Modern Sense (Part IIIb)
(With absolutely no apologies to Thomas Paine)

by Edgar J. Steele

January 8, 2003

Ye that oppose independance now, ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant the seat of government.  There are thousands and tens of thousands; who would think it glorious to expel from the continent, that barbarous and hellish power, which hath stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us; the cruelty hath a double guilt, it is dealing brutally by us, and treacherously by them.
    ---Thomas Paine, "Common Sense" (Feb 1776)

Preface (to each of the four parts)

There are a remarkable number of parallels between pre-Revolutionary America and the America of today.  It is disquieting how, in the writings of that time, our founding fathers might have been speaking directly to this generation of Americans.  Then again, I do not believe in coincidence so perhaps, in a sense, they were.

How appropriate that those of us who advocate a return to the ideals of those days are called "patriots," a word which has taken on as derisive a meaning when mouthed by government agents today as those uttered about our forebears by King George's men during the first American revolution.  

Nor is it coincidence that those of us labeled as "patriots" wear the mark with respect and honor.  I count myself proudly among their number and pray only that my work be worthy of inclusion.

It takes some effort to update the founding fathers' works to modern forms of language and phrasing, but the result is nothing short of amazing, particularly when we replace "England" with "Federal Government" and "King George" with "The President."

I have presumed to do just that in this series with Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," a four-part work written and published in early 1776 as part of a broad effort to convince the American settlers to declare independence from England.  

In several places, I have retained Paine's wording intact, where it has particular impact in its original form.  In others, I have edited and rephrased mercilessly, while trying to hew to the apparent intent of his argument, though updated to apply to modern circumstances.  

I do not suggest that this is an improvement upon what Thomas Paine had to say.  I believe only that this is how he might have said it, were he alive today and speaking of the grotesquerie that our government has become.

As you read this section, you might find it useful to contrast it with its counterpart in the original "Common Sense."  One of many on-line sources for Thomas Paine's "Common Sense":  http://www.federalobserver.com/words.php?words=1299 .  I have maintained the original's organization and structure in this rewrite, in order to facilitate direct comparison.

To the Inhabitants of America
on the following interesting subjects

I. Of the origin and design of government in general, with concise remarks on the American Constitution. (released 12/26/02) 

II. Of the imperial presidency and hereditary succession. (released 12/28/02) 

III. Thoughts on the present state of American affairs. (subpart a released 1/2/03; subpart b released 1/8/03; subpart c to be released)

IV. Of the present ability of America, with some miscellaneous reflections. (to be released)

Part IIIb:  Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.

Many in America are fortunate in being physically removed from the growing tyranny and injustice meted out by the Federal government.  The evil is not yet close enough to their doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all of America is now possessed.

Those more passive than others look lightly upon the many recent offenses of the Federal government and, hoping for the best, are apt to say, "Come, come, we shall be friends again, for all this."  But, consider human nature and tell me whether you can hereafter, love, honor and serve the power that has brought such manifest injustice and tyranny to America.  If you cannot do this, then you are deceiving yourself and, by your delay, bringing ruin upon your posterity.

Your future allegiance to this government will be forced and unnatural and, being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in time fall into a state more wretched than now.

If you say that you can overlook the transgressions, I ask:  

Has your home been taken from you because you were unable to pay the property taxes they demanded?  

Has your son been arrested and held in a secret place, without charges, now subject to torture and summary execution because he has been labeled an "enemy combatant" by a Federal bureaucrat?  

Have your children been denied admission to a decent school in the name of affirmative action?  

Have you been denied employment in favor of those whose only qualification is their skin color?  

Have your grandchildren been stolen by the state on trumped-up allegations of child abuse, the sole basis for which is the fact that they are not fat...or are home schooled...or are Christians?  

Have your wages been taken in the form of taxes and given to illegal immigrants in the form of medicine, schooling and housing, none of which you can afford your own family in equal measure?  

Have your brothers and sisters been executed in a fiery conflagration such as Waco because they dared to be different?  

Has your son been shot in the back, like Randy Weaver's?

If you have not, then you are not a judge of those who have.  But, if you have, and still can 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.

 I do not conjure up the horror of everyday life experienced by some Americans for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from our slumber.  It is not in the power of the Federal government to enslave us if we do not enslave ourselves by delay and timidity.  The season now upon us is worth an age if rightly employed; if neglected, every American will suffer the misfortune that today inflicts the few among us.

It is repugnant to reason that America should longer remain subject to the grasping power that its central government has gathered to itself.  Reconciliation to this government is a false dream.  As Milton wisely said, "never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep."

Every quiet method for peace has been ineffectual.  Our pleas have been rejected with disdain by the courts at every level.  Our petitions have only tended to convince us that nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in our government more than repeated petitioning.  Nothing has contributed more than such pointless entreaties to the consolidation of power by Kings in other countries in times past.  Since it appears that nothing but blows will do, let us come to a final separation and not leave the next generation to be cutting throats for the sake of violated family members.

It is not in the power of the Federal government to do America justice.  It has become too weighty, intricate and inextricably bound up with the affairs of all men to afford even a modicum of the freedom upon which America was founded.  There was a time when a central government over us all was proper...and there is a proper time for it to cease.

There is something absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island the size of the District of Columbia.  In no instance has nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet.  As America now reverses the common order of nature, it is obvious the time has come to effect a separation between America, for those who wish to extend the current state of affairs, and New America, for those who wish to reenter the constitutional republic that once was all of America.

I am not moved by motives of pride, party or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence.  I am clearly and conscientiously persuaded that it is in the best interest of all Americans to effect this separation; that anything short of separation is mere patchwork that will afford no lasting peace; that it is leaving the sword to our children and shrinking back at a time when a little farther, a little more, would deliver to this continent a lasting peace.

As the Federal government has manifested not the least inclination toward a compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy of acceptance or justifying the tyranny and injustice to which we already have been subjected.

If all of America must take up arms, if every man must be a soldier, it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible ministry only.  Dearly would we pay for the repeal of Acts and Executive Orders, if that is all for which we fight.  It is as great a folly to pay a Civil War price for law, as for land.  The inevitability of this government's demise, whether by hands domestic or foreign, makes the waging of war against our own government like the wasting of an estate upon a lawsuit to evict a tenant whose lease is just expiring.

No man wished more to work within the system than myself, before the fatal eleventh of September 2001.  The moment the events of that day were made known to have occurred, at minimum, by sufferance of our own government, I rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Executive Branch of American government forever.  Taken together with the sure knowledge of our government's complicity in the Oklahoma City Bombing, Waco and Ruby Ridge, along with a host of lesser-known indignities to our national conscience, I disdain the wretch with the pretended title, Father of His People, that he can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.

But, even assuming we could make our peace with the Federal government today, what would be the result?  I answer, the ruin of America, still - for several reasons:

First, the powers of governing still being concentrated in the hands of the President, he will have a negative influence over the whole legislation of America.  As each occupant of that office for the past 150 years has shown himself to be such an inveterate enemy to liberty, and discovered such a thirst for arbitrary power, the President is not a proper man to say, "You shall make no laws but what I please."  

Is there any inhabitant in America so ignorant as not to know that, despite the American Constitution, no laws can be made but that to which the President gives leave?  After all is said and done, can there be any doubt but the whole power of the Federal government will be exerted to keep the common man as low, subservient and humble as possible?  We are already freer than the President wishes us to be; will he not hereafter endeavor to make us less so?

Is the power that is so suspicious of our freedom a proper power to govern us?  Whoever says "No!" to this question is a separatist, for separation means no more than whether we shall make our own laws or whether the Presidency, which is among the greatest enemies this continent has, shall tell us, "There shall be no laws but such as I like."

The citizenry of America is only secondary in the system of American politics.  The Federal government advances the good of the people no farther than serves its own purposes.  Our government's interest leads it to suppress the growth of ours in every case which does not promote its own advantage or in the least interferes with it.

To show that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine, consider the following:  it would be advisable for the President at this time to repeal the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and the many Executive Orders issued which have further bound the population of America, for the sake of reingratiating himself with all the people of America.  That way, he might accomplish, via artifice and subtlety, in the long run, that which he will not be able to do by force and violence in the short one.  Reconciliation and ruin are nearly one and the same.

Second, even the best terms which we can hope to obtain amount to no more than a temporary expedient, which can last no longer than until America is taken by force by its foreign enemies, whose number have become legion.  Even now, citizens have begun to dispose of their effects, moving to remote portions of the country, with some emigrating to other countries altogether.

But, the most powerful of arguments is that nothing but true separation of America will keep the peace and preserve it inviolate from civil war.  I dread the event of reconciliation with the Federal government now, as it is more than probable that it will be followed by a revolt somewhere or other, the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Washington, DC.

---------------------------------

Future installments to be released in this series:

Part IIIc. Thoughts on the present state of American affairs.

Part IV:  Of the present ability of America, with some miscellaneous reflections.

New America - an idea whose time has come.

-ed

"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus

Copyright ©2003 Edgar J. Steele

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