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James M. Buels

I am ashamed to say that i have never read Common Sense, at least not in its entirety. Every American now should not only read it, but ponder and analyze it! We should all reflect deeply on our Revolution: its causes, its events, its personalities, and above all, its objectives. What were we trying to obtain in our Revolution against Great Britain's rule? Were we successful? If so, then to what extent? Did we achieve some of our goals, but not all? If not, then why not?

Those are only some of many questions we should be asking ourselves as we revisit the writings of not only Thomas Paine, but all the other leaders of our Revolution. I believe that to do so now is imperative because today our Republic is threatened as never before, even more than in the Civil War. What we do now, or fail to do, will decide our country's fate for all time to come.

The most important thing we have to decide now, in my opinion, is what is important to us. Is liberty important to us? I think a great many of the Founding Fathers would say that liberty is so important that we should be prepared to die for it, because many of them did! Many of them lost everything else they had, as well: property, family, friends, reputation, and wealth. Are we prepared to do that today? Are we prepared to put everything we hold dear on the line for liberty?

Is the Constitution important to us? I think the Framers of the Constitution would say that it, too, is worth dying for, because they all knew that many of them might indeed die for it. They all knew that if the British managed to capture them during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, in 1787,that they would at the very least be imprisoned for many years, lose everything they had, and that, finally, most of them would be hanged. That's why no one at the Convention laughed when Benjamin Franklin, attempting to quell a disagreement among the delegates quipped: "We must all hang together, gentlemen, or we shall most assuredly all hang seperately!" Are we prepared to die for the Constitution?

Is justice important to us? Granted it has been argued, justly, that the Founders, their Revolution, and their Constitution were all inherently unjust because they implicitly excluded two entire races of people then living on the Continent that would inevitably become part of the new nation: blacks and indians. However, by the time of the Civil War, the national consciousness had risen to include justice and equity, at least in regard to blacks, and many of the Union men who marched into the Confederate guns at Gettysburg and elsewhere were prepared to shed their blood in order to obtain justice for the blacks, even though justice took another hundred years to arrive for blacks in the United States, and some would argue that it still has not arrived. About one hundred years later, the country's consiousness was raised again to include justice for indians. Justice, then, comprised an important part of the American ethos for most of the last century, and many, many Americans died for it. Are we prepared to die for justice?

Thomas, Paine's writings, then, are especially timely today, and we would all do well to reflect deeply on them.

Debbe Kennedy, Global Dialogue Center

Thank you for your thought-provoking contribution. Your writing so beautiful. Are you our modern day Thomas?

I have not read all of Common Sense yet. It reminds me of old translations of Rumi. It is quite dense --- require your attention and contemplation. I am working my way through it working to take it in for thinking and questioning.
I was moved by this section today:

"In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology, there were no kings; the consequence of which was there were no wars; it is the pride of kings of which throws mankind into confusion. Holland without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century than any of the monarchial governments in Europe..."

In answer to your compelling questions, I don't think the American people are ready for sacrifice. Most don't even recycle. These new possibilities are far from the average citizen's mind, don't you think? Sacrifice is far from most minds, I think. We are a spoiled lot, we do like our comforts and we don't think much about the notion of MUTUALISM ... a new world where everyone is benefits and no one is harmed.

Personally, I would like to see a new consciousness emerge --- one that will not come from wars or force, it will come from a shift in our consciousness. I'm beginning to get a glimpse of the TRUTH that man has dominion over his life. Our THINKING is the key driver of all that ails us today. We lost our will, our confidence, our independence and our vision.

I keep thinking of Gandhi's wisdom about changing ourselves. "The golden rule...is resolutely to refuse to have what millions cannot. This ability to refuse will not descend upon us all of a sudden. The first thing is to cultivate the mental attitude that will not have possessions or facilities denied to millions, and the next immediate thing is to rearrange our lives as fast as possible in accordance with that mentality."

I don't know, James, there must be a better way??? I think if we did that self-examination and "after action review" as you suggest with the right mindset, we might come up with an innovative idea, we did imagine. I want to believe there is and that it resides within our consciousness.


James M. Buels

Hello, Debbe

When I last wrote on this website, more than two years ago, I wrote that I thought a worldwide change in human consciousness was coming that would bring down the current world system. That system, I feel, is built around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Conquest, War, Pestilence and Death. The Four Horsemen gallop throughout the pages of history, and the quote you have from Common Sense relates to that fact. Paine was right to say that war and chaos always result from the "pride of kings."

I still hope for the change in world consciousness I wrote about then, but that hope is fading fast. That is because our current kings, our politicians , media personalities, celebrities and business leaders, are causing the same depredations and disorder the ancient kings caused, and they are in control of every aspect of our lives, from the national and local media to the local police, religion, the military and the entire world economy. Our current kings control what we believe, think, and hope for, and when we try to poke our heads above the "Matrix" they have constructed around us and attempt to think in new ways, they goad and herd us with the fear of new "terrorist" attacks, natural disasters, crime, "illegal alien invasion," economic uncertainty, and anything else that can be enlisted to make us cling fearfully to the world as it is, and to them, rather than imagining and working for what the world could and should be. Our kings are doing everything they can to prevent the change in consciousness we all hope for from ever taking place, and they appear to be succeeding.

I am horrified to have realized that the world George Orwell envisioned in "1984" is now upon us, and I am convinced that the "Global War on Terror" is only a stratagem to tighten the elite's grip around our collective throats. The "Mainstream Media" are their cheerleaders and accomplices, screaming at us from the "telescreens:" "This is reality! Pay attention and be afraid! Only your government stands between you and certain destruction! Fear! The government requires more power to keep you safe!"

The only hope we have to counteract this mind-control onslaught is for the people of the world to see through it, as Alice saw through the illusion the Wizard constructed to prevent her from peering behind the curtain and seeing him working the apparatus controlling "The Great Oz." I think the people outside the United States are way ahead of us in this regard. We here in the United States pride ourselves on our sophistication and perceptiveness, but in fact we are the most brainwashed, unaware people on the planet! Our "education" system and our cultural norms reinforce our instictive naivete and insularity. The rest of the world saw through the Bush Administration long ago, but he still deceives and ensnares many of us mentally and spiritually. I always marvel at the fact that nearly every time he speaks, he lies. More than that, he repeatedly says he is doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what he is actually doing! When he says he (we) are spreading democracy, we are spreading tyranny; when he says we are bringing peace, it is war we bring; when he says he seeks the good of a nation; it is their destruction he desires; when he says he desires order in Iraq, it is disorder and chaos he promotes. He continually accuses other countries of doing what WE are doing! These are all tactics Hitler assiduously practiced. Hitler knew the value of the lie, and that people would believe that a lie that was constantly repeated MUST be the truth! Many of the American people believe our down home Hitler. They believe him because they want to believe the best about him and the war in which we are engaged. Our perennial American optimism and fairmindedness has been turned against us to make us follow a drawling Pied Piper to our destruction.

Waz  from  NZ

I stumbled upon this web site while in the process of getting info for an essay on the subject of "global village or global pillage, and what role will the media have" (masscom).
I enjoyed this page immensly and agree that worldwide a lack of leadership and a lust for power and money to the exclusion of common sense is a HUGE problem for us all :( .
my arguement is that the pillage has occured and its to late to go back :( and now we must all embrace the global village, the reference to 1984 is intresting in that one of the key factors of control within george orwells imagined future was the distruction of community, the alienation of people from one another and "othering" (think how the Nazis thought of jews as sub-human) of minority groups by using corrolational studies and calling them facts and proof. ( ps not a commie, but why is just plain being really poor not a reason to be angry at the world.)
my hope is that peoples desire to socialize/ communicate will create in some countries a universal discourse on the role government will play within the framework of a global economy when our leaders are confused
And you know the old army saying

confusion creates cowards

Debbe Kennedy - PERSPECTIVES Blog

Dear Waz,

Thanks for your message! It is always amazing to me how we find one another. Gandhi said it best. "When you are after a righteous cause, people pop out of the pavement to help you."

The universal discourse has begun!!! Change is in the works! Keep going. Go here and see one amazing example of what happens when we come together as people for the good of all. http://www.globaldialoguecenter.com/habitatjam

Best wishes with your important work!

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