BornLib's Blog

Life, Liberty, and the Firearms that protect them both

How Thomas Paine is being completely taken out of context

with 4 comments

This image and quote from Thomas Paine is being circulated around the net by leftists who are still trying to do damage control from Obama’s “You didn’t build that” attack on business owners.


That quote was taken from a pamphlet Paine wrote during the time of his support of the French Revolution titled, “Thomas Payne à La Législature et au Directoire. Ou la Justice Agraire opposée à la Loi Agraire, et aux privilèges agraires. Prix 15 sols. À Paris, chez la citoyenne Ragouleau, près le Théâtre de la République, No. 229. Et chez les Marchands de Nouveautés.” has it here.

Here is the context that was omitted by the left when they started this meme.  From the introduction of the pamphlet, emphasis mine:

Liberty and Property are words expressing all those of our possessions which are not of an intellectual nature. There are two kinds of property. Firstly, natural property, or that which comes to us from the Creator of the universe,—such as the earth, air, water. Secondly, artificial or acquired property,—the invention of men. In the latter equality is impossible; for to distribute it equally it would be necessary that all should have contributed in the same proportion, which can never be the case; and this being the case, every individual would hold on to his own property, as his right share. Equality of natural property is the subject of this little essay. Every individual in the world is born therein with legitimate claims on a certain kind of property, or its equivalent.

This is a direct refutation of everything Obama and the left stand for.

Written by BornLib

September 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

4 Responses

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  1. “Land, as before said, is the free gift of the Creator in common to the human race. Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

    Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.”

    When the entire essay is read, I do not know how anyone could claim that President Obama’s policy are in disagreement with it.

    Julie Rockefeller

    January 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

    • *policies, I mean. Proofread, proofread, proofread.

      Julie Rockefeller

      January 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

    • Easy. Society and government are not the same thing.


      January 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      • Paine’s essay “Agrarian Justice” was all about government. He was outlining a plan to “create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property: And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.” He suggests a detailed plan for establishing this fund, and laws to be enacted to regulate this fund.

        And although not in the specific quote shown in the graphic above (which is incomplete and therefor incomprehensible), Paine does use the word ‘government’ in this essay. For example:

        “Despotic government supports itself by abject civilization, in which debasement of the human mind, and wretchedness in the mass of the people, are the chief criterions. Such governments consider man merely as an animal; that the exercise of intellectual faculty is not his privilege; that he has nothing to do with the laws but to obey them; and they politically depend more upon breaking the spirit of the people by poverty, than they fear enraging it by desperation.

        It is a revolution in the state of civilization that will give perfection to Revolution of France. Already the conviction that government by representation is the true system of government is spreading itself fast in the world. The reasonableness of it can be seen by all. The justness of it makes itself felt even by its opposers. But when a system of civilization, (growing out of that system of government) shall be so organized that not a man or woman born in the Republic but shall inherit some means of beginning the world, and see before them the certainty of escaping the miseries that under other governments accompany old age, the Revolution of France will have an advocate and an ally in the heart of all nations.

        An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot; it will succeed where diplomatic management would fall: it is neither the Rhine, the Channel, nor the ocean that can arrest its progress: it will march on the horizon of the world, and it will conquer.”

        Julie Rockefeller

        January 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm

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