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Judging from our current relative prosperity, it might be difficult for some to imagine that during the period of the Revolutionary War, there were many people who disagreed with becoming an independent country. There were some who believed that America’s connection with Britain would be instrumental in securing the country’s happiness. Yes, America did reap some benefit from the relationship, but I certainly do not have to provide much evidence to assert that the benefits received from Britain were nothing that America couldn’t supply on Her own. Add to this the many offences of King George, and the only motivation to be found for the nay-sayers is fear.

People were rightly concerned about upsetting the world superpower, but praise God that there were men courageous enough to stand up to the European bully. Praise God for Thomas Paine who awoke a fearful continent of men from a sleep of cowardice. Rather than paraphrase and water down poignancy, I would like to furnish some of Paine’s exact words on the subject of those who didn’t support separation:

“We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty.”

“This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster.”

“… All those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation [are] interested men who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three.”

I have a personal appreciation for brute honesty when it is necessary. I have a similar appreciation for observations made generations ago that still hold true today; this reinforces the reality that human nature does not change. The last of those three quotes really hits home for some of my observations on the pre-Tea-Party GOP. In particular, that well-received ‘reaching across the aisle’ behavior exhibited by the Republicans in the past 30 or so years has greatly weakened the credibility of the Republican Party, and weakened the country as a result. The Democrats were able to slowly work in their policies inch-by-inch, completely undetected by the average citizen.

Somehow, being described as ‘moderate’ became a good thing. Admittedly, this isn’t always bad, but when charged with securing individual liberty, it’s best to be uncompromising. I’d make a wager that any erosion of freedom eventually results in an overwhelming loss unless fought. For an example of this phenomenon, please see the 16th amendment in your copy of the U.S. Constitution (keep in mind that the income tax imposed by the amendment began at 1% with an individual income of the 2008 equivalent of $64,000).

In the 1994 Congressional campaign, the GOP developed a contract with America, promising to return to conservative ideals. 16 years later, after being plagued by many of the same problems, the Republicans of the 112th Congress wrote a similar pledge to America in 2010 to center themselves on their ideals once more. So far, I think the Republicans of the 112th Congress have been doing very well. They are showing that they are making good on their promises to cut spending by introducing weekly bills to slowly starve the federal beast.

In wake of the budget crisis temporarily resolved just last night, I earnestly would have looked forward to a temporary government shutdown. I think it would have served as a fine example that the sky would not fall on America, and perhaps that the country isn’t nearly as helpless and dependent as many people perceive. Regardless, the Republicans made some head-way in resolving the budget problem. Although there was more than a bit of compromise involved and they ended up with about half of the cuts they wanted, it certainly seems like a step in the right direction. I believe there are two states of mind in compromise, one in which you get trampled, and one in which you fight. I’m fighting my cynical nature and will call the budget compromise a gain since the Republicans do appear to be fighting.

I also believe there are three end results to compromise: a negative compromise in which one party ends up with an overall loss, a positive compromise in which there is an overall gain, and an ugly middle ground, where both parties appear to be very busy, and both parties wind up with mediocre results. Giving in to my cynicism a bit, I think that last result appears as if it could go on forever.

I’m elated that there are some in Congress who agree. To quote Georgia Republican Representative Tom Price, “With an agreement to keep the government open and then fully fund government for the remainder of the fiscal year, we will now hopefully be able to move beyond this current debate. We need to move forward and get to work on the much larger debate over how to cut trillions, not billions, in government spending and help make our economy more competitive.”

It clearly does not take long for a body of people to return to the same compromising, destructive behavior, and there is unimaginable difficulty on the road to returning to the uncompromising ideals of the foundations of this country. This is what power wielded without accountability leads to; Paine warned of this. Let us pray that the Tea Party remains strong to keep our representatives in check. In earnest, I wish it weren’t necessary to have an organization such as the Tea Party at all. Truth be told, if not for the decline in Judeo-Christian ideals in the past few generations, I believe the act of holding public officials’ feet to the fire would be left to a much larger group of interested individuals: every one!

I must admit, our current situation is not Congress’s fault. We the people compromised on our principles and political involvement long before we could begin to blame Congress.

Could it be true that the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) concept was conceived in 1776? Perhaps earlier?

Mr. Thomas Paine certainly made no compromise when explaining the woes of complex government. He writes, “I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature… that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered.” He continues to remark on the ineffective English Constitution. When it was instituted, it was a step in the right direction for human rights, but at the time of Paine’s writing it was incapable of delivering its promises.

I decided to read the English Constitution that Paine refers to myself, but I was unable to find a single, exhaustive document. What I found was that the operative documents of the UK, England, and Scotland are referred to as ‘unwritten constitutions’. Also described as ‘partly unwritten, wholly uncodified’. To this day, England’s (and the UK’s) constitution is based on largely unwritten rules which serve as the shaky foundation for various treaties and acts which bind the United Kingdom together. Can a populace truly have confidence in an arrangement like this? Can they count on consistency of law? How can it set clear bounds to limit the abuse of power? Perhaps those in power prefer the ambiguity. (I was able to find a document which resembles a constitution, and apparently took effect in August of 2004 [more on this subject in the YouTube clip at the bottom of this post]).

What a novel idea for a country’s instruction manual to be found all in one place.

I can liken the UK’s lack of a single, definitive document for their government to a professional sporting event where all the teams play by different rules. Since no definitive rulebook exists, the referees would be made to invent rules on the spot to promote fair competition, and would likely be unable to enforce their impromptu rules effectively. Neither the teams, nor the fans would be able to count on the rules remaining consistent as the referees may not be able to agree, and the fundamental play of the sport would be subject to their whims and could change at any time. It might be fun to watch the incoherent gaggle run around on the field for a while, and hope for the occasional fight to break out, but the fans who exchange their money for the promise of competitive show will eventually lose interest and likely find other outlets for their entertainment.

My analogy assumes free will, of course. In reality, the people of the UK (the fans) have no choice but to endure watching the nonsensical play on the field, since the government (the team owners) operates on coercion. The UK lacks a single, core rulebook to keep those team owners and refs in check.

The only concession Paine makes in favor of absolute rule is its simplicity. If there is a problem, the people know exactly what the problem is, and can easily determine the remedy – though I imagine that executing the remedy is another matter. He continues to remark about the English Constitution, “… 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… every political physician will advise a different medicine.”

I note some similarities in the English constitution with our current state of affairs. I may actually have to give more credit to the Brits in this regard. Their state has never made any direct promises in regard to the foundational rules of their government, so the haphazard nature of their laws and treaties are a natural result. Our current situation is the result of seeds of hypocrisy methodically planted in our culture decade after decade so that now, our Congress is able to pass laws with ease that our constitution was written expressly for the states to mitigate. At least the Brits have remained consistent in their inconsistency.

Execution of power was envisioned like this by the framers of the U.S. Constitution:

Declaration Model for Federalism

Framers' intention for power. The more surface area in the triangle, the more power is granted to that part of government. Note that the federal government is not contained in the triangle, but was intended to oversee the matters between the states. Each triangle is a separate state.

We now live in a model that looks something like this:

Modern Model

Like the above model, the more surface area, the more power is exercised

Of course, you don’t have to agree. You don’t have to acknowledge the purpose for the tenth amendment in the U.S. Constitution was expressly written to limit the power of the government from instituting whatever laws our elect see fit. You don’t have to recognize that for the first time, beginning in 1913 with the advent of the progressive era and the passing of the 16th amendment, our constitution began to increase the size and power of the government, and contravened the very principle of the document completely. You don’t have to agree with U.S. Representative John Hostettler’s (R-IN) observation that, “The Internal Revenue Code and regulations add up to one million words and is nearly seven times the length of the Bible.” And of course, you don’t have to agree with my logical conclusion that between the government and the people, the people surely aren’t benefiting from this complex governance that our founding documents were written to prevent.

I’d sure be surprised if someone came to a different conclusion based on the evidence. My liberal friends, I await your observations.

We’ve been given a tremendous gift in our founding documents. A gift that may be long forgotten but is still in effect! As I write this, the state of Idaho is considering an official refusal to adopt the Affordable Care Act (aka. ‘ObamaCare’). My hope is that this exercise of the tenth amendment results in a snowball effect that takes our nation by storm.

In our current day, it’s exactly as Paine observed. Political physicians of every sort – namely, modern liberals, or ‘progressives’ – are prescribing different medications for the problems in our country. Invariably, all of these narcotics seem to result in increasing the size of the federal government.  We’ve already been given the only medicine that’s been proven to work: less medicine, more exercise (less external government, more personal responsibility). It’s been done before, and it can be done again.

Let’s go, America! The Constitution was written to establish the tranquil garden of limited government. As ‘we the people’, it’s our job to keep the hedges trimmed to keep our government manageable. Though I fear the overgrowth is so prolific now, we may have to burn the fields down and start over.


I leave you with a couple of YouTube clips that made a serious impact on me a couple of years ago. It seems that sometimes, the best observations are made by outsiders. The following is a speech given in Colorado by Daniel Hannan, a conservative MEP (Member of European Parliament), regarding our constitution. If you don’t feel like watching the full 15 minutes, watch the first clip starting at 6:53.

And please, leave your thoughts in the comments section!

“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 judgment is required.” Paine continues, “Such a power could not be the gift of a wise people, neither can any power, which needs checking, be from God.”

Okay. So unilateral power is not a phenomenon derived from nature. How does it happen? Paine clearly thought that this was a very important question to ask. He says that as humans, we are made male and female by nature, we determine right and wrong by the laws of God, but how men come to control other men as if they are a new species requires some exploration.

To begin this exploration, Paine asserts that according to the chronology of scripture, there were no kings in early ages of the world. As a consequence, there were no wars. He claims that the pride of kings is what throws the masses into confusion. He states that government by kings was first introduced into the world by heathens.

Exalting one man above other men cannot be justified by nature. It can’t be defended by scripture either. So much for the divine right of kings. Paine writes that the part of scripture that reveals God’s disapproval for monarchy is swiftly glossed over in monarchies. One of the chief examples of where a kingship derives this imaginary right is when Jesus was quoted as saying, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” Paine states that this is not a justification for kingship, as the Jews did not have a king at that point in time, and were enslaved by the Romans.

Israel enjoyed a civilization devoid of a kingship for nearly three thousand years. Before they clamored for a king under mass delusion, they were governed by judges and elders of their tribes. It was, in fact, a sin to acknowledge any mortal being as a king. This title was reserved only for God. Paine asserts that God is a jealous God, and it is no wonder why ruin awaits a civilization which idolizes men at the disregard of Heaven. When Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites, and Gideon rescued them, the Jews wanted to make Gideon a king; and wanted hereditary kingship to boot! Gideon responded, “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. The Lord shall rule over you.”

Sounds like explicit disapproval of monarchy to me. In a more general sense, I think this can be applied to centralized power in general.

Again, the Jews wanted a king by rule of the prophet Samuel. Samuel piously approached God with their request. God gave the Israelites their way, but commanded Samuel to tell the people of Israel the consequences of their request.

1 Samuel 8:11-18, (NIV) “He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.’”


But Israel still insisted. And they reaped the benefits.

Kingship by request is one thing, but even more unnatural is hereditary succession. That is, kingship claimed as a matter of right. How does this absurdity occur? Paine states that in most cases, if one could remove the shrouds of antiquity and trace kingship to its inception, it is probable that the first in line to the crown are nothing more than “principle ruffians” who subtly attained the position of “chief among plunderers”. These kings would provide a measure of safety to the populace which would keep the people satisfied. At this point, no one would even think of hereditary succession as a possibility. Hereditary succession begins not as a right, but as something very casual and convenient. Quite simply, after a few generations of succession, superstitious stories and casual assumption will create the illusion of entitlement. So, after time, what was first instituted out of convenience is then perceived as a right. In other words, the people lose their understanding of history.

Paine forcefully asserts that hereditary succession is straight-up, dag-nasty evil. He concludes this point with practical and historical arguments. Kingship almost never produces good and wise leadership (at least without the direct influence of God Himself). Instead, history shows that kingship – or as I infer, centralized power – breeds foolishness and wickedness, and carries inevitable oppression with it.

Paine’s poignant, final statement on the subject?

“… A king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”

Amen, Mr. Paine.

Now, I will humbly attempt to draw some comparisons with our current state of affairs and the events in history that Paine wrote about in Common Sense.

I’ll start at the top. President Obama. Seemingly elected for who he was rather than for his virtue. I might also add, his undue award of the Nobel Peace Prize instead of the unknown hero whose life it could have salvaged.

Just as it is shown in history that a people will assume the divine right of kings in a monarchy, I believe the American people have assumed that the federal government has a right to the same power. I find it interesting that in 1 Samuel, the people of Israel were warned of the consequences of kingship; namely, taking ten percent of their grain and vintage, along with the best fruits of their labor. It is interesting to me because we are currently taxed at a rate of well above ten percent, and this money is taken before you even receive it. The Boston Tea Party was a response to a one cent tax on tea, and it was the cause of the American Revolution! It’s very obvious that we, just like those people living under the monarchies of history, have fallen complacent with this evil and accept tyranny willingly. Case in point: income/property/capital gains taxes.

“… make war and give away places.” This example of kingship can also be applied to our current government. War is declared, and battles are fought freely at the whims of the Commander in Chief (originally intended only to be a temporary title for the President in times of war). Though to do this, he simply avoids calling military occupation and engagement as war. In this sense, the formality of declaring war has violated the spirit of the rule altogether.

And as far as giving away places? One of the unique aspects of our country was that, as opposed to all other forms of government before it, our country claimed the invention of ‘limited government’. Most of us take this term for granted. But what does this mean? All other governments operated by method of ‘unlimited government’; whatever is not claimed by an individual belongs to the government. The concept of limited government is that whatever is not claimed by the government belongs to individuals. This is truly a revolutionary concept. Here we sit, over 200 years later in the same country, and the meaning of limited government pervades us. We now live in a country where if you ‘own’ a home – even if you own it outright – you still have to pay property taxes. What does this mean when you boil it all down? You are paying the government to allow you the use of your land and home. How very tyrannical.

Calling all liberals! Am I out of line here? You call yourselves liberals. Are you really?

If  I could assume the underlying theme that Paine was trying to get across, it would be that he was warning against any government to take the place of God. As you are about to see, many in our country are continuing to deny that God and His principles were what made this country so successful. The liberal media is perpetuating this falsehood with grace.

After calling on liberals to challenge me, I am going to conclude by calling out a very prominent liberal. Bill Maher recently concluded one of his shows thusly (my apologies for Mr. Maher’s language):

Lies. Thomas Paine an atheist? Mr. Maher clearly lives in a fact-free environment. My blog hasn’t even claimed to have exhausted the ideas of Common Sense – a pamphlet – and any individual not living in a land of fairies and unicorns can see that every point Mr. Maher makes is an outright deception.

To my conservative friends, this is the truth that most of the nation subscribes to. Those in this country that are politically apathetic take what is shown to them in the media as fact. Bill Maher is not the only liberal elitist spreading these lies, though he might be the most brazen. This has to stop if we want to reclaim our country.

In response to Bill’s lies, I leave you with an episode of Trifecta which is hosted on the independent Internet based news source, PJTV. For as much anger as I felt watching Maher, this segment makes up for it with equal levity. My apologies for not being able to embed the video!

Paine continues Common Sense by masterfully illustrating the ideal evolution of government by introducing a hypothetical people. Paine did not give them a name, but I will call them the Paragons. The Paragons are a small in number and are isolated from the rest of the civilized world; a brand-spanking new civilization. He points out that man’s social nature, his biological needs, and his desire to attain things he cannot produce on his own will compel the Paragons to band together to form their society; society will be the Paragons’ first thought. In this state, law is unnecessary as the Paragons remain just to each other.

… nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice…”

As soon as the Paragons conquer the challenges of emigration and establishing society that united them in purpose, their duties and attachments will begin to fall by the wayside as they become comfortable in their overall prosperity. Because of the inability of human nature to maintain moral virtue, the Paragons will be made to establish a government to maintain social order.

Because of their small numbers, a truly democratic form of government will naturally form. The laws from this government will be enforced only by the threat of public shame. As the Paragons increase in number, true democracy becomes cumbersome and inefficient. Enter: elected officials.

These elect will naturally have the same concerns at stake as those they represent, and would act the same as the whole body. If the population grows large enough, districting will take place, and the number of representatives will be augmented. Paine writes, “… the elected might never form to themselves an interest separate from the electors…” To prevent this, Paine asserts that elections should occur often. Doing so will ensure that the elected won’t succumb to becoming too powerful. This also allows the elected and electors to very naturally support each other.

Paine finishes his hypothetical example by stating that the above concept, and not the power of a king (or any type of ruling class, I would infer), ensures the strength of government.

Congress is our current body of representatives. Incumbency is its blunder. Corruption is the result. The solution is simple:

Term limits.

I give you a list of Senators who have been elected over seven times resulting in 30+ years of service. I also found a PDF listing the Representatives in the House in descending order by seniority. You may notice that both of these links are from official sources. I note that the late Robert Byrd is still listed on the above list of Senators (six months is not enough time to update the page, apparently). The longest-serving Representative has been in office for 55 years. Plenty of time for the inevitable selfishness of human nature to encourage the building of personal empires – quite separate from our interests as citizens.

Paine often uses the word ‘natural’ in his writing when he describes the structure of government vs. the vices of human nature. It is not natural for a Congressman to remain truly involved with the interests of his electors after 30 years. What naturally occurs is complacency, and a tendency to grow out of touch with the people he represents. Naturally, for many of us, this is simple common sense.

Paine often refers to the old English monarchy when illustrating his reasoning. But whether in kingship, or as a member of a representative republic, the consequences of prolonged power are always the same; the formalities of how the power is wielded are the only difference. I submit that the difference between the English monarchy of the 18th Century, and our current form of government is merely different window dressing, and the shift of power from one pompous, self-serving idiot (the king) to several (Congress). To be fair, there are pompous, self-serving, idiotic Congressmen of all political affiliations – greed and corruption are very bipartisan. It’s a large part as to why I am so tickled that there is a Tea Party. I should also say that I do not believe that all Congresspeople are immoral and have ulterior motives; unfortunately, the adage, “one bad apple spoils the bunch” aptly applies.

Paine continues by outlining why a fellow human being does not have a right to govern because of who he is. I will tackle this subject in my next blog post.

Thomas Paine was not an accomplished man by any social means. In fact, he was a failure domestically, financially, and was academically unexperienced. Undoubtedly, he was the least likely candidate to ignite the spark to separate from Britain. Paine was human, and he recognized this. Common Sense was originally written anonymously when it was published in 1776. Not only did he recognize his humanity, he was courageous enough to confront the colonies of the shortcomings of their humanity as well. Despite his personal failings, he was pragmatic and passionate enough to point out the logical fallacies in the English constitution, and ultimately inspire the revolution of freedom.

What Paine outlined in Common Sense did more than placate his desire to promote freedom, or to stir up feelings of bitterness alone. His writings inspired a would-be nation into action. He begins the introduction by validating the premise of his writing. He states that conservatism is not presumed to be popular, and that the status quo, though not exactly wrong, will be thought to be right if given enough time. I believe, in regards to our current state of affairs, most in our country fall in line with this concept. Our government’s current methods are all we know. It does not take long for an ideology to take over a culture, and I hope to write in future postings about how radically our culture has changed in just one or two generations.

Paine believed that there was a better way to administer government, and he faithfully continues the pamphlet explaining why and how. He asserts that violence and abuse of power ushers the means to bring its virtue into question. In other words, when we witness injustice, we have a duty to examine it. America experienced abuse of power in spades (read the list of 27 offenses as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, or you can wait until I cover it in the future).

He begins the bulk of the pamphlet by defining and explaining the roles of society and government which he contends are very separate. Society is produced by our wants, and government is made a necessity by our wickedness. Society “… promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections… [government promotes our happiness] negatively by restraining our vices.” One makes patrons, the other, punishers.

He admits that government is a necessary evil. He poignantly states that when government makes us suffer miseries that should be found in nations without government, the general reaction is to “…furnish the means by which we suffer.” I don’t believe I am alone when I see the truth of this statement applied to our present day – be it socially, economically, or domestically. Our government which promises security and prosperity seems like it may never stop weaving a web of delayed collapse. I personally contend that the longer we delay in implementing true solutions to our problems, the more violent the consequences will be. Paine points out that the government which governs best does so by ensuring security at the least expense, and greatest benefit. Sounds an awful lot like frugality.

I plead for someone, anyone, provide any evidence of frugality in our government today.

I can wait.

In my view, any actual frugality in this country has been shifted to ethical businesses, individuals, and the family. As I hope to illustrate in the future, family is where government starts in the first place. There is a clear divide between the actions of the government, and the virtue of family. In my next post, I hope to explain how this disparity occurs, and the most logical way to avoid this pitfall.