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Thomas Paine

Moderrn Prometheus: Thomas Paine and Our New American Revolution—Frances A. Chiu

This is the memory of a man, our father, who was a quintessential revolutionary. No other person has ever captured a society so explosively. He came to be a symbol of rebellion and civil unrest. A gentle man of peace, he regularly wrote sedition and inspired men to take up arms in the cause of liberty. A pensive philosopher he was always the zealot taken to action. He refused to profit financially from his God-given talents as a writer.

He was a fervent spokesman for limited government, he was a sincere proponent of social welfare programs for the poor, the infirm, and the aged. He was a citizen of the world. Though an eternal optimist, he was also a sage skeptic.

More than any other person in memory, our father was responsible for changing the “former habits of thinking.” His talent for writing was remarkable. He possessed a wonderful talent of writing to the tempers and feelings of the public. He wrote in simple direct prose, discarding ornamentation and stylistic rules, readily understood by everyone. Through the use of provocative assertions and vivid original imagery, his writings were always geared to and understood by the common people. His books and pamphlets sold at record levels never seen before.

He was one of those slender reeds that contained the flame stolen so audaciously by Prometheus from the gods themselves. The point of his pen was as formidable in politics as the point of the sword in the field.

He boldly demonstrated the inutility of monarchs and kings, asserting that hereditary monarchy was inherently contrary to the laws of nature. He was his era's most adamantine evangelist. He was the era’s Mercury, the greatest proponent of Diogenes citizens of the world. This great prophet sparked the political common cause between men who worked for a living and empowered and enlightened aristocrats across three nations. He was the distinguished leader of a group of modern thinkers who believed they had it in their power to begin the world over again, to end relentless poverty and widespread ignorance while destroying the mindless and oppressive power of parasitic monarchs and idle aristocrats.

In his epic pamphlet, Common Sense, published on January 10, 1776, he set out to destroy all of the political paradigms of his day, in his 79 page epistle. It was published anonymously, “like an orphan to shift for itself.” It was reported that whoever the author, he had “Genius in his Eyes.” He repudiated European monarchy, government, mercantilism, the British constitution, and America as part of the British Empire. He asked a band of loosely connected colonists, many of whom disliked each other, to declare war against the British Empire, the mightiest nation in the world.

Common Sense was an immediate success throughout Europe and America. It passed through the continents like an electric spark. It flashed conviction and aroused determined spirits. George Washington said that, “I find that ‘Common Sense’ is working a powerful change here in the minds of many men.”

Not long after Common Sense was published, John Adams published his own pamphlet, Thoughts on Government, which advocated a different kind of state government that was far less balanced, disfavoring the rights of common man.

Throughout his life he sowed the seeds of great ideas to bring about freedom, justice and equality. His vision of a humane and democratic society shaped a philosophy of his time. That philosophy still remains with us today, and needs to be reactivated by the noble and enlightened patriots who hold the enduring memories of Thomas Paine.

“Were a man to be totally deprived of memory, he would be incapable of forming any just opinion, everything about him would seem a chaos; he would have even his own history to ask from every one; and by not knowing how the world went on in his absence, he would be at a loss to know how it ought to go on when he recovered, or rather, returned to it again.”

This was written by Thomas Paine, our Founding Father, in his, “These are the times that try men’s souls” essay, The American Crisis, in 1777. Paine had joined the Army and became the aide-de-camp Nathaniel Greene, the ablest of all George Washington’s generals in the Revolutionary War against Britain. Paine’s words we’re electrifying and inspirational to the terrified American soldiers, and directly led to their victories at Trenton and Princeton.

Throughout the war, Paine aligned himself in Pennsylvania with the radical Constitutionalist Party that vigorously supported the democratic state Constitution of 1776. He differed with the Constitutionalists, however, in supporting increased powers for Congress. In the end of his essay, Public Good, Paine called for a national convention to draft a new federal constitution. The Articles of Confederation, still unadopted, had too many flaws and gave Congress too much arbitrary power. Thomas Paine, although not a delegate to the Convention, had written the previous year that he was strongly opposed to fiat money, which he called counterfeiting. He especially abhorred the legal tender laws which force people to accept counterfeit money. “The punishment of a member of a legislature who should move for such a law ought to be death.”

After military victory and independence had been achieved, Tom Paine had other great purposes for America to achieve. America now had, “in her power to make a world happy, to teach mankind the art of being so, to exhibit on the theater of the universe a character hitherto unknown, and to have as it were, a new creation entrusted to our hands.” America should let “the world see that she can bear prosperity; and that her honest virtue in time of peace, is equal to the bravest virtue in time of war.”

Americans should never forget and forever implant in their memory he wrote, “that a fair national reputation is of as much importance as independence. That it possesses a charm which wins upon the world, and makes even enemies civil. That it gives dignity which is often superior to power, and commands reverence where pomp and splendor fail.”

To maintain its position in the world, Paine penned, Americans were compelled to maintain and strengthen the Union of the states, for, “As United States we are equal to the importance of the title, but otherwise we are not.”

On April 26, 1787, after receiving paltry financial consideration, for his free publications and writings and continuing disrespect from the Federalist aristocratic government in America, Paine went to France to seek endorsements for his iron bridge ideas from prominent scientists.

Paine would not be surprised to see the response by the ruling oligarchs to the Covid 19, in handing trillions to the Wall Street speculators

In mid-March 1791, Paine then in London, published the first part of his Rights of Man, which outlined the principles of the revolution in America, and the French Revolution of 1789. He explained that governments existed solely to defend those natural rights, of life, liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression, which man was incapable of protecting himself.

After securing these rights, the best government did as little as possible. A republican form of government best secured these rights. Every government should be limited by a bill of rights and a written constitution, which should include universal suffrage, regular and frequent elections of the legislature and executive and executive officers subject to mandatory rotation in office, a judiciary subject to control by the people, and a prohibition of titles of nobility.

Paine published the second part of the Rights of Man in February 1792. He intended it to be the British equivalent of Common Sense. He called for the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. In less than one year 200,000 copies were sold despite the efforts of the British government to suppress it. Paine, who by now had fled to France, was tried for treason in Britain. He was convicted and outlawed in December of 1792.

In August of 1792, the French National Convention made Thomas Paine, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison prominent French citizens. Paine was then elected to sit in the French National Convention. He aligned himself with the moderate well-to-do Girondin coalition but broke ranks when he spoke against the execution of Lois XVI, advocating impeachment and thereafter permanent exile to America after the French war against Austria was over.

When the Girondins fell from power, the Jacobins took over and soon revoked Paine’s French citizenship and his parliamentary immunity, and on December 28, 1793, incarcerated him in the Luxembourg Prison in Paris. He was considered a citizen of a country at war with France.

Imprisoned in France, outlawed by England and abandoned by the United States, our Founding Father, Tom Paine became justifiably embittered. President Washington, under heavy pressure from Federalists sympathetic to England and Jeffersonian Republicans supportive of France, was intent on maintaining the neutrality of the United States. Paine was betrayed by America, and cruelly left all alone.

It was while in prison that Paine started work on the Age of Reason, in which he denounced the trappings of formal Christianity. The Rights of Man subverted belief in the traditional form of government the people were accustomed to, and the Age of Reason did the same with traditional Christianity and the Bible. Thomas Paine wisely pointed out the inability of moral virtue to rule the world.

In the Age of Reason, Paine states that, “Christianity has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty.”

In his writing titled Agrarian Justice in 1797, Paine states that “Practical religion consists in doing good, and the only way of serving God is that of endeavoring to make His creation happy. All preaching that has not this for its object is nonsense and hypocrisy. As individuals we profess ourselves Christians, but as nations we act as heathens.”

Paine offered a new faith for those French citizens who felt abandoned by the cataclysmic changes of the French Revolution, giving them a spiritual ballast for when Christianity ultimately collapsed. He pointed out how religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise. Instead of being based on blind dogmatic faith in scripture, Paine was instrumental in the rise of Deism, mankind’s manifold awe in the face of the universe, the ultimate expression of the era’s passion for natural philosophy.

Our Founding Father’s writings would become more enduring than all the piles of marble and granite that man would ever erect.

The governing bodies of political duopoly today, have entirely repudiated their own founding fathers, turning away from the Tom Paine and the Enlightenment’s optimistic vision of progress for the future, belief in the infinite powers of natural philosophy, and admiration for ancient Rome’s heroes, instead in favor of evangelical religion, land speculation, bargain corn whiskey, kaleidoscopes, and a style of clothing and interior decorating that would become known as “American Fancy.” For centuries after his death, he would however be remembered as a filthy poverty stricken drunken wastrel, and an unoriginal thinker. This was an image falsely engineered by his greatest foes, the American Federalist Party of John Adams, and the British government of King George III.

Paine taught the world that it is time, “that nations must be rational, and not governed like animals, for the pleasure of their riders, and that all hereditary government is in its nature tyranny. Where knowledge is duty, ignorance is a crime. Revolutions have for their object, a change in the moral condition of government. Man is not the enemy but through a false system of Government that eschews Common Sense, and the Rights of Man.”

To read the works of Thomas Paine today is a distinct act of fealty, to be reminded of the core Enlightenment beliefs: that, “Enlightenment in Man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity, that immaturity is the capacity to use one’s intelligence, without guidance of another, that government can only be empowered by its citizens, that such citizens are born with certain natural rights; that none are born superior to any other; that all will be treated equally before the law; and that the state has a duty to help the neediest of people.”

Reading Paine offers us a pristine memory, it offers us an enlightened spiritual and political inspiration, one that has driven men and women to achieve greatness across history. His concerns were for all mankind, and though he could not command their obedience, he can assign them their duty.

“When any country in the world can say, my people are happy, no ignorance or distress is to be found among them, my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets are empty of beggars, the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive, the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may the country can boast its constitution and its government.”

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In Thomas Paine’s most prescient work, we must believe that he foresaw the white, menopausal, mendacious men now ruling planet earth as a history of the repeated violations of the harmonious laws of nature, all having the direct object of establishing a tyranny of materialism.

Paine would not be surprised to see that these old white rulers have continued to maintain a continuous war against the species of life, destroying at a whim animals, fowl and fish, and the races of color and freedom loving. Genocide has been their habit.

Paine would not be surprised to see that these mendacious men have instituted artificial scarcities, denying peaceful people the natural inheritance of earth’s abundance and God’s endowment. Paine would not be surprised to see that they have glorified material values and degraded knowledge.

Paine would not be surprised to see that these arrogant, racist white men have claimed private, personal ownership of the lands and asset resources of sovereign nations, driving by murderous force of arms the gentle from their passage on earth.

Paine would not be surprised to see that in white man’s greed he has erected artificial immigration and barriers, preventing the free movement of people.

Paine would not be surprised to see that in their lust for control, they have set up systems of compulsory education to coerce the minds of children and to destroy wisdom and knowledge.

Paine would not be surprised to see that in their lust for power, they have monopolized and controlled all means of communication to prevent the free flow of truth and ideas.

Paine would not be surprised to see that in their fear, they instituted great armies of secret police and sleeper cells, to do the bidding of multinational corporations. I

Paine would not be surprised to see that, in their hubris they have created artificial intelligence and digital surveillance of the population.

Paine would not be surprised to see that, in their greed, they have made the manufacturing and selling of weapons the basis of their economies.

Paine would not be surprised to see that for their profit, they have polluted the air, the rivers, and the seas.

Paine would not be surprised to see that in their impotence, they have glorified murder and violence in their mass media.

Paine would not be surprised to see that, in the Government compromise to corporate corruption, and Wall Street banks, they have equated money with free speech, and destroyed nations’ economies.

Paine, unrecognized and appreciated by the ruling elites of his day, would not be surprised to see that the arrogant oligarchs of today never admit a mistake, from modern fascisms first step with Reagan in 1981 and regressive taxation.

Our Founding Father would not be surprised to see the craven strategies of population reduction and genetically engineered crops that were part of the broad strategy of genocide and the systematic elimination of entire population groups, promulgated under the name of solving the world hunger problem. Paine would not be surprised to see the emergence of Recombinant DNA, (rDNA) technology, the procedure for “cutting” and “splicing” DNA to make new combinations of genes.

Paine would not be surprised to see the development of terminator Genetic Use Restriction Technologies,(GURTS), a “technology protection system” developed by Cargill and Big Agriculture, that disallows farmers from using their own seeds.

Paine would not be surprised to see the lack of good judgment that now exists in our digitized computer economy, and the fraudulent digital electoral system that has vomited up the loutish likes of George Bush and Donald Trump.

Thomas Paine would not be surprised to see that the forty years of regressive taxation, the neocons neo-liberal supply side agenda has failed dismally, and ruined the economies of the freedom loving world.

Paine would not be surprised to see the response by the ruling oligarchs to the Covid 19, in handing trillions to the Wall Street speculators, while tossing crumbs from their gilded carriages to the despised masses.

Paine, our Founding Father, would not be surprised to see that the fake democracy color revolution regime changes brought forth by the soft power machinations of the CIA non-government organizations (NGOS), like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), have all miserably failed beginning with the regime against Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia-Serbia Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Montenegro in 1999.

Paine would not be surprised to see that the so called “human rights” NGOs, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the International Republican Institute (IRI), Amnesty International USA, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the United States Agency for Development (USAID), the International Crisis Groups (ICG), and the Syrian White Helmets, were to become the primary Washington weapons for regime change of “fake democracy” to transform newly independent states of formerly communist Eastern Europe and Russia.

Paine would not be surprised to see that Washington’s “fake democracy” color revolutions would be brought to China, the oil and gas pipeline regions of Central Asia, and, most drastically the oil rich states of the Middle East, as the so-called Arab Spring.

Since the launching of the Arab Spring regime change in 2011, Washington’s customary ability to win its way, whether through so-called soft-power democracy NGOs, or hard brute force and genocide, hasfailing everywhere.

Thomas Paine, our wise Founding Father, would surely understand that the decades of Washington’s export of fake democracy had not brought one single country closer to adopting a genuine process of representative democracy. Paine would have easily intuited that in true Orwellian doublespeak, that tyranny was Washington’s model for democracy, NGO tyranny.

It remains to be seen how much longer a war-weary world will accept the Washington doublespeak. The Eurasian economic developments, the China-Russia economic cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, and related developments, offer a clear alternative to the Washington driven NATO map of destruction, that of constructing nations with respect, autonomy and sovereignty.

Yet, these global corporatists increasingly trumpet the virtue of greed and war. In their advertising and lies, and in their manipulation of information, they make a fetish of blatant falsity and pious self-enhancement. Their obvious errors and criminal activities acted with impunity, only stimulating these incorrigible cranks to greater and more blatant self-approving activities.

Our Founding Father’s wisdom is most prescient. He warned us, and now we have warned the arrogant one percent of their willful murder, inequities and blindness. They are deaf to our demands of equality and justice, the weeping of the poor, the anguish of those of color, the mockery of our voting rights and the warnings of our writers. Congress long ago corrupted, worshiping only the force and influence on money, listens only to force and money.

But we shall no longer talk in these grim tongues. We must therefore acquiesce to our genetic necessity and detach ourselves from the repugnant elites' uncaring madness and hold them henceforth as we hold the rest of God’s creatures, in harmony, life brothers, in their excess, menaces to life.

Thomas Paine died in relative obscurity on June 8, 1809, in New York State. He would always be proud of his role and be grateful “to Nature and Providence for putting it in my power to be of some use to mankind.” Throughout his life he sowed the seeds of ideas, “no summer soldier or sunshine patriot,” Paine remained committed to stating the truth as he saw it, despite the consequences.

We know he was right. His vision of a humane and democratic society shaped a philosophy for his time. That philosophy still speaks to all the world today.

In his memory, on this Father’s Day, we must pledge to take up the sword of Tom Paine, and bring change by our activities in the streets and in the suites, by speaking Paine’s truth as he saw it. Truth to power, truth to the tyranny of power, and the will to change the world into what Paine hoped for.

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Tom Paine, our spiritual Founding Father taught us that the bondage of the working class, at home and abroad, cannot be corrected by legal or legislative reform when the political system is held hostage to corporate money, and political office is defined and operated by legalized bribery. The New People's Party of the United States awaits our active participation, in the carrying out of our great Founding Fathers mission; of how great an enlightened society we can become.

“The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.” Thomas Paine Common Sense 1776

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of Freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

T.D Duff