communities with different ideas of what will work best? So long as those ideas don’t in some way infringe on others then what’s the problem? And again, under government are things completely uniform and are they irresistibly obeyed? To be clear, I don’t think Paine would say that they are. Maybe he’d say it’s more likely for them to be but either way he doesn’t make that clear and even if he had, so what? It’s a moot point to talk about the requirements for one type of society to work if even your own ideal society would never meet those ends. It’s pointless to talk about because no one is going to reach that goal to begin with. Furthermore, social cooperation doesn’t need to be uniform or irresistibly obeyed for it to work. There just needs to be open dialogue and free association involved as well as other things as the main basic principles. In short, Paine’s standards are ludicrous for any society to try to live up to, even his own ideal minimally state-controlled society.
Third, as far as “giving up his property” I find it ironic for a few reasons. First it’s widely credited that Benjamin Franklin said that those who give up a little security for a little freedom desire neither. So if this is the basis for a “truly free society” in Paine’s mind I’m not impressed since it doesn’t seem like this society would deserve much if they’re just going to give up liberty for stability. Another ironic thing to me is that Paine should know better about man “giving up” his property to government. Via the history of the state through Oppenheimer, social power vs. state power of Nock and the anatomy of the state by Rothbard we can discern that there’s no historical, political or sociological proof that men has ever willingly given up his property for a government. In fact according to Oppenheimer’s book “The State” largely states began as roaming gangs who settled down and began to demand payments or tributes to protect less strong communities from other gangs. That doesn’t sound like “giving” to me.
Fourth and finally, how is security the final aim of government? I talked about earlier how government maintains itself and that’s largely through the artificial expansion of markets. The “Role of Monopoly Capitalism in the American Empire” as well theories on monopoly capital (both Austrian and Marxist) reveal the basic fact of the subsidy of history and finally the historical development of the iron fist behind the invisible hand. All of these studies into history, social actions vs. state actions, theories on how they play out and more reveal government to be nothing more than a purveyor and giver and creator of privilege and privileged classes that then go on to exploit the ruled.
So as far as I’m concerned I don’t really think government is much of a protector. If war is the health of the state, if taxation is theft or robbery or slavery and this is how the organization of governments/states maintain themselves then how can it be for security? What’s more likely is that government stands for a more specific security namely its own security and power and stolen plunder that largely makes up its wealth. If government is some sort of security it’s no security I want any part of and I would like people of Thomas Paine’s persuasion to realize that it’s not legitimate to impose it on others.
However what if the imposition is irrelevant? What if government is just inevitable? Pain also makes this argument here,
“After Pain describes a process of men starting to collaborate with one another into a group Thus, necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to reach other, but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigrations, which bound them together in a common cause, they will being to relax in their duty and attachment to each other and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.” (pp. 2-3)
So here Paine basically relies on the fallback of all government apologists from my point of view: “Well ok, fine. Government may not be the most morally virtuous thing in the world and it may not be that practical but it’s still inevitable. So either way your talk of so called “practicality” and morality doesn’t have much to do with the world.”
Now of course I don’t find this very convincing and one of the biggest reasons why is because the argument basically sweeps the ground off its own feet in the process of trying to establish itself (or however that metaphor works…). Basically you can’t try to appeal to the validity of government based on the so called historical “fact” that it inevitably develops. In saying that it’s not very moral or practical if at all you thereby give me very little reason to take your analysis seriously. How could you honestly believe that such an inefficient (both in the way it works and the theories that justify it, etc.) could possibly be an inevitable thing in our lives? Wouldn’t it either become apparent as time goes on that such is the case? Or does one just think humans are too stupid to realize it? I’m unsure of what the exact excuse for the existence of government here outside of “might makes history” and that’s not a very compelling case.
Either way I do feel like it’s worth addressing so to continue with a few more points to further discredit these ideas.
Now again it’s weird to see Paine try to claim that as soon as an injustice occurs we need government. He claims that because only heaven is impregnable to vice/folly/etc. humans will naturally make injustices to each other. Leaving aside the theological debate here (as I am an atheist) I don’t understand why people are somehow incapable of working out disputes among themselves. What prevents this from happening? Why can government (who is entirely made up of people itself) be able to do this but people by themselves can’t? I know it’s not because Paine believes some sort of Hobessian view of humanity (at least I’m pretty sure he doesn’t…) so I don’t understand where Paine is coming from there. Nor does he (once again) explain himself so all I have are assumptions strictly based on the introduction, what I’ve read so far of the book and what little I know of him. Obviously that’s not a good foundation to be making assumptions on…but then I shouldn’t be having to do that to begin with should I?
I just flat out don’t understand why Paine thinks people’s duty to one other will lessen and again he doesn’t offer any evidence why he thinks this is or why the “surmounting of troubles” necessarily produces this. So instead of guessing I guess I’ll just move on.
Next I want to consider Paine’s discussion of the development of a governmentally-controlled society. Paine starts off by saying that this group of people will find a tree to make the state-house and that the community at first will be able to deliberate on affairs and regulations governed by “public disteem” (p. 3). And at this parliament everyone will have a “natural right” to a seat (must…resist…debating…the bad terminology…) but then he continues to fortune tell…because honestly humans are good at that…by saying,
“But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitation near, and the public concern few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those who have appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body if they were present.” (p.3)
The first thing that comes to my mind is…why? Why is this necessarily true? Why wouldn’t the community further split off? Why would the people in office necessarily represent the other people’s views? People typically find it hard to truly represent their own views so how likely is it that other people will be able to do this for them? Why would you leave the legislative duties to a small group of people? Either way the myth of representative government and the benefits of direct/participatory democracy demonstrated at #Occupy Wall St. make me unconvinced (again) that Paine is correct here.
Finally Paine details how the representatives and common man (my words not his) will interact and their interests be better known. I of course, question how that works when, again, people often have trouble telling themselves or explaining to others what they want let alone handling themselves. This is no to say people are incapable of doing it themselves or what have you but just to point out the natural difficulties that this sort of government is going to just build on and not remove or hider in any way. He then points out that this mutual and natural support between the electors and elected. But of course having this support natural or mutual has never to my knowledge happened, so where is Paine’s basis for believing in it? He never provides one.
The last questions and topics I had was:
1. Why does justness need to be determined by the government?
2. What is Paine’s definition of government?
3. Paine’s ideas
4/ Concluding Remarks (on Part 1)
(1.) So first off, why does justness need to be determined by the government? This goes back to questioning how government is so special to begin with. Why does it have the so called “right” to do this when other people can’t? Determining a possible answer to this question means looking at the Weberian definition of the state and particularly the “monopoly on force” part. This allows for a government to establish the right to monopolize certain processes. It’s not necessarily that they do it the best or what have you but that it dominates the political space and starts to control what is justness and how it should be dictated. Obviously this isn’t how Paine envisions government but then how Paine envisions government isn’t historically accurate as I’ve already pointed out via the work of Rothbard, Oppenheimer, Nock, Carson and others. Even if I could admit that somehow Paine’s examples have anything to do with reality they certainly don’t at present. The current government almost constantly gets almost no support from anyone and independent groups usually just use the government for their own power-plays for control of society. Government is then once again better seen as a creator of privileged classes at the expense of less privileged people and thereby creating exploitation where there need not be any.
So once again I don’t see how such an organization should have any say over what is “just” or not.
(2.) Paine’s definition of government is rather vague. He seems to claim it is a third or final arbiter, a market of laws over man and seemingly nothing else. Paine’s talk of the origins and development of governments as he sees them doesn’t really detail anything in this first chapter. It seems to suggest people coming together and the group being siphoned off eventually for smaller groups controlling the larger through “regulations” enforced via social pressures and ills if broken, etc. but it’s all rather vague. At no point does Paine give us a solid definition of government even though he is giving a supposed true account of its history and development. Speaking for myself I don’t know what Paine was thinking with this move. It could be that he thought the definition was widely agreed on enough as it was (has it ever?) or perhaps throughout the chapter it’d become clearer what government was or if all else fails perhaps Paine forgot. No matter what the case is once again I am left assuming based on what I’ve read thus far and my knowledge of classical liberalism that Paine simply sees government as a final arbiter and guaranteer of justness in relations.
Now of course I’ve talked about how the second is faulty but what about the first part? Is it possible to have a “final” arbiter? Roderick Long argues (I think) persuasively in “Market Anarchism as a Constitutionalism” that it is not:
“Minarchists sometimes charge market anarchy with lacking “legal finality” or a “final arbiter.” Let’s consider what such “finality” means. This concept could be interpreted either Platonically or realistically.
Platonically, legal finality would mean an absolute guarantee that disputes are settled beyond any possibility whatsoever of being revived. Realistically, legal finality would mean that in practice disputes do fairly reliably get brought to an end. Platonic legal finality is of course impossible. Neither anarchy nor minarchy can provide it; nor can any other conceivable legal system. What person or institution is the final legal arbiter, for example, under the current U.S. system? Is it Congress? no, the supreme court can declare its laws unconstitutional. The supreme court? no, congress can initiate the process of amending the constitution to get around the Supreme Court. The only system that allows for a final arbiter would be a Hobbesian dictatorship, with all power vested in a single person (for even a small ruling council might have internal disputes, and who then would have the final say in resolving them?). but as La boétie (2003) and Hume pointed out centuries ago, no individual ruler (unless she hails from Krypton) possesses in her own right sufficient power to compel obedience from everybody else; hence any dictator’s power depends on the concurrence of those she rules. Thus a final arbiter in the sense after which the minarchist hankers is an illusion, a Platonic ideal – it cannot be realised on this earth.”
With that said, I don’t think Paine’s reasons for believing in government are just and neither is government. In the future when he makes reference to “legitimate forms of government” I shall either ignore it or only make note of it if I really find it worth talking about.
(3.) So what do I think of Paine’s ideas in general? Well I of course adore them a hell of a lot more than most people’s ideas. Paine’s ideas are a lot better than probably anyone’s in the senate, house or what have you by miles bar none, except maybe by Ron Paul (though either way that’s not saying much…). He certainly laid down some of the core tenants of classical liberalism and their ideas of government and society and no matter how pernicious these falsehoods are and how I wish to see them ultimately rejected I do understand where Paine is coming from largely. We all want to feel like we have our lives under control. Like there can be peace, stability, justice, etc. etc. and most people feel like we need a government to do that. I as an anarchist reject this notion because I think all you need is people in voluntarily formed and enforced associations of polycentric law and common law and competing law as well as cooperating law, etc. to have justice. I don’t think you need government as it stands now or how it’s ever stood to acquire anything that classical liberals aim for. But overall I’d say while I don’t agree with Paine and his justifications by and large I get where he’s coming from (I think anyways) and why he’s saying them and (again) respect them insofar as what he advocates is far superior to most systems…if it could actually work out the way he wanted it to.
(4.). Concluding Thoughts on Part I
So this has been a very long post and I’m not sure who would take the time to read this (and kudos if you did!) but I’d like to say that if I can keep putting out pieces something like this for reflections and responses I may be in good shape. That being said however, I do want to focus on most of the rest of the book less on my disagreements with Paine and more on my own observations, related thoughts, maybe some interesting links, etc. I’ll still have some parts where I’ll disagree with him but I think that’s what this part mostly stood as. This part was just the place to basically grieve most of my disagreements with Paine and then read and reflect on the rest of the book in a more non-nonchalant but still active manner that will hopefully entice the reader and improve my own ability to craft posts and ideas, etc. I hope you enjoyed this part and because part II is so short in comparison to this I suppose I can keep it in this post.
Part II: “…With Concise Remarks on the English Constitution”
First off Paine says something I’d like to take the time to sort of agree and bring up some related ideas to:
“I draw my ideas of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz, that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when disordered…”
I do like this principle and the fact that it’s a pretty regular occurrence is, I think, pretty well supported. This reminds me of the KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) principle which Paine is implementing in the context of politics and governance in general. Now if the problem of government being it’s own worst enemy in terms of simplicity wasn’t the case then maybe this’d work. Either way I do think this is a pretty good principle to go along with from time to time. Sometimes during my life I tend to really overthink things myself so I certainly wish I could apply it myself sometimes.
I think the best “concise remark” in this chapter is this,
“There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of monarchy it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgement is required. The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly; wherefore the different parts by unnaturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the whole character to be absurd and useless.”
This is spot on but I’d like to add a few things. First this sort of critique is a general knowledge problem with people like Mises and Hayek talked about via economics and central planners in authoritarianism socialism (though it can be applied to authoritarianism in capitalism as well). Second, this argument can also be applied to corporations and the role of the managers, CEOS, bosses, etc. But in any case this is a general good place and the fact that Paine brings up this quasi-knowledge problem is interesting seeing how Hayek and Mises bring it up many many years later in a more developed form.
Another interesting bit is,
“The prejudice Englishmen, in favor of their own government, by king lords and commons, arisews as much or more from national pride than reason.”
I say this is interesting because governments generally use things like forms of patriotism, nationalism, and other things of that sort to capture the people’s attention so they are more likely to listen to the government. If they don’t they’re liable to be called a “traitor”, perhaps a pejorative term towards a person of another sort of nationality, publicly derided without the law taking into effect and so on. This is especially used during war time where the state gathers up all of the propaganda it can and makes sure the people are put into a patriotic fervor so that any dissidents are either shrugged off, censored, deported or perhaps even killed. All of these things have been done by the US government through it’s history and you don’t have to go far to find it. Look up the “Palmer Raids”, the “war on drugs”, the “war on terror”, the cry of the threat of “national security”, the WWI and WWII propaganda and the list goes on and on. Paine’s mistake is to stop at kings, because it doesn’t stop there and it never has.
I was gonna make some comments on Paine’s thoughts on the checks and balances of the constitution but his one remark on the huge problem of the general composition of monarchy I think suffices. Besides that I doubt many people take monarchy seriously except maybe people like Hans-Herman Hoppe. 😉
Concluding Thoughts on Part II
Obviously there’s a lot less to say here since Paine is basically just digging into the idea of monarchy and revealing how obviously stupid it is. What is interesting to note however is a fact that his critiques of monarchical type power can be easily extended to other power relations. Such examples of big corporations have already been pointed out and of course you can keep going to representative government as well. And though I didn’t talk about it Paine’s critiques of the checks and balances that he doubts will keep the king in line may something also about any sort of government or higher up position as well. But since I haven’t attempted to do much there I suppose I’ll leave that claim at mere speculation and suggestion based on what I’ve already written.
Well that’s it for now! The next chapter will be:
Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession
So expect some more of my own detailed thoughts on monarchy as well as some of Paine’s choice quotes from the chapter and some small mentions of theology here and there.
Until next time, thanks for reading!