Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Thomas Paine Tea Partiers Overlook...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

It has always been a question of mine. How exactly have the tea party conservatives who so admire and quote Thomas Paine managed to overlook this pamphlet and its contents? Maybe most have never been aware of its existence? Or, perhaps it has been by design?

In the winter of 1795-96 Thomas Paine wrote his last great pamphlet, "Agrarian Justice." The pamphlet was first published in French in Paris. An English edition was brought out in 1797.

In this pamphlet Paine advocated the creation of a social insurance scheme for the aged and for young people just starting out in life. The benefits were to be paid from a national fund accumulated for this purpose. The fund was to be financed by a 10% tax on inherited property. A tax on inherited property was used due to Paine's general philosophy of property rights. Although he based his social insurance scheme on a line of argument that might sound quaint in the present era, in other respects his plan was quite modern, recognizing the problem of income security for the elderly, and the desirability of creating a national fund for this purpose.

You can find the full text of Paine's Agrarian Justice HERE.


  1. Thomas Paine is like the bible. As long as you pick and choose what phrases you want to believe, he (it) says whatever you want. TPs are good at soundbites without looking at context, background, or implementations.

    1. It's dubious in general to cite people like Paine, and yet support a good half or so of today's conservative agenda and/or rhetoric. You can pick out several striking contrasts in the above citation alone. The Tea Party movement is a deeply unpleasant thing. A manifestation of a deep paranoid aversion to change.


  2. They pick the Paine quotes they like and ignore the others. That's what Glenn Beck does, at least. What really puzzles me is that someone who says he reads Ayn Rand (and finds something of value in her philosophy) would be an advocate of "benevolent capitalism". To me, a "social insurance scheme for... young people just starting out in life" seems like Bernie Sanders territory. Certainly not Republican or even Democratic territory. Or Libertarian/Objectivist territory.

    1. It is what it is. I haven't time or the inclination explain. Suffice it to say I find value in many things and a lack of value in others.


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