"SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one ..."
Thomas Paine (more quotes by Thomas Paine or books by/about Thomas Paine)
(1737-1809) US Founding father, pamphleteer, author
Common Sense, February 14, 1776
Character, Economics, Entitlements, Government, Happiness, Punishment, Regulation, Society, Vice