Consider Thomas Paine – my two cents

I am working on an ethics paradigm right now – while continuing to deliver tech. I’m sort of following my man Malcolm’s lead: “The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.”  When asked by the Village Voice, “Wake them up to their exploitation?”, he clarified, “No, to their humanity, to their own worth, and to their heritage.”  He later added, “We have got to get over the brainwashing we had.”

I am agnostic at the moment as to whether there is even a need to worry about organization or governance in the future. It seems a lot of bright minds think differently.  While I won’t be participating in that debate, I do have two cents to offer to those  engaging.

The First non-plantation-owning President of the United States, John Adams, said: “Without Thomas Paine, there is no American Revolution.”

The President who abolished slavery and united a hopelessly divided nation, Abraham Lincoln, said: “I never tire of reading old Tom Paine.”

If America had not been created, and liberated through the Second revolution of the mid 1800s, would Scientology have ever been discovered?

I think it makes sense for all those engaged in considering concepts of organization or governance to do some study of the real architect of many of the freedoms we enjoy today.

In particular I highly recommend, The Age of Reason, Common Sense, and The Rights of Man – all by Thomas Paine. Here is a Paine quote  to whet your intellectual appetites:

To understand the nature and quantity of government proper for man, it is necessary to attend to his character. As Nature created him for social life, she fitted him for the station she intended. In all cases she made his natural wants greater than his individual powers. No one man is capable, without the aid of society, of supplying his own wants; and those wants, acting upon every individual, impel the whole of them into society, as naturally as gravitation acts to a centre.

“But she has gone further. She has not only forced man into society by a diversity of wants which the reciprocal aid of each other can supply, but she has implanted in him a system of social affections, which, though not necessary to his existence, are essential to his happiness. There is no period in life when this love for society ceases to act. It begins and ends with our being.

“If we examine with attention into the composition and constitution of man, the diversity of his wants, and the diversity of talents in different men for reciprocally accommodating the wants of each other, his propensity to society, and consequently to preserve the advantages resulting from it, we shall easily discover, that a great part of what is called government is mere imposition.

“Government is no farther necessary than to supply the few cases to which society and civilization are not conveniently competent; and instances are not wanting to show, that everything which government can usefully add thereto, has been performed by the common consent of society, without government.

“For upwards of two years from the commencement of the American War, and to a longer period in several of the American States, there were no established forms of government. The old governments had been abolished, and the country was too much occupied in defence to employ its attention in establishing new governments; yet during this interval order and harmony were preserved as inviolate as in any country in Europe. There is a natural aptness in man, and more so in society, because it embraces a greater variety of abilities and resource, to accomodate itself to whatever situation it is in. The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act: a general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.

“So far is it from being true, as has been pretended, that the abolition of any formal government is the dissolution of society, that it acts by a contrary impulse, and brings the latter closer together.  All that part of its organisation which it had committed to its government, devolves again upon itself, and acts through its medium. When men, as well from natural instinct as from reciprocal benefits, have habituated themselves to social and civilised life, there is always enough of its principles in practice to carry through any changes they find necessary or convenient to make in their government. In short, man is so naturally a creature of society that it is almost impossible to put him out of it.”

– from Chapter One, The Rights Of Man

9 responses to “Consider Thomas Paine – my two cents

  1. If it wasn’t for Tom Paine there wouldn’t have been an American Revolution. His tract “Common Sense” was one of the most influential publications of the time.

    I’d say you are carrying on that great tradition as well 🙂

  2. Most of Scientology Policy has the same basis as the original American viewpoints. But just as the Constitution has been basterdized so has Policy. The twisting of both irritate. So I try to stay true to both. It is not always easy, but it is interesting.

  3. I’d be curious to hear the ethics paradigm you are puzzling on. LRH phrased it as “The efforts
    of a theta being to reconcile the frailty of a MEST body with the ethics of a theta being. They do not reconcile, these two.”

    So it seems to me that any effort to TRY to resolve these 2 things just results in a PTP/No case gain kind of situation. They don’t change until a being changes their mind. And we know how “right” some beings can be. Not to go too far off-topic, but another paradigm is the balance of individual vs group rights. The SO has embraced “its the bank that says the group is everything and the individual nothing” backwards (as they have most things currently), while the other end of the pendulum swing is obsessive individuation.

  4. It’s obvious that old Tom Paine didn’t anticipate how nasty things would get after the French Revolution (which was partly fomented by the cost of helping the founding fathers win the American one). He almost got his head chopped off in France in 1794, but was saved by the timely execution of his arch enemy Robespierre.

    Robespierre came up with some interesting Doublespeak to justify the Reign of Terror in his Report on the Principles of Political Morality, given on 5 February, 1794:

    “If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country. … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.”

  5. Tom,
    As I mentioned in another post, I watched this documentary on writer Dalton Trumbo the other day. He had to confron the McCarthy committee in the 50s and wouldn’t answer what they were cooercing him to answer. He claimed the First Amendment rights granted under the Constitution. (Not Fifth).

    From there he was blacklisted and refused work.

    He commented that the Committee used economic force to cooerce a compromise of his integrity. Trumbo remarked what an effective tool it was too, as he faced the dilemma of his own honor versus feeding and clothing his wife and family. He did choose the former but at no small cost.

    It struck me that what you point out here is a similar dilemma. Ethics of a theta being call for personal integrity while the pressures of economics, which are the issues of feeding, clothing, caring for a body, a family, one’s job so he can do these, and so on, push him to compromise.

    DM’s threats to one’s future are similar but even more difficult I think, which is why so many find themselves in the dilemma. He’s doing what MEST does-force agreement under pain. In this case spiritual duress is used and with that understanding, the above quote, Dalton Trumbo’s story, the experiences of many who have come under this House Committee for Un-Miscavigalogical Activities, one can spot the game.

    One can see what it is that troubles those who can’t confront the personal integrity issues. Rather one can see the problem and their difficulty in reconciling it.

    Those who have opted for personal integrity have made it over this hump. A great spiritual accomplishment.

    To those who haven’t yet, and those who aren’t even aware they are in this problem, it’s a lot nicer on the other side.

    Dalton Trumbo went on to win Oscars, under pseudonyms, later under his own name. He wrote the screenplay for Spartacus. The great slave revolt.

  6. martyrathbun09

    I could not agree more, Jim.

  7. Eldon,
    Seems Robespierre talks of the fine edge of virtuous terror, were more difficult to walk, especially the fine edge aspect.

    The above quote lays out a concept in action that is something I’m sure DM considers as axiomatic. The PDCs talk of the pitfalls of a force universe, the reverse vectors, the overt and the motivator and traps of sundry description.

    The idea being always senior to force may account for Tom Paine’s legacy and Robespierre headless and known for the Reign of Terror.

  8. It was not only the French, the British government went after old Tom Paine too, if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of Paine’s friend (mystical poet William Blake) who tipped him off and spirited him out of the country, he would have been hung for treason. He is still, to this day, listed within the top ten British traitors of all time.

    Once the American Revolution had been won, some powerful political figures black PR’d the living daylights out of him too, based mainly on his religious views or lack of them. I suspect Washington and one or two others protected Paine against a more terrible fate.

    I guess some people fear truth and old Tom Paine spoke it.

    I agree with Marty and old Tom Paine, there should be a minimum amount of government in the future of Scientology, just enough to carry out those things we cannot do for ourselves as individuals.

    Look at one example of how LRH operated, he trained a posse of BC grads and sent them out into the world and let them get on with it. From that action huge Missions grew. That was minimal government as far as the mission network was concerned, just one small office at Worldwide “ran” the whole thing.

  9. T Paine knows Thomas Paine.

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