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Myron Magnet
Tom Paine’s Two Radicalisms « Back to Story

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This is a beautiful essay--gracefully written, balanced, fair, and perceptive.

I am an AP U.S. History teacher, and this essay has provided valuable insights to my understanding of our Revolutionary and Federal periods.
I would like to thank Myron Magnet for the clarity of his writing and the depth of political perceptions in his interpretation of american history.
Our founding fathers did struggle with the exact language to express their beliefs in the Declaration of Independance and the subsequent body of laws
which created the solid foundation upon which nation is built.
The long road to civil freedoms is paved with the blood of sacrifice of others so that we today can enjoy or quality of life. We all need constant reminders of how it all came to be. Thank you again.
I suggest it was Quesnay and Turgot and not Rousseau who most influenced Paine's idealism. He, like Benjamin Franklin, embraced physiocratic principles. This was the basis for his call that ground rent be collected from those who controlled land. Turgot went further, arguing against the taxation of earned income and the physical assets people produced. To the extent Paine concurred, he held libertarian views regarding non-landed property and quasi-socialist views regarding land rent. I say quasi-socialist because of Paine's call for a citizens dividend coming out of collected ground rents.
Worthy of Hayek himself! Great work!
Worthy of Hayek himself! Great work!
Interesting and informative article - thanks!

I really love the quote from Paine you use, “Some people can be reasoned into sense, and others must be shocked into it. Say a bold thing that will stagger them, and they will begin to think.” He wrote that to his fellow Deist Elihu Palmer congratulating Palmer on his book Principles Of Nature which did not pull any punches when it came to "revealed"/hearsay religions. When Paine wrote The Age of Reason about God, Deism and religion, he did not pull any punches and wrote it in a bold way to stagger his readers and to get them to think.
This observation by Paine struck me as particularly insightful ~“The present age will . . . be called the Age of Reason.” People are beginning to see that all the old reverences and loyalties are mere mystifications, myths disguising and justifying oppressive realities. And “once the veil begins to rend, it admits not of repair. Ignorance is of a peculiar nature: and once dispelled, it is impossible to re-establish it. . . . Though man may be kept ignorant, he cannot be made ignorant.” As soon as people see through a mystique, its power evaporates."
Thank you Mr. Magnet for such a thought provoking article. I do have one question though. How did a country such as France, produce a Charles de Montesquieu, whose writings are the basis of our constitution?
Thank you for a great article--- a great history lesson. I will forward it to friends, and plan to re-read it. A keeper.

I look forward to reading your new book, "The Founders at Home."
What an article! I shall re-read it a few times to better understand it, and it's implications for today's world. Hopefully, you, Myron Magnet, will find the time to write similar articles about other individuals who shaped the American form of social organization. Is it not true the history of a nation is the history of those individuals who shape it?