"If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey, and permits none to escape without a tribute….
"The amazing and still increasing expenses with which old governments are conducted, the numerous wars they engage in or provoke, the embarrassments they throw in the way of universal civilization and commerce, and the oppression and usurpation they act at home, have wearied out the patience, and exhausted the property of the world."
Some words of wisdom from Thomas Paine, the anti-Christian, pro-booze, logorrheic Christopher Hitchens of the Founders. Today's Libertarian Moment of Zen was brought to you by Liberty Fund, on whose dime I am currently attending a conference on the author of Common Sense, The Crisis, and the words above, from Rights of Man.
Me on Tom Paine here.
UPDATE: Greatest. Comment. Ever.
From a Finnish reason reader: "When I went to look Paine up in the university library catalogue. Ironically, right below him in the author index was Paineastialainsäädäntötoimikunta, the beautiful 32-letter Finnish word roughly translating to "The Committee for the Regulation of and Legislation on Pressurized Vessels". It is unclear if this means pressure cookers or submarines or what, but I'm sure they have come with ingenious ways to tax air pressure."