Tonight I went to a presentation on “the life and influence” of Thomas Paine. Little did I know that he was a left-wing, Democrat — at least according to panelists, including Eric Foner, Jack Fruchtman, Jr. and Harvey J. Kaye.
It’s interesting how historians tend to always take the “liberal” stance on everything. This, in turn, indoctrinates students to believe in the this way of thinking. Then, all students learn the same way of thinking — the same way of interpreting facts.
“Thomas Paine preached Democracy while the other founding fathers were completely against it,” one panelists said, while another stated, “Those from the CATO Institute consider Thomas Paine to be a Libertarian.”
Ah ha, now we are on to something! Many philosophies can be left up to interpretation! Well, thank you for saying that, teachers and professors of the America! Thank you for telling us this before you bring your political views into the classroom. Seriously, now.
When I was reading the publication that went along with the presentation, I was appalled at the interpreation of liberty that was presented. Comparing Thomas Paine to Che Guevara? Supporting affirmative action in the private sector (when it comes to discrimination when hiring)? Supporting democracy but at the same time being appalled at Proposition 8?
This goes along with the inconsistency that can be seen by democracy, political parties, and the current state of government. Individualism may be the only way to appeal to every human being — and I feel as if we can start with giving states more power — and with that power, they would enact on more profitable freedoms and vary enough that one could choose to live in a state that best suits their needs.
But back to Paine. I found it interesting that when two members of Student Liberty Front disgraced democracy, the panelists pretty much agreed. And then they did that thing — when they know that the ideas they preach do not work — they continued to smile and prosper because they know that so many Americans have fallen into their idealogy trap and they have no reason to be scared.
Thankfully David Boaz of CATO posted this — otherwise I would almost believe that Thomas Paine was a socialist, middle class supporting, social security loving liberal! From the article:
Lefties like Harvey Kaye, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, like to say
He put the case for political democracy AND social democracy, arguing in The Rights of Man that young people and the elderly should be afforded financial security by their governments. These welfare ideals are under attack right now, in our era of recession.
He has a point, though I suspect that Paine would think that the American welfare state has exceeded the sort of minimal provision for the poor that he had in mind. As for me, I rather like the fact that he proposed to execute any legislator who so much as proposed a bill to issue paper money and make it legal tender. A bit too strong, I concede. But a healthy understanding of what fiat money can do to people who work hard and save their money.
Find some of Thomas Paine’s best writings in The Libertarian Reader.
And by actually citing Harvey Kaye as a “lefty”, I feel much better — Kaye had no trouble saying that the “correct” way to go is with the Democrats tonight.
So much for liberty, Mr. Paine.