Common Sense – Revisited in the New Millennium is an updated version of Thomas Paine’s seditious document of 1776. The current edition of Common Sense develops comparisons between the social, economic and political injustices of 21st century America and the circumstances of 1776 which led to the American Revolution.
Passages from the Introduction
Many Americans think we have our own version of King George, namely President George Bush. They claim the colonial era king had a ruling style similar to our current president in that they both were too arrogant to negotiate, too powerful to submit, too righteous to change, and too financially beholden to their aristocratic colleagues. The validity of these comparisons is left to each of us to evaluate, but I am convinced of at least one similarity. King George and the British Parliament as well as President Bush and the Congress have done a feeble job of representing Americans.
We have been financially pillaged by a system that rewards greed, manipulation and systematic plunder at the expense of morality, dedication and hard work. The outsourcing of American jobs and the exportation of our industries are testaments to a flawed economic system. The import of foreign goods made possible by free trade agreements has wreaked financial hardship on millions of Americans. These elaborate hoaxes were developed by our large corporations and sponsored by our fickle government!
The political parties are a disgrace. Although they claim to stand for different principles, time has proven this is not the case. The Democrats and Republicans have for some time acquiesced to the deep pockets of the affluent while ignoring the petitions of the citizens. The most consistent dribble coming out of Washington is political spin. Just about all politicians are adept at this art of avoiding responsibility.
Like the American revolutionaries, there is no possibility for reconciliation or compromise. The powers that be will not give up their stranglehold, nor will they negotiate in good faith. We must seize the government, throw out the officials, rewrite the statute books and, once again, declare our independence from the stifling forces that threaten the future of our great nation. In support of this argument for independence I, like Thomas Paine, will “offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense…..”
Passages from Chapter 1 on Representation
The lack of concern for the welfare of the American people is our greatest problem today. Our government does not care, our elected officials do not care, and the people do not care---at least not enough to do something about their declining condition. If I had to choose a single contemporary issue to compare with the conditions that led to the American Revolution, it would be the deficiency of representative government at the federal level.
Indeed, it would be wonderful if politicians had to account for their performance as you and I must do! If we lie on an employment application, immediate dismissal is the punishment. If we fail to perform as we claimed, we are fired. If we take actions which are detrimental to our employer, we suffer the consequence. These are punishments we routinely experience when we violate the employment relationship. However, the politician is largely exempt from these standard admonishments. In a job that bears so heavily on our lives, the elected official is rarely held responsible for his employment obligations to his constituents.
I would like to be generous to our wayward representatives and place the blame for our decline on human error, but I would be naïve. Logic dictates that the severity of our decline points to a planned outcome rather than a myriad of bad decisions. It simply follows there can not be that many dim-witted people in government.
I propose to correct this malfeasance through legislation which defines the responsibilities of elected officials to their constituents. Politicians need to be regulated like accountants, lawyers, real estate agents and a host of other occupations. I suggest politicians be bound by the laws of agency prescribed in many professions that work with the public in matters of fiduciary responsibility and primary representation. The relationship between the electorate and an elected representative should be one of principal and agent.
Passages from Chapter 2 on Economic Freedom
Our government, at the behest of our multi-national corporations, was instrumental in the transition when it revised import and tariff regulations to suit the needs of the exodus. These subtle moves essentially paved the way for the mass departure of American industry to foreign countries. At this point, I would like to pose an ironic and provocative question. Is it possible for a country to betray its citizens?
All these changes have occurred because our government has sanctioned them. Without the implicit assurances of the administration, the movement to globalization would be impossible. At face value, any American fifth grader would refuse to accept the same rate of pay as a Chinese coolie, but somehow it becomes acceptable practice to our leaders. It is economic suicide to enter into pacts that are designed to debase our country, but our government representatives have done just that.
As I mentioned earlier, government officials are not stupid in spite of what one may think. Self interest is the clear incentive for many economic decisions and too often, these decisions are in conflict with the general welfare of the country. Given our present state of economic hardship and the potential for financial collapse, is it any wonder that less than 10% of Americans approve of the congress? And so I repeat my question! Is it possible for a country to betray her citizens? And I answer! Yes, the President and Congress in collaboration with America’s unrestrained capitalists have committed treason against the citizens of the United States. They have undermined our social, political and economic standards and threaten our existence as a sovereign country.
Residually, we have only the memories of a great society to remind us of how far we have fallen. Of course, there is the price tag for our indifference which will memorialize our deterioration for generations to come. The unpaid debt of an empire that lost its way will be the curse of America’s unborn. The false promise of globalism will be a testament to the gullibility of mankind who failed to recognize how pervasive unbridled greed can be.
Ultimately, individual freedom will go the way of economic freedom!
The economic system which America has embraced is at the heart of our social, economic and political problems. Just as water is necessary to life, it can also be an instrument of death when consumed in excess. The same is true of capitalism, whose precepts energize basic human motivations such as self interest, personal achievement and innovation. Unlimited water intake results in drowning in much the same way as unrestrained capitalism leads to the destruction of the country! It is axiomatic that anything in excess is detrimental to well being!
Passages from Chapter 3 on Capitalism and Nationalism
Nationalism and patriotism, which should share common objectives, have become contradictory ideas. Patriotism is confined to agreeing with government wars, saluting when the national anthem is played, or rooting for American athletes at the Olympics; whereas nationalism is a dirty word. Instead of taking comfort in our country’s legitimate objectives and achievements, the propaganda spewing from our government lead us to believe that our national interests are best served by the nebulous concept of globalism.
Today, anyone placing a phone call to a large American company will probably wind up speaking to a foreigner with an annoying accent. As for the promise of new and rewarding jobs for Americans, it died in 2001 with the bursting of the dot com bubble. It appears the surviving technology firms favor the low wage countries of the world. But, take heart! We have access to the informational advances that permit us to “google” anyone or anything while sitting idly at home wondering how we will make the next house payment.
Another detrimental factor to the American worker has been the proliferation of illegal immigrants. The deluge of uncounted millions of illegal workers has put extreme downward pressure on wages in the United States. Jobs in the construction trades and service sectors that used to pay a living wage now pay slightly above the minimum wage. Our government and businesses are content to exploit this group as a source of cheap labor. In doing so, they have battered the standard of living of tens of millions of Americans, while failing to give the illegal immigrants a path to a realistic livelihood. Illegal they are, but inhuman, they are not!
We must refuse to be the fools of the corporate and wealth elitist that have placed us on the path to devastation. The idea of outsourcing jobs to foreigners, who produce goods which are imported into the United States to be consumed and paid for by Americans, is self-destructive. If we continue to accept this crippled concept of economics, then we are either stupid, naïve or lazy and deserve the miserable future that awaits us!
Chapter 4 on Making a Difference
The vast majority of Americans know instinctively that the country is on the wrong track. We understand that America is drifting in every imaginable way. We all feel the financial pinch, the political instability, the social irresponsibility and the moral degradation; but we stand by mutely accepting the demise of America. Silence is passive acceptance of the wayward policies that have created our present circumstance. In the face of this great wall of silence, our government in their corrupt alliance with business is encouraged to continue with the looting of America!
What stops us from seizing the initiative? When millions lose their jobs as a result of a flawed trade agreement, why is there not a massive march on Washington, DC? When we are led into a war by lies and duplicity, why don’t we hold the traitors accountable for their treachery and treason? When our savings and national wealth is eroded by the reprehensible practices of the Federal Reserve, why do we accept the logic of “too big to fail”? When our immigration laws are ignored so as business can have access to cheap labor, why don’t Americans become infuriated? When we elect a new congress to deal with these injustices, why do we accept their inaction?