"But if you say, you can still pass the violations over,
then I ask, hath your house been burnt?
Hath your property been destroyed before your face?
Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on?
Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands,
and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor?
If you have not, then you are not a judge of those who have.
But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers,
then you are unworthy of the name of husband, father, friend, or lover,
and whatever may be your rank or title in life,
you have the heart of a coward and the spirit of a sycophant."
by:
Thomas Paine
(1737-1809) US Founding father, pamphleteer, author
Source:
Common Sense, 1776
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Reader comments about this quote:
Ah, good man that Thomas Paine. I liked his earlier works much better than this later works. "Common Sense" is a timeless masterpiece -- a real American trademark.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Paine was about Union against tyranny. Those who want to disband and stress individualism regadless of the common dangers are missing some points it seems.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    The slaves, cowards and sycophants that accept a diminished capacity of individual sovereignty, compelled compliance, license, governmental larceny, victimless crimes, etc. are but a step below Paine's level of defined individual(s). Waffler, you make me smile again. Paine was about sovereign individuals that would, at their choice, unite against tyranny. The term union, in different conjugations, has greatly varied implications. When union is meant as an equivalent to unite or united, as in 'a more perfect union', it is harmonious with the founder's vision. When the term is used as an 'A' or 'The' union, a subtle word game, it has huge application consequences. 'A' or 'The' union indicates a centralized government with one sovereign head, any and all sub-compartments (states, protectorates, etc.) being mere inconsequential formalities. The founders, understanding the difference, called the States' representative, The United States of America. In the war between the States, the North was apply called The Union, and, the South, The Confederate States. Your definition of sovereign, having absolute authority - being able to rape, pillage, and plunder, would fit 'A' or 'The' union.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The very concept of honor has almost disappeared in today's society. Consider the founders who risked their lives, property, and their sacred honor. Now we'll risk nothing if it is not backed by some government guarantee. Too many have become so comfortable in their cages and tamed that they might as well not have teeth or claws. The zoo keeper has no need to fear.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Paine's "Common Sense" and "The Rights of Man" were the inspiration of the American Revolution. The 'American mind' as Adams called it was where the revolution really lay. For a thousand years (and more) the common man was but a subservient beast of burden -- subservient to whatever Church was in power at the time, subservient to whatever Crown was seated on the throne -- obedience was the creed of millions. When the idea that man was born with natural born 'rights' took hold in early America, the revolution had begun. Rights to speech, religion, property, self-defense, self-determination were unheard of. They are individual rights -- that is what individualism is, not every man for himself and let the most powerful mob rule. Is it dangerous to be an individual, Waffler? It shouldn't have to be. Talk about a sycophant (what a great word!).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The weak are unable to unite. A person who is always trying to stress his individualism is a person who really does not have any. Thus it is he/they that are in a cage of their own psychological making It is a sad mental illness. Healthy individuals have no problem in joining with others in common cause. Ken I think you have momentarily forgotten our brave and honored service people who I believe the world wonders at and looks up to for their steadfast service. Such bravery and service is not fostered by a nation like you guys try to depict as totally dysfunctional but by a nation these warriors love and respect. Would be nice to see a little love and respect here rather than secessh, traitorious, sentiments. Some cannot say or feel such things due to their weak sense of self or individuality and fear of being a servile flatterer.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Archer, well said.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Waffler, your ramblings make no sense.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Waffler, do not be so stupid (wait, too late) as to think that unity to freedom and liberty is disunion to our country. Your "strength through Unity, unity through faith" Hitleresque (totalitarian) subservience is laughable, you ignorant Tory. We are bound by the Constitution, and there isn't a so-called "traitor" here that would not give their life for the ideals of a Constitutional Republic wherein we are guaranteed by that magnificent charter. You throw around words like "unite" and "traitor" like catchy lyrics to a Barbra Streisand concert, but (as you have shown us from day one) you lack the historical, philosophical, or basic understanding of history to even apply their basic meaning. "The weak are unable to unite"? Are you trying to come off as Karl Marx? Help us understand your inanity! I've warped my brain trying to understand your meanderings, and have even had students and professors take a look at some of your comments (all of which have been thoroughly laughed at). Leaving aside the writing styles of everyone who contributes to this blog and yourself, there is no scholastic reasoning in any of your arguments. Everything you have espoused spits in the face of the spirit of America and the foundations wherein this great country was established! You call us dis-unified traitors, because we pledge our loyalty and lives to the Constitutional Republic? You are sick! Mentally healthy people can logically see the reason behind the Enlightenment (which you have failed from the very beginning to understand -- perhaps willingly?), even they disagree with it. Your argument only redefines what the Enlightenment sought to establish -- not to see it for what it was. You want to change the course of history and nature with what you believe is the best way, that's fine! If you want to believe that Democracies are the best organizations, that's great! But don't re-write history and put words in the mouths of the Founding Fathers who hated such an asinine form of government as you continually regurgitate. While you may not promote Monarchy, most certainly, you are a Tory at heart.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Archer, I agree. Talk not of those you know not and for what reason they doeth. Talk not of courageous souls whose shoes you have not trodden. Talk not of treachery on those fair souls of dissent. Our churches are full of sycophants, so are our corridors of power. Our boys and girls who fight our wars are brave and courageous – their sweat and pain along the road to victory or defeat is heartfelt. Their supreme sacrifice is not to be diminished in any way – they are indeed on a chess-board whose moves are made by unscrupulous individuals – it is so sad they fight wars for unprincipled and unethical politicians and greedy corporate executives. Waffler, If you really are patriotic and love our troops you should join us in our quest to bring them home - this is not their war.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    The gibberish from Logan and his academic censors is hideous. Especially from one who recites the mantra of "republic" without even knowing what it means. My love of democracy is the same as people like Churchill and Bush etcetera and numerous others who know it to be a government of free give and take of public opinion in a free speech marketplace. My point Robert about our military fights is that these fighters are loyal to the Union and the government that runs it (that is us). The whiners on this site who speak of secession, disunion, and let us cast off this state or that state that they don't like. These sentiments are traitorious. Let us call a spade a spade. Now if you wish to change our government, reduce its' size, or change its' policies, lets have decent conversations about it. The use of definitions that differ from the dictionary, or a private "shop talk" vocabulary is not useful. Words like "republic and sovereign" etcetera. Logan socializes with the wrong academics. Sounds like maybe he communicates with Pepperdine U. Archer it is you I am talking about as being a failure at being an individual. The fact that you fight so hard to be one means you are not one. How simple can I make it. "Unity to freedom and liberty" now that is a weird construction.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    "Unity to freedom and liberty" now that is a weird construction, almost as weird and cute as "the United States is a republic not a democracy". Run these by your so called academic friends Logan.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waffler, I AM an individual -- there is no trying -- it is the natural state of man. I do not subject myself to your Orwellian ideals of 'group-think' and 'thought-crimes.' Sentiments cannot be traitorous, speech cannot be traitorous -- there are no crimes of speech or thought, only actions. My God, you are dense. You propose free speech as long as it doesn't conflict with your opinions -- then call them traitors -- typical BS. Sometimes I think you must be a closet Libertarian too afraid to live up to what you know to be right and simply play devil's advocate to justify your lifetime of fatalist collusion. I always have hope that your waffling will result in acceptance of the plain facts and unite with those who value the rights of man and the (un)common sense of personal Liberty and the responsibility that comes with it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    ..laughs.. Waffler, I like you. Your guessing as to what University I'm associated with is comical, but way off base. I have had many, many, many conversations with students and professors alike who have actually read American history and understand the evolution of philosophy and who readily agree with me (and that's if they ever had a reservation before -- which the majority agrees with me before hand). Not all political science, international relations, and philosophy students and professors are the same-- most likely because of the differentiation of how different each field is. However, a unity is found between each science and understanding when speaking with actual scholastic individuals who know of what they're speaking (unlike yourself). Educated students and professors acknowledge everything Archer, Mike, myself and others have been saying concerning the foundations of America; however, where they differentiate is not in the historical record, but in whether or not what our founders and the philosophers of the time established the "perfect" organization or thought. They are educated enough to ask themselves "were the founding fathers really so wise?", and then create their own models in response. Such an endeavor requires an actual (or at least an attempted) understanding of what happened hundreds of years before our founding began, what happened directly before our founding, during our founding, and how it has evolved since then (something that you have no idea). How does thought evolve? Unless you know this, you cannot know anything. Because they understand the foundations, beginnings, and evolution of Republics and Democracies, these professors and students have absolutely no problem acknowledging everything I purport -- why? Because it is COMMON KNOWLEDGE!!! You can re-write history all you want and twist it and contort it to your view of the world -- but that is not intelligence. Understand things for what they were, and then create a solid argument as to why you purport something different; otherwise, you're a fool who no one here takes seriously.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    WOW! This has become a take no prisoners environment and I'm glad to see it. I'm guessing that "Waffler" is a name taken to define a stance that is rarely a stance in the classic sense. When you face off, first, you must plant your feet, assume the stance, etc. "Archer" could be a name or an approach. I'm guessing the latter. "Logan" brings to mind "Logan's Run" and I make no guess. As to Tom Paine, we all know who he was. Our "Che." He didn't hang around here very long before he was off to France. Sound at all like Che to anyone? Paine spoke of the "sunshine patriot," and knew whereof he spoke. In that long, long journey from "The Fertile Crescent" to Lexington, MA; we study the march of Western Civilization even as it continues this very second, in some ways, in this blog. The USA is the current experiment in progress. There are others, but "the shot heard round the world" was fired here and the echoes remain. Initially, I was going to simply suggest that Paine was making an obvious, fundamental statement and draw a parallel to what G. W. Bush said following 9/11; that other nations were either with us or against us. I still feel that way. That's why I said it. I will be interested in any thoughts that come my way. For the record, my name is Wulff and it traces back to somewhere in Germany and there is an official there who shares that name and I have no idea if we might be related. God bless America!
     -- J. B. Wulff, Bristol, CT     
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    Waffler, your "love of democracy" is symptomatic of your complete inability to think critically or analyze anything to a logical conclusion...if voting made a difference (it doesn't) it would be illegal. Restore the Republic.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Buck Ofama in 2012!!!
     -- Byron, Fort Collins     
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    Waffer, many would love ta meet ya.........In person, to look into your eyes, and look to see, if there is a brain there
     -- Kimo, USA     
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    Waffler is as useful as tits on a boar! As for the rest of you, how many know we are British subjects and Bill gates wants to expedite our demise with vaccines, and the Fed said their system "works (us) only with credit" that would keep its value "if there were fewer people bidding against each other."
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis     
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    J Carlton, I love your comment on voting.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    Waffler sounds like somebody about to loose his/her job. Scarcity mindset. Secular humanist, in constant fear of the people, knowing, no one ever likes the tax man. The experiment started long ago moves forward. The paradigm shift. Dependent to Independence. Paine cuts to the bone ! Love it. Mercy and Truth have met and kissed ! Liberty and Freedom are the result. A merciful group of men Our Founding Fathers. A Just Balance is our Creators delight. His Spirit Eternal to all generation. There is a very good reason we are who we are. Sovereign Individuals ordained of God for his purpose in grace.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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    And there you have it; a quote from one of the fathers of the violent response to the peaceful and volentary exchange. This quote is as outdated as your Second Amendment and should also be retired.
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
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    What is absolutely a frightening thought is the idea of how many are out there that actually think and speak in the Waffler narrative.
    They like Waffler love their Masters and only wish to have more of the collective chains added to their burdens.
    Individual Unalienable Rights and Freedoms are a true anomaly in their collective trapped mind-sets.
     -- Mary-MI     
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    Logan Strikes a resounding chord " Perfect " organization or/of thought. Yes our Founding Fathers were that wise. Perfection being found at its source. " Simplicity ". from the Greek, ( Haplotes, singleness, sincerity without dissimulation or self seeking. Generosity a copious bestowal-bountifulness. Liberal, liberality, simplicity, singleness. The thought of sincerity is present. The word means " simple single " and is translated Bountifulness. From sincerity of mind springs Liberality. ( Haplous, singleness, ( as a particle of Union ) to be braided or woven together. Clearly folded together. Being used in a moral sense, said of the eye, " singleness of purpose keeps us from the snare of having a double treasure and consequently a divided heart. As the akakos has no harmfulness in him, and the adolos no guile, so the akeraios no foreign mixture, and the haplous no folds within which to hide something. This showing that the Yoke of necessity need no Extra burden. Our founding Fathers, instilling wisdom and understanding of a Most Merciful Declaration and Constitution of intent.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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    " We the People of the United States, in Order to form a More Perfect Union "
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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    A unified effort of Completion. ( Plerophoreo, to bring in Full Measure to fulfill. Pleroo, to execute an office to fulfill a task which coincides with a prediction. Also translated " perfect " in fullness of time, knowledge, comfort, joy. Subjective fact. to be fully persuaded.
    Colossians 1:25.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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