I recently returned all of the library books I had because I had no time to read them at my own discretion. So instead, I went to one of our bookshelves and browsed through my collection. What was I in the mood for? I pulled out Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Until this point, I had never read the whole pamphlet/book and the last time I read any excerpt was in college.
My reaction? I wonder what his reaction would be to our society today.
The one point he made towards the end is how the then Colonies had enough resources to survive on their own. In particular he brought up natural resources, food, and hemp. Remember hemp? Hemp was grown until the cotton industry came along and crushed it for many reasons, but that’s something for another day. Anyhow, this point really struck me as a small business owner who knows and has helped other small business owners and as an individual who believes that if you really want to do and learn something, you can. If we have enough resources to survive on our own, why does most of our stuff come from other countries now? Why can’t everyone be given equal access to knowledge and education? What happened to this mentality that we have everything we need to survive near us?
Reading the first part it is very clear why this pamphlet/book helped to change the colonial mindset about wanting independence from Great Britain at the time. Yet it seems the second part has been “left out,” so to speak. He also has a very interesting part for the Quakers at the end. It speaks to anybody who is anti-war, even today.
I’m glad I picked Common Sense out to read again. My next picks may be Steven King or Shakespeare. I like browsing Shakespeare when I’m hitting a difficult stretch. What he wrote echoes through the centuries and is a reminder we all are human.