It was based on the premise that human nature itself dictated how government should work. His idea was that a single man that ruled others, would always put his own desires above the needs (wants) of those he ruled. And therefore would be despised by the governed.
He therefore suggested that it was natural that men who had, common *wants, were far better at determining how they should govern themselves than a King and suggested that when a small group of like-minded men gathered they could determine what rules were needed to keep order.
*It is important to understand that, the word "wants" as used by Paine meant: to have need of: or something that was "required" as opposed to something that was extra or simply a whim or desire.
The heart of his vision is best understood by reading an excerpt in his own words. The emphasis is mine:
This blog was inspired by Thomas Paine and this statement in his pamphlet "Common Sense" and the growing discontent with our current elected officials.
In my opinion the pervading influence of special interests has corrupted the atmosphere in Washington and the officials we elected who have broken faith and subverted that ideal. They have become petty, little kings who are more concerned with their own desire for power and riches than representing our wants. They live in a world unrelated to the lives of ordinary citizens.
And, sadly many of our citizens languish in hopelessness and despair as we see our beloved country in distress and there is a great apathy among us born of frustration towards our form of government. I say that it is not the form of government, but the officials we have elected to represent us, that have led us to our current despair.
We have let some elected officials stay far too long and they are now entrenched. How for example can an elected official who is a millionaire, and who lives in a style of the privileged, have anything in common with the worker who has been laid off by a plant closing and is behind on his mortgage?
Paine called it making a rod for themselves. In his day a rod was a scepter welded by the king to show his imperial authority; also: a wand or staff carried as a badge of office that set someone above another. Paine was trying to tell us let's not trade one tyrant for many tyrants who will lay claim to special privilege by way an imperial authority which their election did not intend.
I, for one say enough, it is within the power of every citizen to remedy the current problem with their vote. I suggest we set term limits for our elected officials, which, if they will not willing set for themselves, we set for them with our votes. Please vote for anyone that is not running as an incumbent.
Common sense dictates that when flesh is corrupt, you cut it out before the infection spreads and the entire body is lost.
I am not saying all the incumbents are corrupt. But when a surgeon operates he must weigh how much flesh to remove and would rather error on the side of more, rather than less, when the life of the patient is at stake.
I believe the very survival of this democracy depends on what we do in the next few elections. We are at a tipping point in our nations history. The situation is that dire, and the surgery we need perform that extreme.
We have the means to preform the surgery. Its called the vote. One man or woman, one vote, it is not one of the rights most often sited by special interest groups or the most glamourous. But, it is the single most important of all of our individual rights. It provides us the opportunity to determine how we are represented and who represents us. It gives us the power to overthrow a government (elected officials) and mount a bloodless revolution. Just for the record, that, for the more radical, is not an invitation to open armed revolt.
It's time we end the petty bickering the elected and powerful special interests use to divide us, and again refocus on our common "wants". Decent wages, education, health care, the end to bad trade agreements that have devastated our economy, bridges that don't collapse instead of building bridges to nowhere and not, i.e. whether someone is gay, which is nobody's business and certainly not any of the governments business. And yes, you can burn the flag, because, it's protected under the first amendment, which a lot of brave men died defending, no matter how anyone else feels about it. I for one, revere the flag and would never desecrate it and what it represents. But, you may feel differently. So go ahead, and light it up. Its not the flag, its the right to burn it that's important. Men don't die for flags they die for what the flag represents. Freedom.
They die not so the government can tell us that this is a Christian nation and we should have religious displays in our public spaces, but, so the government can't tell us how to worship, or we have to worship in a certain way as some would have you believe. The exact opposite is the true in almost all of these false issues that they bombard us with on a constant basis. I am a Catholic by birth, and temperament, but I don't want a crucifix in every public space. Nor do I want the government as the arbiter of my death, like they tried to do with Terri Schiavo. Its not their job and none of their @#*%$(<>) business!!!! Period.
The powerful employ legions of think tanks to conceive of and promote such ideas. Like a magician who employs distraction to keep us from seeing what is really going on right in front of our eyes. They use issues like that to distract us while they and their cronies line their pockets and rob us like the monarchs of old, of who, we fought so hard to rid ourselves. We have traded taxation without representation for something far worse, I fear. Far worse than the pork barrel issues is the fat checks private multinationals write themselves through tax loop holes that allow them to pay virtually no taxes simply by maintaining an address on an off shore island that has no taxation. That is what deregulation has led to by the way, brought to you by your favorite multinational. They write themselves no bid contracts that would make a robber baron flush with jealousy. And invite the oil companies to write our energy policies. Its not a conspiracy! Its not a conspiracy! Its not a conspiracy! Its not a conspiracy! Paper bag! Breath!
I said in a previous post something that I think bears repeating. "If we want to remain the land of the free, that we vote every time there is an election and never for the incumbent. Because, politicians are like ticks, they'll suck your blood and they're damn hard to remove when they've been in there too long. So, vote them all out, every time you vote, until they get the message. Its our country, let's take it back!
The American revolution is now a bloodless event but it continues with every election. It is the only way we have to change things we don't like, by making those we elect listen to us. Make sure you make your voice heard or stop bitching about it. Get off your butt and vote.
In Herbert George Wells, "War of the Worlds", it wasn't some powerful omnipotent force that brought down the alien machines, it was the lowly germ. My point is; it's your dull, boring and often neglected vote that can bring down the caretakers of the current administration, that's what its designed to do. It is that powerful.
Question: Are you going to vote? If not, are you prepared for the end of freedom as we know it? That's what's at stake.
If you are going to vote, are you prepared for the consequences of voting to maintain the status quo and the stalemate in our nation's capitol?