Righties, Lefties And Common Sense

Today is Flag Day and it seems appropriate to muse about the banner which was born in conflict and today waves over a divided nation. We are much too preoccupied these days with “righties” and “lefties” and to a lesser extent “ moderates”. With apologies to Alfred Tennyson, there is venomous rhetoric to the right of us, venomous rhetoric to the left of us and venomous rhetoric in front of us, taking their toll of any common sense we have, as we ride into the jaws of rage and into the mouth of Hell on Earth. Common sense?

In the process of my musing about the flag, a divided nation and common sense, I rediscovered Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and realized that old Tom was a blogger. “Common Sense“ is one of the best blogs going and addresses many of today‘s issues.

“Righties” and “lefties” love to squabble over the role of government. Some “righties” otherwise known as libertarians would all but dissolve government, while some “lefties” known as progressives would expand government’s role. The form of government provides even more fodder for debate.

Reading “ Common Sense” did not resolve today’s confrontation between “righties” and “lefties” but what Paine had to say about the origin and design of government did make a lot of common sense.

“Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but Heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other: and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.”

These words I’m sure can be twisted and mangled to suit one’s views but the fact remains that we are an imperfect society and if we are to survive we must welcome government into our society. As long as we have the oppressed, the hungry and the poor , we will need a government to aid us in rectifying our lapses from compassion. Having said that, I guess it makes me a “leftie”. If I add that we must be mindful of the excesses and corruption of government, I guess it makes me a “rightie”. More properly, is it merely common sense?

Too bad there is not another Thomas Paine in this 21st century ready to lead us out of the wilderness of political confusion. In the meantime, I highly recommend “Common Sense” as food for thought.

No comments: