History

Now Are The Times That Try Men's Souls! (Wasn't Paine an Atheist?)

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Over at When Falls the Coliseum, Scott Stein conjures up the ghost of Tom Paine and recalls this quote, which seems muy appropriate as the Herculeses and Atlases and Athenas of Congress plow toward completion of health care reform that is not only stupid but wildly unpopular with those of us who will pay for it and suffer it:

Men who look upon themselves as born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

Stein glosses:

Paine's words describe the entire political class — career politicians and bureaucrats of both major parties with enough ego to want to govern….Think of members of Congress who voted for a thousand-page bill that they have not read (and even if they have) confidently explaining how this will improve the lives of people subject to their whims, subject to the votes they cast in an act of party loyalty or as a political trade in order to receive funding for their home state or support for their own pet projects.

Whole bit here.