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‘We Have It in Our Power to Begin the World Over Again’

Posted on Jun 8, 2009

A monument to Thomas Paine in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Thomas Paine, a man who rallied the American people in the fight for independence from Britain, denounced political corruption and defended “free and rational inquiry” in the face of organized religion. He famously wrote, “The world is my country. All mankind are my brethren. To do good is my religion.”

So who was Thomas Paine? Check out the BBC’s article to get acquainted with the man.


“Possibly the most influential writer in modern human history”—that’s the billing Thomas Paine got from one of his biographers.

Paine was an international bestseller long before the days of Dan Brown or Jackie Collins and is the only Brit to have been quoted in Barack Obama’s inauguration speech earlier this year.

Read More

You can also read “Common Sense,” Paine’s famous revolutionary pamphlet, published in 1776, here.

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By photoshock, June 9, 2009 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Nitko, writes, ‘I think its safe to say that, morally and ethically, organized religion is a failure on a worldwide basis.’
Morality has nothing to do with the failure of the men and women who, purport themselves to be ‘morally upright and straight as an arrow.’ The morals of the so-called, ‘anointed of G-d,’ has become the worst its ever been. Ted Haggard, homosexual and methamphetamine addict, Jimmy Swaggart, philanderer and whoremonger, Jim Bakker, convicted of wire fraud and misuse of funds, near $100,000,000. Are these the type of men and women that you want to model?
I would hope not! Yet countless men and women give their life savings to men and women like these. People who care nothing more than for money and prestige and are deceived into believing that somehow they are going to be blessed by an omnipresent G-d, who in point of fact does not care one whit about money and the effects of money.
But does care that these sheeple, are being deceived and manipulated into believing a lie.
What is necessary is not a national religion, we already have that, The Far Right Wing Nuts of the Republican Party have made sure of that, what is needed is an awakening of the true nature of peoplekind, one which takes into account the nature of mankind and seeks to overcome the base nature of man when he is not taught to think and act on that thinking.
I could go on and on about the ideals of true religion and peace, but suffice it to say, I am not a big believer in the organized religion or a state run religion that dictates to me what I must believe.
Soon this country will face a crisis of monumental proportions, which if faced by the Far Right Wing Nuts, will only cause more and more suffering and devastation, while if faced by those who have been enlightened and are working on their journey, will cause an outbreak of peace and prosperity the likes of which the world has never seen.

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By Lester Shepherd, June 9, 2009 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


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By Mark Wilensky, June 9, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
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I’m a fifth-grade teacher in Colorado, and an crucial part of teaching civics is providing students with our primary sources: the founding documents. This is critical in understanding what “We the People” means. Today, like 230 years ago, those documents instill in students the belief that all voices are important. Every one of our citizens are needed to pursue liberty. Futures do not have to be inevitable and “Little voices” can make dramatic impacts on events. That is Paine’s greatest contribution to our country. His pamphlet, Common Sense, spoke to all the voices in the 13 colonies during a time of great indecision. He gave a vast number of citizens a vision of what each could do, 176 days before the Declaration. A belief that power should radiate from the citizens. That message is still foundational for all our students today.

Mark Wilensky,
author of “The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine: An Interactive Adaptation for All Ages”

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By liecatcher, June 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

We don’t even have the power to fix the dilemma we the people are in now, let alone start from scratch.
There are many obvious reasons why this is true, not the least of which is the iron grip the fascists have on our lives. According to Jeremy Scahill during an interview with Bill Moyers on June 5, there are at least 250,000 mercenaries in Iraq & Afghanistan. That means war has been privatized (for profit).
Perpetual war is a cornerstone of FASCISM, & with an army that size, what they want they get. Just look at the Kennedy assassinations (JFK, RFK, & JFK,JR.) for example. Whether or not you accept the evidence presented by:
Tom Flocco Investigative Journalist who names LBJ, THE BUSH CRIME FAMILY & THE CLINTONS, the facts remain that they were assassinated.
The real deficit when everything is taken in to account may be $100trillion. The interest on that alone keeps us in debtor’s slavery. THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE control the money supply, the food supply, energy, & soon water.
And finally, Obama is WALL STREET.

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By Samson, June 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Celebrate this day by going and reading ‘Common Sense’ by Thomas Paine. It can be found free online at

“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. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. 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 this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him, out of two evils to choose the least.”

or ....

“I draw my idea 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; and with this maxim in view I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England. That it was noble for the dark and slavish times in which it was erected, is granted. When the world was overrun with tyranny the least remove therefrom was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfect, subject to convulsions, and incapable of producing what it seems to promise is easily demonstrated.

Absolute governments, (tho’ the disgrace of human nature) have this advantage with them, they are simple; if the people suffer, they know the head from which their suffering springs; know likewise the remedy; and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. But the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which part the fault lies; some will say in one and some in another, and every political physician will advise a different medicine.”

Gee, that sounds kinda relevant to today, doesn’t it?

Go read the piece.  There’s more great writing in there.  I won’t clog up the thread here by copying any more.  smile

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By samosamo, June 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

We will have better everything when we have vastly fewer people on this planet and that won’t happen anytime too soon.

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By nikto, June 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
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I think it’s safe to say that, morally and ethically, organized religion is a failure on a worldwide basis.

WE need to find a new national spirituality——One that is NOT mass-organized,
that emphasizes ethical behavior without depending on fear of a mythical hell as motivation.

Emerson’s and Thoreau’s Transcendentalism is perhaps the best solution to this problem.

Most people seem to get religious only because they fear death and the unknown and desire a bandaid to cover the fear with.

I suppose we’ll have better religion when we have better people.

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