Writing in the Guardian, Christopher Hitchens recalls fondly the life, death, and resonance of Tom Paine:
No president was to call upon Paine again until Ronald Reagan tried to enlist him in a quasi-libertarian campaign to reduce the size of government and to take on the moribund Soviet empire. "We have it in our power," he said, picking up one of Paine's more dubious statements, "to begin the world over again." This sort of emulation and plagiarism is a very particular kind of flattery, because it promotes Paine's work to that exalted company shared by the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, which recur to the mind in times of stress, or of need, or even of joy. In a time when both rights and reason are under several kinds of open and covert attack, the life and writing of Thomas Paine will always be part of the arsenal on which we shall need to depend.
Hitchens' lengthy essay on "Rights of Man" here.
Hitchens' legendary 2001 interview with Reason here.