Common Sense: RIP

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barney
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Common Sense: RIP

Post by barney » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:28 am

Someone forwarded me this, saying it originally appeared in the Times. It came to me via an extremely long email chain. I republish it epecially for Sue! :D It should make your day.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 5 stepchildren;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Belle
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Common Sense: RIP

Post by Belle » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:12 am

Absolutely brilliant. And correct.

John F
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Common Sense: RIP

Post by John F » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:13 am

This reminds me of "Poor Richard's Almanac," written and published by Benjamin Franklin from 1733 to 1758. Each issue was full of common-sense sayings and proverbs which found their way into the common language, such as "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." (A woman too, presumably.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_Richard's_Almanack

As for the expression "common sense," it was the title of a famous pamphlet by Thomas Paine. Published in 1776, it sold 100,000 copies within a few months and is often credited with helping to bring on the American war of independence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)
John Francis

jserraglio
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Common Sense: RIP

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:33 am

O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but
the tyrant, stand forth! . . . Give me liberty or give me death! -Thomas Paine: Common Sense

barney
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Common Sense: RIP

Post by barney » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:29 pm

My cultural background and area of historical study is British/European rather than American, so I am ignorant of many of these things. I've read a little bit of Paine, but not Common Sense.
I love "the Royal Brute of Britain", and this quote, prescient of nearly 250 years in his future: "Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions."

John F
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Common Sense: RIP

Post by John F » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:18 pm

Your comments led me to read the Wikipedia article on Thomas Paine, and I learned much that I didn't know. Paine was born and educated in Norfolk, England, made a mess of his life getting fired from one job after another, and finally emigrated to the American colonies to make a new start at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, then on a mission to the UK. Soon after setting foot in Philadelphia he began writing "Common Sense," which he signed anonymously as "by an Englishman." Months later, with the war underway, he wrote another pamphlet, "The American Crisis," which begins with his most famous sentence: "These are the times that try men's souls."
John Francis

jserraglio
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Common Sense: RIP

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:47 am

At one point, I had to read excerpts from Common Sense every year and found it to be a stirring piece of heated anti-royalist rwhetoric. Paine was a radical revolutionary, or in the parlance of the day, a Jacobin. Franklin was much more the moderate and skillful diplomat.

Paine was, for all intents and purposes, a Founding Father of our nation and is still admired by adherents of both the far right and far left. IIRC, Ronald Reagan was an admirer of Paine and used to quote him.

Paine later spent time in France advocating for the French Revolution.

After the Louisiana Purchase, Paine took to task the French inhabitants of the new territory who had petitioned Congress for the right to continue importing African slaves:
The other case to which I alluded as being founded in direct injustice is that in which you petition for power, under the name of rights, to import and enslave Africans!

Dare you put up a petition to heaven for such a power, without fearing to be struck from the earth by its justice?

Why, then, do you ask it of man against man?

Do you want to renew in Louisiana the horrors of [Santo] Domingo? [i.e., the Haitian Massacre of 1804 where 3-5,000 white French colonials were murdered by black ex-slaves]

COMMON SENSE.
September 22, 1804.
1804 seems pretty early to be attacking slavery. England did not end the African slave trade till 1807 (1808 for the US) and didn't emancipate outright the slaves in its colonies till 1833.

No wonder America never granted Paine the Founding Father status he deserved.

And IIRC, Paine also wrote pamphlets attacking Christianity, another possible reason the intellectual mainstream came to regard him as an outlier.

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