Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Marxist_Trash, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. Ringel05
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    Ringel05 Diamond Member

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    I found one book extremely enlightening, after decades of observing/learning about human behavior, human psychology and history which (I believe) helped me put things in perspective. That book is Sir John Glubb's Fate of Empires which is roughly translated by the Life Cycle of Empires stages;
    1. The age of outburst (or pioneers).
    2. The age of conquests.
    3. The age of commerce.
    4. The age of affluence.
    5. The age of intellect.
    6. The age of decadence.
    7. The age of decline and collapse.
    This is true for all great powers. Also look at the historical outcomes of all geopolitical and sociopolitical upheavals, the intended aims are always corrupted, most often in the fight itself.
    Now the statement that history always repeats itself is true, granted not exactly the same as the eras before but along the same lines. I believe the founding of this nation was a (somewhat) happy accident considering the contentious debate the Continental Congress had not only over the drafting of the Declaration of Independence but just getting to the point where all thirteen colonies agreed to finally declare independence. The Articles of Confederation and ultimately the Constitution were only possible because all sides were willing to reach compromises, compromises that would and occasionally still do come back to haunt us. It is what it is and we can't go back in time and change it or even warn them of the consequences we can only move forward, sideways, backwards, up, down or all at the same time.
    Fight your "good fight", know that there will always be those who will oppose you just as you oppose them as they fight their "good fight" and so on, and so on, and so on. Oh and watch out for the truly crazy and well meaning fucks who will steal your ideal and turn it into something horrific. Oh and Trump's not one of them, he doesn't have that kind of charisma and power.
     
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  2. SeaGal
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    SeaGal Gold Member

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    I know what the authors, contemporaries of Paine, of one of our founding documents have to say about it -

    'When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'

    As for compensation, being paid for existing (http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm)- if that was Paine's goal, I believe he'd be pleased with Europe and the US today, in that respect. Margaret Thatcher once made an excellent point regarding income inequality, which has become a rallying cry among some of those who would take Paine's thoughts out of context.

    Though Paine was obviously referring to material compensation, the tangible - the entitlement, the unalienable rights man is endowed with, by a force of nature greater than civilizations rules, refers to intangible compensation, secured (protected) by consensual, equally applied written law.

    It is difficult to understand how Paine can rationalize his theory with his declared belief in the rights of the individual. Considering that governments produce no wealth, merely move it around, means that some will be given compensation that is first earned then forcibly removed, by others.

    All responders on here have done a far better job than I can of addressing your request, so I will simply try to address the concept of 'compensation' society owes it's members...in todays terms.

    1. We all pay ground rent...some far more than others. Ground rents along with involuntary tithing pay for the following:
    2. Free education provided for all, regardless of income. With our per child spending on education, that is considerable compensation. Even those who have no children availed themselves of this compensation, as likely did their parents.
    3. It is possible to have in this nation a higher standard of living than many in the rest of the world - without physically earning one's compensation.
    4. Individual Medicare and Social Security 'ground rents' rarely, if ever, cover the actual costs of compensation received...so they are covered by the ground rents of others...another form of tangible compensation.
    5. Opportunity will never be utilized equally - that is one of humanities great Truth's. Efforts to compensate the intangible differences of aptitude, attitude, desire, etc with the tangible, cash, will not equalize intangible, inherent differences in the human psyche.
    6. Free health care is available for millions - another compensation paid for by fellow members of society.
    7. We are created equally only in terms of human rights - history is full of the tyrannical brutality that tries to
    'equalize' humanity with the promise of 'bread and circuses'. A promise that excludes those in charge of the 'equalizing', the dolers of the bread - instead resulting in a reality that never lives up to the promise.
    8. Police, fire, emergency responders, defense and highways are compensations available to all, first paid for by ground rents.

    I believe we have progressed far beyond Paine's concept of 'basic income'. Though it might be less expensive overall to remove the other forms of compensation - and just dole out cash for a guaranteed minimum income. Even if we did that - there will still be the poor, the disadvantaged and the hungry...so what would be the purpose?

    In my opinion, no one should receive unearned compensation but the elderly (an argument could be made that they have earned it) and/or the mentally deficient. That doesn't mean dollar for dollar transactions - it means those who do receive compensation for existing also owe a debt to the society they are fortunate enough to be a part of.
    :)

    ps - I don't have the skills to do it but it would be interesting to see how much money Paine's silver translates to in today's dollars...and compare that figure to the cost of todays universal and means tested compensations.
     
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